Members

Gary Oliver seen here with sons, Cain and Ryan
Gary Oliver

6th Dan Karate, 5th Dan Iaido, 4th Dan Kendo, 4th Dan Kobudo and 1st Dan Jodo.

Founder
Head Instructor


Achievements: See Here


Gary Oliver has been involved in Japanese Martial Arts for over 45 years. He began training in Kendo in 1979 in Little Bourke St, Melbourne under the guidance of the late John Butler.

His first Sensei is still his current teacher, Kyoshi Sumitaka Nagae, who resides in Melbourne and conducts training at the Kenshikan Dojo in Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne.

Gary currently holds the rank of 5th Dan in Iaido, 4th Dan in Kendo and 1st Dan in Jodo, as well as ranks in Okinawan Karate (6th Dan). He has represented Victoria many times at the Australian Kendo Championships, and has represented Australia internationally both here and abroad as a competitor, referee or delegate.

Since the year 2000 he has served continuously as President of the Victorian Kendo Renmei, was State Coach for the Victorian Team in 2003 and has served regularly as the State Delegate to the Australian Kendo Renmei.


Tony Pickering

5th Dan Iaido, 4th Dan Jodo, 2nd Dan Kendo.


Tony Pickering began Kendo in 1988 with the Ballarat Kendo Club and has remained a loyal member ever since. He has achieved many milestones as a member of the Ballarat Club and as a representative of the Victorian Kendo Renmei both Nationally and Internationally.

The first Ballarat member to win a State Kyu Individual Championship.

A member of the first Ballarat Team to win the State Open Team Competition.

A regular member of the Victorian Kendo, Iaido and Jodo teams to National tournaments.

Tony attended the Summer School for Foreign Kendo Leaders in two consecutive years as a 2nd Dan.

The first Ballarat Club member to train at the Kyumeikan Dojo in Tokyo under Kubo Sensei.

A past Secretary of the VKR Executive.

A member of the Australian Team that placed in the final eight at the Hong Kong (Regional) Invitational Kendo Tournament in 2003.

Tony currently holds the rank of 5th Dan in Iaido, 4th Dan in Jodo and 2nd Dan in Kendo, his Jodo rank making him the highest ranked Jodo Ka in Victoria. He resides in Melbourne and has his own Iaido Dojo in that city, Tojinkai Jodo & Iaido Club.


Achievements:
  • 1990
    • 1st place – State Individual Kyu Championship.
  • 1993
    • 1st place – State Open Team Championship. (Ballarat Team)
    • 1st place – State Individual Kyu Championship.
    • 1st place – National Kyu Team Championship. (Victorian Team)
  • 2000 – 2003
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament (Local Team).
  • 2008
    • 1st place Inaugural Nagae Taikai (Kata) with Gary Oliver

Jason's Alter Ego
Jason Widdy

3rd Dan Kendo, 1st Dan Jodo.

Jason joined the Ballarat Kendo Club on Sept 10th 1987, during the club’s second beginners class, by a friend who had started in the first beginners’ class (he quit two weeks later!). From then till May 2001 his training with the club was consistant, only missing about 12 training times in those 14 years, including the dark times when it was cold winter nights and it was Gary and himself or Gary, Tony and him). He started Jodo in 1998 with Sensei Katsumi Kuramochi, who helped him get his 1st+2nd Dan Kendo as well as his 1st Jodo Grading.

Jason on his last day with the Shubukai Kendo Club
From October 2001 to March 2006 Jason moved to the Gold Coast (work related) where he joined the Gold Coast Kendo club ‘Shubukai’ . He enjoyed training there, apart from the extreme heat and and humidity. It also helped that the Dojo was 15 min walk away from his home (I wonder how the locals think when I walk to training in full uniform, this is before I got the schooter)

Again because of work, Jason have moved back down to Ballarat. Unfortunately because of work (afternoon and night shifts) his training is off and on again. Although his dose try to support the club when he can by running their website as well as other supporting roles, when he is not training.

Achievements:
  • 1989
    • 2nd place – National Kyu Team Championship. (Victorian Team)
  • 1993
    • 1st place – State Open Team Championship. (Ballarat Team)
    • 1st place – National Kyu Team Championship. (Victorian Team)
    • 2nd place – National Kyu Individual Championship
    • Spirit Fighting Award – National Championships
  • 2008
    • 2nd place – State Open Team Championship. (Ballarat Team)


Tarl (1) First Grading with Ryan (3) & Cain (2) Oliver
Tarl O’Mara

4th Dan Kendo.


Tarl started Kendo at the Ballarat Kendo Club when he was 9 years old in Gary’s first kids class in 1994. He is the last from that class still training.

For the past 15 years Tarl has been competing at state and national level with success and has trained with the Australian squad, hopeful to get a position on the Australian team. Gary has been the main instigator in Tarl’s success with big inspiration coming from Ryan Oliver, Arpad Maksay and Satoru Takada who are currently or have been former members of the Ballarat Kendo Club.

