Jewish Sydneysiders Richard Basckin and Yonatan Freund have been representing Australia in karate in international tournaments for much of the last decade, and have also regularly won national championship titles since they were juniors and cadets.
A few weeks ago, Basckin, 25, and Freund, 21, were both selected in the Australian squad again, this time for the 2023 Oceania Karate Championships, to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, from June 30.
In an exciting development for karate in the eastern suburbs Jewish and broader community, Basckin and Freund have decided to open their own karate dojo (school), based at the COA Sydney hall at 25 Rowe Street, Woollahra, just down the hill from Bondi Junction Station.
The close friends and training partners are also working on karate programs and seminars with the area’s Jewish schools, and held preliminary discussions about options for before or after-school sessions, and school holiday clinics.
Basckin said the idea to establish and run a Miyagi Kan Karate East dojo culminated over time, and the opportunity to make it happen now, emerged partly with the support of COA Sydney, which has granted them access to its hall on Monday and Wednesday nights.
The dojo’s first hour-long classes commenced last week, from 6pm for kids aged between six and 12, and from 7pm for teens through to adults.
“Karate has been a passion of ours for so long, so to bring it back to the community that we grew up in, in this way, is a significant moment for us both in our karate careers,” Basckin said.
“We wanted to service the community by bringing our karate understanding and skills to teach students, aged six and up, in the eastern suburbs.
“With the Jewish schools, we want to teach some of the younger students the martial art, philosophy, and discipline of karate.
“And we hope to inspire more athletes from our community to consider karate – in the ways which we have – as it has brought us so much purpose, joy, and personal success.
“We want them to have the opportunity to have that same feeling.”
Basckin said the dojo’s classes focus on both traditional karate, and competition karate.
“At our opening sessions last week, none of the participants had done any karate before, so it was great to be able to give them an introduction to its traditions, teach them some basic punch, block and kick techniques, but also share with them some insights about how both of us train, at the elite level.
“In fact, we’re both training now for the Oceania Championships.”
To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow mkk_east on Instagram.