Goju Kai Karate Do  Sydney Australia

School of Yamaguchi I.K.G.A.
Founder : PAUL STARLING  Kyoshi 7th Dan - VICE PRESIDENT IKGA



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Goju Kai Sydney Goju Kan was founded in 1970 by World IKGA Vice President Paul Starling Shihan Kyoshi who has remained a loyal and devoted member of Goju Kai Karate do Australia for 46 years: he was the first graduate in 1973 as Shihan Renshi from Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei's prestigious Nihon Karate do Senmon Gakko, and the only Australian Shihan to Graduate.

Paul Starling commenced training in the Gogen Yamaguchi school of Goju Kai Karate do as a teenager 46 years ago in the early 1960's, with the founder of Goju Kai in Australia; Merv Oakley Sensei. At that time there were very few Karate Instructors qualified to teach in Australia, and only a handful were legitimately graded to any black belt level of proficiency. Oakley Sensei was a pioneer of Australian Karate, and had travelled to the Hombu Dojo in Japan to train with Gogen Yamaguchi Hanshi for extended periods.

Paul had trained in Judo from a very young age with a very distinguished teacher; Sensei Ron Cox, and for many years continued training in Judo and Goju Kai Karate do concurrently on a daily basis He travelled enormous distances from his home via public transport in order to achieve his desires to train with the very best teachers in Sydney.

 After graduating from Barker College in Waitara Sydney with his Leaving Certificate (equiv. Higher School Certificate), he commenced a career with Unilever Australia and also the Australian Army CMF, due to the influence of his father. Lieutenant Colonel Noel George Reid Starling who worked tirelessly in order to promote Sydney Goju Kan using his extensive marketing skills. A  career Army man, he was said to have been the longest serving soldier in the Australian Regular Army when he passed away in 1999. (Lieutenant Colonel Starling, born in 1913 had added a number of years to his birth date in order to sign on as a soldier in approx 1926.)



Photo of Paul with his father Lt Colonel Noel G.R. Starling
discussing his appointment as Shidoin 1970.


 It was as an Army Officer that Paul also honed his skills at leadership and the self discipline that helped him build Sydney Goju Kan and the Macquarie University Karate Club into successful traditional Japanese Dojo.

  • Paul went on to represent Australia at the WUKO /World Karate Federation's very First World Karate Do Championship in Japan in 1970,

  •  and also again at the second World Championship in Paris in 1972.

  •   Paul Starling was also a founder member of the Australian Karate Federation.

  •   Founder member -The Kokusai Karate do Shihan Kai.

  •   Founder member -The New South Wales Karate Federation.

  •   Founder- the Macquarie University Karate Club.(196

  •   Karate Instructor of the Year (Blitz)

  •   Chancellor's Lifetime Achievement Award- Macquarie University

  •    First Shihan graduate of Gogen Yamaguchi Kaiso' Nihon Karate do Senmon Gakko &

  •    only Australian to graduate as Shihan (Master Teacher).

  •    Vice President International Karate do Goju Kai Association IKGA  since 1990

  •     Director of Oceania IKGA 1990- 2004

  •    Australian Branch Chief IKGA 1989- 2004

  •   Former New South Wales Branch Chief IKGA 1972 -2004

  •    Paul has also represented Australia as an International official at WUKO World Karate do  Championships and the Australian Karate Federation.


[photograph courtesy of Blitz Martial Arts Magazine]
Whilst in Japan at the Karate do College, Paul had stayed with Gogen Yamaguchi Hanshi in his home , and had also acted in a secretarial capacity for the IKGA (International Karate do Gojukai Association). In this role he had became very closely aligned with the Yamaguchi family in Japan, and he has since returned on many occasions with very large groups of his students to train with both Gogen Yamaguch Hanshi prior to his death in 1989, and also with Goshi Yamaguchi Shihan, Gosen Yamaguchi Shihan and also Wakako Yamaguchi Shihan.

Whilst in Japan in 1970 representing Australia at the First World Karate do Championships, Gogen Yamaguchi suggested the name of Sydney Goju Kan for Paul's own Dojo, and the School has been in operation ever since. Along with the Macquarie University Karate Club (established 1968) The North Sydney branch of Goju Kai Karate do , along with the other foundation Dojo ie: in Hornsby, Asquith and West Pymble, Sydney Goju Kai members of Paul Starling Shihan trained with, and competed against their Melbourne Goju Kai colleagues under the tutelage of Constantino Tino Ceberano Shihan in the foundation years and until 1989 when Ceberano Shihan formed a new school apart from the Yamaguchi family. It was at that time that Paul Starling Shihan became the Chief Instructor of Goju Kai Karate do Australia until retiring from that position 15 years later in 2004 due to a sudden illness.