In 2009 Tarl and his partner, Cassie moved to the U.K. where they trained with the Kendo Clubs in Scotland, England and Ireland. Tarl entered the Dublin Kendo Invitational tournament and came second in the Open Dan Taikai. He and Cassie visited europe and he was graded to 4th Dan while competing over there.

Victorian Kendo team 2011. from left:
Arpad Maksay, Kazuya Kimura,
Yoichi Miyamoto, Ben Kelly, Tarl O'Mara
 & Trent Reeve.
Tarl returned to Australia in late 2010 and has relocated to Melbourne. He continues to train in Ballarat often and is a member of the Australian national squad and was a member of the Victorian kendo team that won the 36th Australian championships in April 2011.



Achievements:
  • 1999
    • 3rd place – State Individual Kyu Championship.
    • 1st place – State Team Kyu Championship.
  • 2000
    • 1st place – State Team Kyu Championship.
  • 2001
    • 2nd place – National Team Kyu Championship.
    • Fighting Spirit Award – National Championships.
  • 2002
    • Dedication award for 9 years of inspirational kendo for youth within Australia.
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament.
  • 2004
    • Ballarat vs Inagawa Tournament in Inagawa Japan.
  • 2008
    • 3rd Inaugural Nagae Taikai (Kata). Tarl O’Mara with Ryan Oliver
    • 2nd place – State Open Team Championship. (Ballarat Team)
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament.
    • Team Fighting Spirit Award Mumeishi 3′s Tournament.
  • 2009
    • 2nd Place Dublin International Open Team Championship (with Cas Bilston and members of UK and Germany).
  • 2011
    • 1st Place Australian Open Team Championship.

Ryan at the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea
Ryan Oliver

3rd Dan Kendo.


Ryan began Kendo in Ballarat in the mid 1990′s after training for a few years in Karate.He was inspired by Sensei Katsumi Kuramochi who was the resident instructor in Ballarat at the time and later by Satoru Takada who also trained in Ballarat in the late 90′s for 12 months.

Ryan took a bus from Ballarat to Brisbane in 1999 to compete in the Australian Junior Kendo Championships and took first place. Two years later in Perth, Western Australia he won the Australian Open Kyu Championship and achieved his Shodan along with long time training partner, Tarl O’Mara.

In 2001 Ryan accepted a 12 month scholarship to Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan where he studied Japanese, business and Kendo at Hakodate University. On his return he gave tremendous support to the Ballarat club with the skill and knowledge he brought back from this intensive training period.

In 2003 Ryan and fellow Ballarat Club member, Tony Pickering represented Australia at the Hong Kong (Regional) Invitational Kendo Tournament and finished in the final eight teams.

Ryan returned to Australia in early 2008 and has been teaching at a local primary school.  He remains passionate about his kendo training and vows to continue to improve himself in all areas of kendo.


Achievements:
  • 1999
    • 1st place – Inaugural Mumeishi 3?s Tournament (Local Team).
    • 1st place – National Junior Individual Championship.
  • 2000
    • 3rd place – National Kyu Individual Championship.
  • 2000
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament (Local Team).
  • 2001
    • 1st place – National Kyu Individual Championship.
    • 2nd place – State Individual Dan Championship.
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament (Local Team).
    • Awarded Scholarship to Hakodate University, Hokkaido.
  • 2002
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament (Local Team).
  • 2003
    • Final 8 teams – Hong Kong Asian (Regional) Invitational Kendo Tournament.
  • 2004
    • Ballarat vs Inagawa Tournament in Inagawa Japan.
  • 2005
    • Assistant Language teacher position at Inagawa, Japan.
  • 2008
    • 3rd Inaugural Nagae Taikai (Kata). Tarl O’Mara with Ryan Oliver
    • 2nd place – State Open Team Championship. (Ballarat Team)
    • 3rd place – State Individual open Championship.
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament.
    • Team Fighting Spirit Award Mumeishi 3′s Tournament.

David , Peter & Gary discussing beards!
David Tannard

2nd Dan Kendo.

Achievements:
  • 2000 – 2003
    • 2nd place – Mumeishi 3′s Tournament (Local Team).
  • 2003 – 2005
    • Victorian State Team Kyu grade.
  • 2004
    • Ballarat vs Inagawa Tournament in Inagawa Japan.
  • 2008
    • 2nd place – State Open Team Championship. (Ballarat Team)

Walter Butler seen in front
of his alter ego Thomas Cruise
Walter Butler

1st Dan Kendo.


Walter achieved Shodan on 25th November 2006. He trained consistently from the moment he began his Kendo journey, always asking advice and putting such into his practice.

He was a member of the first Ballarat team that faced the Inagawa Kendo team in 2004, spending a week in central Japan. His dedication and quietly spoken philosophy and observations of life are much appreciated by all members of the Ballarat Kendo Club.

Currently Walter is living in Kununurra, W.A.


Carl Ruff

1st Dan Kendo.


Carl Ruff achieved Shodan in Kendo during September 2008.

He is an active student of Iaido also and is well known as a regular member of our club’s demonstration team.