This is an article written by Sensei Bob for an upcoming article in the newspaper and Martial Art magazine.
What is P.E. Karate?
By Bob McMahon 6th Dan
PE Karate is the ‘original’ Karate! Modern Karate began as a Martial Art Program designed for inclusion in the PE curriculum of Okinawan Schools. The emphasis shifted from self-defense to physical exercise and the development of such attributes as courtesy, respect and tolerance of others, and producing of students of good character. I believe our kids could really benefit from the reintroduction of a similar Martial Arts Program but there is a problem.
The majority of those teaching modern karate are either heavily involved in competitive sport karate, brutal self-defense, full contact or are teaching a watered down shell of the original karate. Famous early karate pioneer, Gichin Funakoshi, summed it up in this poem-
To search for the old is to understand the new.
The old, the new
This is a matter of time.
In all things man must have a clear mind.
Who will pass it on straight and well?
The Australian Karate Academy Father and Son team of Bob and Cheyne McMahon are fully prepared to spend the time and energy to take on the task. Bob first began teaching karate to children in 1979, some 30 years ago in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. Like everyone else at that time, Bob was heavily involved in sport karate and won WKF style competition National Titles in Australia and New Zealand. His students went a step further and his son, Cheyne, won National Titles and a gold medal in the first WKC World Junior Karate Cup in Locarno, Switzerland in 1998.
However Bob, and later Cheyne, recognised the lack of humanity exhibited by many heavily involved in the sporting side. Competition for adults and juniors in a supposedly non-contact sport saw both adults and children incur injuries that were sometimes scored as a legitimate technique. The rules were either misunderstood or blatantly ignored by some and judges often accused of bias. Although there were some determined efforts to clean up the adjudication a highly experienced former Australian representative (and former student of mine) was forced to take legal action when he had his jaw broken in several places in a bout and his opponent was not disqualified. At the Australian Karate Academy, we train the students to exhibit control of their techniques and to have consideration for the safety of themselves and their opponents. As a consequence we have had little injuries from partner training at our club.
Bob also became heavily involved in research and eventually found himself being mentored by Kazuya Mitani from the Seitokukai in Tokyo. Mitani Sensei is a student of Master Kinjo Hiroshi who trained in the Martial Arts Program at his Okinawan school. Mitani Sensei was able to explain the background to Karate from the previous art of Te, the Martial Arts School Program then known as Tote, right through to the current period. When Mitani Sensei visited Brisbane to teach at the AKA, Bob and Cheyne recognised they were finally training in what everyone had always expected karate to be. Since that time the instructors at the AKA have been able to reflect and truly comprehend the original purpose of the development of the MAP for schools and have taken on the responsibility of restoring karate within its rightful place.