Paul's most senior student has been training with him for 37 years: Dr Mark Burton 6th Dan Renshi Shihan, former Australian & New South Wales Kata Champion, is now the New South Wales Branch Chief and Chief Instructor for Goju Kai Karate do Australia Sydney Goju Kan. Mark Shihan teaches classes at Womberal,Central Coast Region, and at Macquarie University. Please see the profiles /Instructors section for more information regarding Mark Shihan's many accomplishments.  Mark is assisted by Sensei David Harrison Jokyo 4th Dan, current Heavy Weight Jiu Kumite Medalist at the IKGA World Championship 2005-Holland. David Harrison is a long time student over the past 25 years and is now President & Chief Instructor of the Macquarie University Karate Club Dojo having assisted and followed on from Paul Starling Shihan since  2004 .
Paul now refines techniques of Shihan Instructors and Black Belts in 'Special Advanced Classes' at the Macquarie University Dojo.

  • Amongst Paul's other numerous achievements are voluntary positions over many years:
  • he was a former NSW State Coach for the New South Wales Karate Federation, 
  • State of New South Wales "A" Level Referee Australian Karate Federstion
  • a former "A" Level National  Australian Referee for the Australian Karate Federation,
  • a former National Secretary for the AKF (FAKO),
  • represented Australia as a Referee/Judge at the WKF(WUKO)World Karate Championships in Taiwan in 1982, where his wife and student (Sandie)Alexandra Starling Shihan became the very first Australian AKF representative to win a medal when she won 3rd place bronze in the Female Kata event.
  • He was a lecturer on the very 1st Level One Coaching Course run by the AKF for the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme,
  • and was on the committee that designed the original Level Two Coaching Scheme for the AKF.
  • National Australian University Sports Coordinator for Karate do.
  • Organizing Committe WKF World Karate do Championships 1986 Sydney.

Whilst at the JAPAN KARATE DO COLLEGE (NIHON KARATE DO SENMON GAKKO) where Paul trained full time for one year in 1973, he was taught by Grandmaster Gogen Yamaguchi (Goju Kai), Grandmaster Hironori Otsuka (Wado Ryu), Grandmaster Iwata Manzao (Shito Ryu), Grandmaster Tamae (Rembukan), and Grandmaster Motokatsu (Gansho) Inoue (Ryukyu Kobujitsu Hozon Shinko Kai). Also trained by Goshi Yamaguchi Saiko Shihan, and several other Japanese Shihans of the time.

Paul played a pivotal role in the 1983 Classic Australian Movie 'The Coolangatta Gold' as a Karate Instructor, accompanied by several of his black belt students who played the part of the Karate class. Paul was approached by the film's director and writer (Igor Auzons and Peter Schreck) in 1982 and asked to train a leading actor, Joss McWilliam, in Karate methods full time over a period of 3 months in order for the actor to fulfill his role in the film. Joss trained  diligently as a beginner on a daily basis with Paul and the senior instructors of the Dojo. His character in the film was a Black Belt Shodan however in reality Joss was actually a white Belt in Karate.
See this link for further details:

Many International, National, and State champions have come from Paul Starling's Dojo. Many of his students have gone on to become Internationally recognized instructors in their own right. Amongst Paul's Black Belt Graduates who have gone on to become Shihans are Ingo De Jong 8th Dan Hanshi (IKGA Vice President, Director of the European Bloc, Branch Chief for Scandinavia), Helmut Moldners 5th Dan Renshi (former NSW North Coast Branch Chief), Dr. Mark Burton 6th Dan Renshi (NSW Branch Chief and Chief Instructor) and Alexandra (Sandie) Starling 5th Dan Renshi (former WKF World Championship medalist).

Current IKGA Qualifications - Paul was awarded KYOSHI License in 1989 by Saiko Shihan Yamaguchi, 7th Dan in 1995 in Tokyo Japan, and was also graded to 5th Dan in the Ryukyu Kobujitsu Hozon Shinko Kai in 1988 by Grandmaster Motokatsu (Gansho) Inoue in Shimizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.


Goju-Kai Karate-Do 2009.