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CV Martial Arts

Tom Kupa-Martial Arts CV


• I started Martial Arts Training in 1975 as way of getting fit at High School.
The progression was slow because we all wanted to be like Bruce Lee.
After leaving High School I joined the Whakatu Karate Club Chief Instructor Vernin Daniels in 1978.

• I moved on with Hemi Rapaea, Mike Tuhiwai, under the Gosuku Ryu flag under Te Rupe. The Club was called Mac’s Karate.
Under Te Rupe I opened a Dojo in Waimarama at the War Memorial Hall. I was supported by Tom Gillies 2nd degree Judo.
The membership grew but due to the travelling wear and tear took it’s toll on my vehicle.
Our Black Belt Grading was resided over by both Te Rupe and Solomon Purcell.
In the early 80’s we had a change of styles and the Dojo changed over to Kickboxing under Selwyn Jones and the venues changed.
We had 2 venues before Putanga came about.

• In the mid to late Eighties I started my own Dojo in my home shed.
I had about 10 students I also started training in Wing Chun in Napier Onekawa under Steven Sifu Yee.
It wasn’t until 1990 that I started training properly with James Purcell. This was due to my change in jobs.

• In 1994 I was asked by James Purcell to take over the Flaxmere Dojo.
The dojo was under change as a lot of the old students had left.

To help with the growth of the dojo I also started  Tae Bo trainings on alternate nights.
I was also asked by Shihan Solomon to take trainings for him at Parkvale school.

I told the students that this extra travelling for me would make it hard for me to be at trainings on time and could we move the venue.
So the trainings were shifted from Parkvale to Central. The membership grew to about 50 students. I asked for help to train this amount of people.
I was removed as instructor from Central trainings almost straight away.

This gave me an opportunity to open another venue under me directly at Ebbett Park.
We as a Dojo ran the Easter Tournament for Shihan Solomon, where my wife excelled as a real professional  Organiser and Coordinator.
We after a lot of soul searching looked at the possibilities of running a professional martial arts dojo.
My wife and I had also made changes to our training methods. We went from negative reinforcement too positive reinforcement.
This in reality put our methods on the outside because we cared for our students.

Since coming from normal dojo sizes in numbers of 20 to 50 tops we went to 100 in 10 months.
Knowing what to do with this amount of students was the bigest learning kerb.
I have actively attempted to bring the face of martial arts into a better light for the public , by giving free bullying awareness classes to
Schools who ask for our help. Being active in how we reinforce the use of a martial arts, especially those who have morals and integrity.

In 2006 went independant to help my schools survival.
In 2007 I resigned from a job that I had been in for 18 and a half years to become a fulltime martial arts instructor.
In 2009 I am to be inducted into the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Wanganui in November. We have officially passed the 150 student status. I am also a member of Kyokushin Schools of Karate where I am the Head Instructor for the South Pacific. I also belong to the World Committee for this organisation.

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