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Robert Slywa, 6th Dan, Isshin-Ryu
Biography Sensei ROBERT SLYWA
Isshinryu lineage: Master Angi Uezu > Robert Slywa
OKINAWA ISSHINRYU KARATE AUSTRALIA (OIKA)
Robert Slywa ‘s martial arts career started in the Australian Navy in 1965 with jujitsu and Kenpo karate. He first encountered Isshinryu in the USA in 1967 and was hooked. However, there were no Isshinryu classes in Australia so he instead studied Shorinryu, Kyokushin and Kenpokan. With only books and the occasional trip to the USA, it was a difficult road.
After leaving the navy in 1976, Slywa taught Jishukan Jujitsu and Kenpo karate full-time for the West Australian Education Department for two years, establishing seven dojos. He earned enough to travel to the USA for training, but knew he’d need to visit Okinawa to study with the best. He left the Jishukan association and studied Isshinryu alone and with whomever he could find, until he became friends with Master Uezu through Uezu’s student, Joe Jennings, past owner of Panther Productions.
Slywa visited the USA regularly from 1986 until 1995, when master Uezu offered to teach him full-time at his dojo in Okinawa. Besides personal tuition by master Uezu at his dojo each day, he also attended classes with sensei Tony Herald and master Uechi in the evenings. After almost four months as Uezu Hanshi’s first and only full-time student, Uezu told him to open a dojo in Australia so he could continue training in Isshinryu. Later that year in 1995, the Australian Okinawa Isshinryu branch of Okinawa’s OIKKA was born as Okinawa Isshinryu Karate Australia ( OIKA ). In 1996, master Uezu invited him to join him on his seminar tour visiting many east coast USA dojo.
To help promote the little-known style in Australia, Slywa entered as many tournaments as possible, also representing Australia in the Rochester NY tournament in honor of Master Uezu 1996 and the Okinawa World Tournament in 1997. After winning the ISKA Grand Championship and the NAS National Title in 2003 in Australia, he retired from competition. He has been awarded with Instructor of the Year by AIKA in 2002 and the ISKA Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award from ISKA in 2004. He still visits Okinawa regularly, taking students along for training and grading.
Although the OIKA has expanded to branches in Australia, India and Iran, it remains a non-profit organization and instructors teach for the love of Isshinryu. There are also about 26 long-distance students who live too far from a dojo to attend. Slywa remembers the frustrations he had in his early days and feels that Isshinryu should be for everyone, anywhere, so he travels extensively to teach and grade students. He is also a judge and referee with the ISKA and NAS tournament circuits.
Robert Slywa became a member of the United Isshinryu Council in 1999 after being nominated by master Toby Cooling after sponsoring his Australian seminar tour.
Sensei Slywa has written for various martial arts magazines such as : Aust. Karate Journal, Aust. Fighting Arts, Bujutsu International, Blits Martial Arts and Combat International. He has also appeared in TV shows and Telethon/Appealathons and had a regular Self Defense program in 1976 in West Australia.
Slywa sensei has never forgotten the words of master Uezu when he graded him to Dan in 1995:
”You have good heart and Isshinryu. Never forget. You teach with good heart and Isshinryu become strong in Australia.
Sensei Slywa was graded to 6th Dan Shihan in 2005 by master Phillip Furgason of AIKA and by Shihan H.G. Smith of GKA.
Over 45 years of Martial Arts training (from 1961) in Australia , Japan , Okinawa and America.
He is a qualified instructor in Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Jo-Jitsu, Okinawa Kobudo and Okinawa Karate. He also has 12 years of military experience ( RAN ) with involvement in the Malaysia Campaign and Vietnam and was Naval Self-Defence Instructor for 4 years. For 2 years he was the Self-Defence instructor for the Corrective Services of NSW.
He started the OIKA Assoc. in July 1995 in Australia for the growth of Isshinryu karate and Okinawa Ryukyu kobudo. He has competed, coached, judged and refereed in Regional, State, National and International tournaments representing Australia , Isshinryu karate and Ryukyu Kobudo.
MAJOR TOURNAMENT HISTORY AND AWARDS
1974 USA World Tournament, Long Beach, CA, USA
1975 Hawaii Karate Invitational, Hawaii, USA
1975 Ju-Jitsu Invitational Tournament , Yokohama, Japan. - 3rd Kumite, 4th Kata
1989 USA National Karate All-Style Tournament, CA, USA
1995 NAS Highest Rating Competitor.
1996 Master Uezu Isshinryu Championships, Rochester, NY, USA - 4th Senior Kata
1997 Okinawa World Titles Australian Team Member - Senior Kata (25th of 100)
1998 Australian National Team Member -Kobudo
1999 Australian National Team Kobudo Coach
2000 ISKA National Title holder in Kata and Kobudo
2001 NAS State Weapons/Demonstration Winner
2001 ISKA National Kobudo Title winner
2002 AIKA Instructor of the Year
2002 AIKA Dojo of the Year
2003 ISKA Lifetime Achievement Award
2003 ISKA National Kata Champion
2003 ISKA National Kobudo Grand Champion
2003 National All Styles State Kata Champion
2003 NAS National Kobudo Champion
2003 ISKA Australasian Kata Grand Champion
2007 AMAC State Weapons Champion
Has written articles for : Australasian Fighting Arts, Aust Karate Journal, Blitz, Jujitsu International, Contact, Black Belt, Karate Illustrated magazines and local Newspapers.
Media Appearances : West Aust Appealathon 1967 to 1979, The Box, Renovation Rescue, Self Defence series WA 1971-1972, TV adverts and Newspaper features.
P.O. Box 1413 ~ Green Valley, N.S.W. 2168 ~ Australia
Phone 0418 273420 ~ Fax (61)-2-97346850 ~ Home Phone (61)-2-97346850 ~ Email : firstname.lastname@example.org