By Derek Schlennstedt
“One of the big things we teach is how kids can look after themselves”
Every year The Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame recognises Australian martial artists in its who’s who hall of fame.
This year Lilydale martial artist Shidoshi Grant Bannister was one of them.
Grant Bannister has spent a lifetime teaching students at his Bukido Karate Club in Lilydale and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award for more than 35 years of continuous service to martial arts.
Despite having won various awards, Grant said his greatest achievement was being able to see his students become outstanding members of the community.
“It’s seeing the thousands of kids you taught grow up to become respectful adults,” Grant said.
“Parents who I originally taught are now bringing their children along and that’s fantastic to see.”
The 74-year-old attended the awards ceremony on 19 August in Sydney.
The founder and head instructor of Bukido Karate first began training in Judo in 1959 under the guidance of Wally Strauss.
Grant joked that he only decided to practise martial arts when his work as a TV technician resulted in a back injury which he though karate might be able to fix.
“I was originally a TV technician and had to lift those old big heavy TVs, so I ended up with a crook back and was told I would never walk straight again,” he said.
“I put up with it for nearly two years and then started karate, and within six weeks I was walking straight.
“People don’t realise how great it is for your health.”
It was in 1974 when he met Mal Lomax that he began his serious training.
Following this Grant pursued a career as a bodyguard for a number of celebrities including Olivia Newton John, Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats.
In 1986 he began Bukido Karate, which means ‘martial way and inner strength’.
This form, he said, focuses on improving people mentally and physically and, most importantly, teaches respect.
“One of the big things we teach is how kids can look after themselves, but also how to walk away, to give them the willpower to walk away and that willpower is built up through martial arts training,” he said.
Although being a master martial artist, Grant said he was always learning and that he was humbled to have been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I was very humbled by it because there are a lot of great martial artists in Australia,” he said.
“You never stop learning.”
“Even just going away for the weekend and training with other masters … I was constantly learning about their style.”
“Every one of them would come and shake your hand and introduce themselves and that’s what martial arts does, it teaches respect and politeness.”