76-year-old Camden Haven resident defies age with karate passion

Sensei and student: John Carlyle and John Hawkins.

IN a testament to resilience and passion, 76-year-old Camden Haven resident John Hawkins is not letting age slow him down as he continues to pursue his martial arts dreams.

A brown belt in Matsubayashi-ryu, a traditional style of karate, John trains under the guidance of Sensei John Carlyle, Renshi 6th Dan, the head of the Matsubayashi-ryu Karate Association of Australia Inc.

John’s journey in martial arts began in 1979 in Adelaide.

However, frequent relocations across the country forced him to put his beloved practice on hold.

It wasn’t until 2021, when by chance a notice outside the local hardware store caught his eye, that he decided to reignite his passion.

The notice advertised a local dojo, and John decided to give it a try.

Reconnecting with karate after such a long hiatus, John not only rekindled his passion but has also excelled in his practice.

Despite a serious back operation in 2022 that posed significant health challenges, John has adapted his training regimen with the help of Sensei Carlyle, ensuring his physical limitations do not hinder his progress.

Reflecting on his martial arts journey, John shared with News Of The Area (NOTA), “It’s a very good style of karate, there is a saying that there is no first strike, it’s defence only.

“My first goal when starting again was to get to my brown belt and not go any further, but with my Sensei’s help and encouragement, I am now continuing towards my black belt.”

The local Matsubayashi-ryu dojo meets every Thursday evening at St Joseph’s Hall from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, welcoming participants of all ages and skill levels.

John is a testament to the inclusive and supportive environment of the dojo, which has allowed him to thrive.

“I look forward to going every week,” John told NOTA with enthusiasm.

“You’ve got to keep yourself active.”

John Hawkins’ story is a powerful reminder that it is never too late to pursue one’s passions and that with dedication and the right support, challenges can be transformed into triumphs.


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