Te Awamutu’s Seido Karate dojo celebrated its 40th Anniversary last weekend.
Dojo founder and 6th Dan Black Belt ‘Sei Shihan’ Michael McIvor opened the dojo in August 1980, holding classes at Te Awamutu Primary School’s assembly hall. He was a 1st Dan Black Belt (‘Shodan’) and had just moved to Te Awamutu to progress his career as a lawyer.
In 1996 Michael’s wife Brenda purchased an empty section on 350 Bond Rd as a gift to her husband. It was here where McIvor built a purpose-built martial arts training hall (dojo) in the same year, where classes have taken place ever since.
Approximately 60 people attended Saturday’s event and martial artists travelled from Wellington, Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Hastings to join the celebrations. They included McIvor’s longtime friends and 6th Dan Black Belts ‘Sei Shihans’ Ben Otang and Danny Watson who have trained with McIvor since the mid 1970s.
The day consisted of a general class, contact sparring and demonstrations by the Te Awamutu Black Belts including weapons and self-defense.
McIvor’s former instructor and the Head of Seido Karate in New Zealand, 8th Dan Black Belt ‘Hanshi’ Renzie Hanham sent McIvor a special message from Christchurch.
“The Te Awamutu dojo has long been a cornerstone of Seido New Zealand,” he wrote. “It has produced many wonderful karate students led by Sei Shihan Michael, who over these many years has held steadfast to the Seido philosophy. One could not ask for a better person to head a dojo in the way that he has”
“40 years is a long time for any dojo to operate,” Michael said.
“It is still running due to the support of my family and the dedication and commitment of all of the instructors who I have been privileged to teach over the years. I have no doubt the dojo will continue to produce quality students in the future.”
McIvor has helped grade 20 Black Belts through the Te Awamutu Dojo, including active 5th Dan Black Belts Donald Kemp, Gerard McCarthy and Reuben Currie. McIvor’s two sons, Alex and Matt are also Black Belts of the club.
For more information details go to www.karateteawamutu.com or their facebook page “Seido Karate Te Awamutu”.