IT has been a big 18 months for the Stevens family when it comes to karate.
Mark Stevens and his daughter Caitlin were given the ultimate honour for an amazing dual performance in 2012 recently when they were added to the Australian International Sports Karate Association Hall of Fame as a result of their remarkable achievements.
The honour is bestowed upon competitors who finish at the top of the standings for their age division and grading. With a trophy haul big enough to fill a pool room, the pair had done more than enough to earn it.
“Caitlin was the under nines open division champion for the year which is a huge achievement for a young kid, some of the competitions she attended had up to 50 kids that she was up against and the tournaments can take hours,” Mark Stevens explained.
“Some of the clubs from the cities are very big and strong and have a major focus on junior competition, so to succeed the way she has is fantastic.
“The highlight was probably at the Queensland State Championships where myself and both daughters did a showmanship routine on self defence for a male on female attack.”
Mark himself competes in the over 35s under black belt division and like his daughter, did enough across the year to earn top spot and the award from ISKA.
Naturally earning such accolades takes quite a considerable amount of skill, but the dedication factor is also an obvious part of the process.
“We were usually competing at a major tournament every week either in NSW or interstate,” Mark Stevens said.
“The thing we’re most proud of is the fact that at the start of the year as a father and daughter, we set ourselves the goal to try and both finish number one in our age groups. We put a lot of hard work into it and now after earning that and being inducted into the ISKA Hall of Fame, we have achieved what we want to in sports karate and now it is onto the next phase.”
That next phase is just as important to the Stevens family – which also includes another daughter, Danica, who placed highly in her own age group – and it involves a lot more than competing on the mat.
“The next journey for us is to discover more traditional karate, as it was before it became a competitive sport,” he explained.
“We are making a trip to Okinawa and to mainland Japan later in the year and we want to learn more about martial arts as a system, before it was a sport. That’s where the meaning of the whole thing began – karate was originally about ‘not fighting’ and we want to unlock the secrets of how it used to be.”