Formally began his traditional martial arts study as a 10-year-old deshi in 1962 under the tutelage of Takahashi Kentsu Hanshi from Hiroshima Japan, who was a student of Chibana Chosin, 5 June 1885 – 26 February 1969) at the Shuri Dojo. Takahashi Sensei initially studied under Yabu Kentsu, (September 23, 1866 – August 27, 1937) also a most notable Sensei.
It was in 1969 that O’Connor Sensei passed his first Yudansha – Grading examination of Shodan under Takahashi Kentsu Hanshi. This was now the beginning, of a personal relationship forged between student and teacher that would last for 32 years.
The year 1980 saw Garry O’Connor Sensei and his family move to Australia from New Zealand, where he was asked to organize and run the first official Dojo in Australia representing Takahashi Kentsu Hanshi (1900-1994.)
O’Connor Sensei received the traditional Menkyo Kaiden; (license) and Hanko – seal, attaining the Yudansha level of 7th Dan in 1993.
After the death of Takahashi Kentsu Hanshi in 1994, Garry O’Connor Sensei continued his study of Shuri – te, now under Ichirou Ito Kyoshi-Haichi Dan, (1947-2006) who was the most senior student of Takahashi Kentsu Hanshi, at the time.
In 2002 O’Connor Sensei was awarded his Hachidan – 8th Dan Certification.
The other traditional martial arts that Garry O’Connor Sensei studied was traditional Chidokan Karate Do; founded in Japan in 1954 by the late Tekeshi Sasaki Sensei, this was under the tutelage of Jack Sims Kancho Sensei and Barney Wheki Sensei.
He also began his Jiu jitsu training in the Kawaishi system under the tutelage of Laurie Oliver 7th Dan Shihan who was the Past Master of the South Pacific Jujitsu Society – New Zealand, all registrations were directly with the International Jujutsu Federation, the N.J.J.B of Holland, N.S.J.J.K.F of Japan and the Nippon Seibukan, which at the time was under the leadership of Masafumi Suzuki Sensei.
He was awarded his Hanshi Certification in 2011; and the traditional registration; of Kudan – 9th Dan in Ryu Kyu Shuri te, and the presentation of the traditional 赤帯 Aka – Red Obi, after extensive research of records, and after the death of Ichirou Ito – Shihan in 2006.
In 2013 O’Connor Sensei was appointed as an Executive Council member of The Koshinkan Karate & Kobudo Association, being a senior 9th Dan representative of Hoshiyama Hanshi.
It was in 2015, O’Connor Hanshi was awarded his Judan-10th Dan Certification, by the Okinawa Shorin Ryu Association. This traditional Menjo was signed by the following: Kazuo Hoshiyama, Hanshi 10th Dan Koshinkan Kojo Ryu / Shorin Ryu Karate Do Okinawa. Walter Dailey Hanshi 10th Dan Zenshu-Ha Shorinji – Ryu Karate Do Kai Okinawa. Larry Hall Hanshi 10th Dan Zenshu-Ha Shorinji-Ryu Kyan Te. Okinawa. Tim Rogers Hanshi 9th Dan Okinawa Shorinji – Ryu Tode Zentokukai Okinawa.
During a trip to the World Budo Kan Association banquet held on November 5th 2016 in Adelaide, O’Connor Hanshi was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Chris Kazuo Hoshiyama Hanshi 10th Dan.
Within his humble lifetime of study, he has been dedicated to the preservation of the traditional Ryukyu teachings handed down to him from his masters. Therefore, teaching with sincere humility, friendship and demonstrating the upmost respect for all forms of traditional Okinawan martial arts.
O’Connor Hanshi continues to teach and share his love for the Ryukyu arts and is actively training to this present day.
Contact Garry O’Connor