Black belts from around the South Island gathered to celebrate veteran martial artist Peter Shaw’s 50th year of training.
Funeral director Shaw, now a sixth dan black belt in taekwondo, member of the World Karate Hall of Fame, and inducted into both the New Zealand and Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame, was joined by his fellow artists at a festival to mark the occasion.
His martial arts journey began with karate, but eventually moved on to judo at Cobberkwai Judo Club in Christchurch under Stan Taylor.
Shaw achieved a lot in his 50 year career, but some key highlights were.—
. Joining the army and training with Sam Hokianga in WTF taekwondo.
. Opening the Dunedinbased Warrington Taekwondo club.
. His promotion to 1st dan black belt in taekwondo by master Jung Nam Lee.
. Opening the Christchurch Olympic TKD Club.
. Raising funds to buy and renovate the new dojang for Christchurch Taekwondo, which is now the TUNZ national training centre.
. Coaching 21 fighters to 20 gold medals and one bronze medal at the TUNZ nationals.
. Coaching two Christchurch Olympic athletes to world championship selection and inclusion.
. Awarded the prestigious Kukkiwon diploma by WTF representatives great grandmaster Hae Man Park (10th dan) and grandmaster Kim Tae Kyung (eighth dan).
. Receiving his sixth dan promotion in 2009.
. Becoming TUNZ president.
Despite all the personal glory and achievements, Shaw said he was most proud of the knowledge he was able to give to others.
‘‘It’s really just been about seeing people succeed, the highlight of my 50 years, is seeing people come in that are quiet, shy and look almost confused and you watch them grow.
‘‘I’ve had students come down for the weekend that I met when they were 6 years old and now they’re fourth dan black belts and international competitors, they’ve just blossomed.’’
He joked that it was morbid curiosity that kept him going with martial arts.
‘‘I enjoyed the camaraderie and it’s always evolving; no two days are ever the same.
‘‘I’ve seen martial arts all over the world and no matter where you go the essence of the martial art is still there but it’s a different interpretation and for me that’s what it’s about.’’
Shaw said it was a dream come true to open up the dojang in Christchurch.
‘‘That was one of the most amazing days for me. It gave people a sense of belonging, it was their dojang.
‘‘Funnily enough when the earthquakes happened in Christchurch a lot of guys came down to the dojang and just sat there, because it is such a serene place to go to.
‘‘It was a safe place because you were among a wider family, a martial arts family, that was a heck of an asset to the martial arts community.’’
Not looking to slow down, Shaw has been invited to his next grading, seventh dan. Achieving seventh dan would make him the highest ranked European in taekwondo.
For Shaw however, there is only one reason he wants to go for it.
‘‘I’m not too bothered about the achievement. The only reason I want to go for it is so I can take people up to sixth dan.
‘‘This way they can learn from me, because how else are they going to learn? They’d have to go overseas or go see my teacher up in Auckland.’’
To celebrate reaching 50 years of training, about 40 top black belts and instructors gathered at the Performance Gym, in Heaton St, for a festival of martial arts.
Martial artists from many different styles attended to give demonstrations and explanations of their art.
Notable attendees included tai chi master Dave Thew, accomplished sifu martial artist Ash Murdoch, Brazilian jiu jitsu instructor Kirsty Mather and John Marrable who, despite being in a wheelchair, is a seventh dan in okinawa goju ryu.
Also attending was Shaw’s original teacher’s son Lee Hart, a fourth dan in goju ryu karate and a first dan in judo.
He still plans to continue his training, focusing on working to keep martial arts fun and achievable for everybody involved.