Ben Mettam - Renshi 6th Dan Shihan
Ben’s first introduction to the martial arts was in 1979, when as a 9 year old boy he trained in Judo under the late Andrew Flemming (formerly the patron of Judo in Australia). From 1979 through to 1986 Ben won many championships (including the state) in Judo and represented WA at the National Titles.
As a young boy Ben had often heard his Judo instructors speak of Brian Mackie’s incredible karate skills. After moving away from his local judo dojo Ben took the opportunity to seek out and train with Brian Mackie, 8th Dan and Chief Instructor of Australia I.K.G.A.
Commencing his karate training in 1988, at Brian’s iconic Karate Academy in Milligan St., Perth, Ben trained a minimum of six karate sessions a week for the initial four years of his training. Thriving on the professional atmosphere, technical excellence and hard training provided by Brian, he earned his black belt in less than two years, developing an excellent base of knowledge that he continually seeks to build upon.
Ben has travelled to Japan to receive instruction on six occasions. First, in 1993 Ben travelled to Japan to compete in the I.G.K.A World Championships, he stayed a further two months and took the opportunity to train under Goshi Yamaguchi, Saiko Shihan.
Secondly, in 2000 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the I.K.G.A, again training under Yamaguchi Saiko Shihan. During this visit, Ben took the opportunity to train at a variety of dojo and gained further valuable insights into karate.
In 2008 Ben participated in a vigorous training program under Yamaguchi, Saiko Shihan and other leading Gojukai instructors. Ben travelled to Japan in 2012 in order to live in, and train at, one of Japan’s most competitive budo-kan. In 2014 Ben particpated in a world wide seminar run by Saiko Shihan Yamaguchi and attended by Shihan from the international branches.
As a proud representative of I.K.G.A Ben has won four W.A.K.F state titles and represented Australia as a competitor from 1993-2001. Ben is an I.K.G.A Asian‑Pacific champion (1999) and has also won two silver medals at the I.K.G.A World Championships (1997, 2001).
Ben’s passion for karate is fuelled by his desire to pass on the benefits he has gained from practicing this dynamic art. He is a highly qualified individual, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Master’s degree in Theology, and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessing. He has over 22 years experience as both a former school teacher and karate instructor.
Grandmaster Goshi Yamaguchi awarded Ben his 5th Dan, Shihan (master teacher) rank in 2006, after a physically and mentally demanding grading test. Ben was one of the first three of Brian Mackie’s students who was promoted to 5th Dan, Shihan rank. This occasion was made even more satisfying for Ben as it coincided with Brian Mackie’s Karate Academy’s 40th anninversary.
Ben was promoted to 6th Dan in 2016, after a grading test that was conducted by Saiko Shihan Yamaguchi, Brian Mackie kyoshi, Paul Starling kyoshi and Iwan Pranatio kyoshi.
Sean O'Brien – 3rd Dan
As an orange belt, Sean entered his first of many development competitions. These provided a safe, friendly environment in which he learned the basic competition rules for both kata (demonstration) and kumite (point fighting). Fast forward a few years, and Sean was competing as a junior in local all-style karate competitions as well as international Goju-Kai Karate tournaments. This included the 3rd Goju-Kai Asian Pacific Tournament in 1999, and the 3rd Goju-Kai World Tournament in 2001, both of which were held in Perth, Western Australia. This was an amazing experience in which he got to compete against kids who were representing other countries such as India and Japan. More recent accomplishments include competing in the 6th world tournament in India, and the 5th Asian Pacific Tournament in Thailand, where Sean won a bronze medal in the men’s kumite division. Sean has trained at the Goju-Kai head dojo in Tokyo on multiple occasions, initially travelling with a group of Goju-Kai instructors and students, and later returning independently. These experiences are a testament to Goju-Kai Karate’s international recognition.
After many years as a student and assistant instructor to Ben Mettam Shihan at the Greenwood dojo, Sean became the head instructor at the Carramar dojo in 2016. He was awarded the rank of Sandan-Ho (provisional 3rd dan black belt) in 2018, and continues to train diligently with a particular interest in traditional aspects of the art. To Sean, karate is a way of life, fundamentally a combat method, but simultaneously a means for developing one’s mind and character. As an instructor, Sean strives to help his students discover their inner strength, allowing them to achieve their goals in karate and all aspects of life.
Sean holds a Bachelor’s degree in both Classical Music and Physiotherapy, which involved a nine-year long commitment to tertiary study. He strongly believes that karate can help students in any field, they simply need to apply the same work ethic that is cultivated through training. Sean currently works full time as a physiotherapist, striving to help enrich the lives of others.