Family get their kicks from karate

West Coast Karate owner Brian Sullivan with son Michael and daughters Hannah (front) and Rebecca.
West Coast Karate owner Brian Sullivan with son Michael and daughters Hannah (front) and Rebecca.

In fact, the father of three did not want to take up the sport at all.

“My son Michael wanted to start when he was about four or five and pestered me about it for a good year before I caved,” Sullivan said.

“He hammered me about it constantly but I couldn’t see the point in getting dressed up in what I thought at the time were pyjama pants.

“I put it off as long as I could but I also wanted to do something with him so eventually relented.”

While Michael and daughters Rebecca and Hannah took to the sport immediately, for Sullivan it was more of a slow burn.

“I found initially that it certainly helped with my flexibility and general health and well-being, but what kept me going was it was an activity I could do with my children,” he said.

“Then at some point along the track I decided even if they weren’t doing it I still would.”

Sullivan began teaching after obtaining his black belt 15 years ago and in 2009 opened his own club, West Coast Karate, in Bateman.

Eldest daughter Rebecca and Michael, both decorated State and National champions, are the main instructors while youngest daughter Hannah is also a dedicated practitioner.

West Coast Karate is a member of the Australian Karate Federation and for the past three years has run one of the three main tournaments in WA – and the only one south of the river.

With more than 50 regular members at its Bateman gym, the club has just launched a second location in Willetton where it hopes to cater for up to 100 additional students.

“We’ve actually been at capacity in Bateman for two or three years already, so have been considering opening a second club for some time,” Sullivan said.

“The Willetton gym is in a permanent facility that we don’t share with anybody and is fitted out purely for karate, so we’re pretty excited to get started.”