Chooi Sensei – (Chee Choong Chooi) Seishikan Adelaide, 1950 to Nov 2012
Sensei is the Japanese word for teacher. It translates as "the one who has gone before.” This word reflects the knowledge and wisdom the teacher has obtained from experiencing things first. While Chooi Sensei’s real rank is in fact "Renshi” - an honorific term used for someone who has proven themselves as a polished instructor and coach - Chooi Sensei has a long rich history in karate.
When Chooi Sensei came to Adelaide to study science, he became one of the first members of the "Health and Fitness Academy" in Kent Town. A new dojo was being run by Masao Tada Shihan, a Japanese instructor who had just arrived in Adelaide and had commenced teaching in March 1972. At the end of 1972 Tada Shihan and members of the "Health and Fitness Academy" began training under the banner of Goju Ryu Karate-Do Seishikan in the famous Gunson St Dojo that produced many of the central figures in Goju Ryu Karate in South Australia.
In 1974 Tsujimoto Shihan, under whose instruction Chooi Sensei achieved his Shodan, encouraged Chooi Sensei to start the Adelaide University Karate Club in 1974, the club where he would be the chief instructor for 38 years.
An active competitor in state and national competitions during the 1970's, Chooi Sensei was a firm believer in the need for a strong karate organisation and was a central figure in reinvigorating the Federation of Australian Karate Organisations (FAKO), the forerunner to the Australian Karate Federation's South Australian Branch. He served as Vice President for three years in the early 80’s and remained a committee member for much of the decade. Always passionate about developing the art of karate, he was also one of South Australia's first A‑class referees and represented the state as an official at many national tournaments.
Despite his support of the sporting side of karate, Chooi Sensei was primarily a martial artist and worked extensively to develop both his own knowledge and that of his students in the discipline of karate. He trained extensively and consistently in Japan throughout his karate career, establishing close relationships with some of the most senior figures in Japanese Goju karate-do. He developed a deep cultural understanding and a remarkable level of trust with the Japanese, which provided him access to some of the greatest karate instructors of the era.
Through these links Chooi Sensei became one of the founders of the Australian Branch of the Japan Karate Federation Goju Kai, and hosted the first Australian JKF Goju Kai championships at the Adelaide University Gymnasium in 1991.
Under Chooi Sensei’s tutelage, the Adelaide University Karate Club participated in a number of World Goju Karate Championships in Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand in addition to regular participation in the Japanese JKF national championships.
From a technical perspective, Chooi Sensei had a deep understanding of the true essence of karate.
Beyond the technicalities of karate, it was Chooi Sensei’s personal qualities, character and the individual relationships he developed with each of his students that gave rise to loyalty, commitment and reverence.
Chooi Sensei teaching style was characterised by his patience, support and ability to provide great leadership in a quiet and disciplined way, whilst still maintaining his unique sense of humor. He was knowledgeable, enchanting, young-at-heart, dedicated, caring and generous. His patience and quiet dignity are among his great attributes.