Martial arts 'brotherhood' unites to help family after loss
“I had to show that I wouldn’t just cut loose and hurt someone that is that little bit smaller than me.”Because mum does have that technical ability she got a couple of really good shots on and I had to really work hard to move and stay light on my feet to get away from her.”
Samuel, Damian, Megan and Caitlyn Pitts met ninth-degree black belts Richard Norton and Billy Manne. “I have never had it happen in my club, it’s certainly not common,” he said.”It has been extremely rewarding to see them not just grade, but do a good job.” we will get in and spar each other like these guys did and we’ll just beat the hell out of each other, but as soon as the round is over we’re back to being best mates.”It’s sometimes hard for families to not let that drag on in the car ride home, but [the Pitts] have learned to get over that and that has enabled them to do such a good job.”Megan said the high-ranking zen do kai member who graded her family, Tania Rowan, was conferring with other clubs to see if this was the first time in the style’s history a mother, father and son had completed second-degree black belt grading together. They’re all black-belt fighters rising through the ranks of zen do kai.The freestyle martial art phenomenon was developed in Melbourne in 1970 and borrows self-defence techniques from a number of popular fighting styles.If you’ve seen action star Chuck Norris or Australian martial arts guru Richard Norton on the big screen, you’ve probably seen zen do kai in action. Photo:
Megan Pitts ghost fights with a training pad to demonstrate her skills. Megan, Damian, Samuel and Caitlyn Pitts may look like your average Goodna family, but they have a secret weapon. (Supplied: Tania Rowan)
Sam also admitted he was relieved his father wasn’t selected to spar him.”Dad and I have a very bad track record of hurting each other when we spar,” he said.Caitlyn was the only Pitts family member who didn’t have to fight a relative to pass her trial.She qualified for her first-degree black belt at a separate ceremony.Multi-generation grading unusualThe man responsible for the Pitts’ success is Kyl Reber, founder and lead instructor at Oxley’s Chikara Martial Arts.He understands better than most the challenges involved in training and fighting with friends and family.The seventh-degree black belt has two young daughters who train alongside him and is married to a fourth-degree black belt.”It’s awesome to see these full families come in together, go through it together and I think it only makes them stronger,” Mr Reber said. “It’s kind of hard to punch your child in the face, but then when he punches me in the face it makes it a whole lot easier,” she said.”He’s six-foot-two, 18, and, physically, much bigger and stronger than me.” Fourteen fighters attempted to earn their second black belt stripe, or dan, on the same day.Instead of fighting an unknown opponent, Megan found herself face to face with her husband immediately after sparring with her son. (Supplied: Tania Rowan)
Last month the Pitts participated in their end-of-year senjo — a special grading ceremony where fighters from all over the east coast of Australia have their skill level assessed.Megan, Damian and Samuel endured six months of gruelling physical training to prepare for their second-degree black belts.During the hour-long trial to achieve it, matriarch Megan realised she needed to fight her son and husband to get to the next level. “It’s a grading that’s really aimed at people in their 20s, so being 45, and a woman, I’m pretty damn proud of myself that I actually achieved it because it’s over an hour of really hard physical stuff.”
Megan Pitts lands a kick on her husband during the sparring round. (Supplied: Tania Rowan)
Sparring mum difficult test for sonSam said he was overwhelmed by emotions when he passed second degree grading with his parents by his side.The family took up zen do kai after Sam was bullied at primary school. (Supplied: Tania Rowan)
“I got [Damian] a few times,” she said.”I got a great one in his stomach with my foot and he smelled my gloves that day, so that was pretty cool.”Damian is a self-proclaimed advocate for women’s self defence.And while he enjoys seeing his wife and daughter get involved in zen do kai, Damian said sparring with them was a “double-edged sword”.The sparring round is the last of three physical challenges first-degree black belts must pass to move up.Megan said it’s nicknamed “the marathon” because fighters are expected to spar after displaying self-defence patterns, known as kata, and ghost fighting with training pads for almost an hour. “My best friend and I … Photo:
Samuel Pitts had to challenge his mum to qualify for his second-degree black belt. Mr Reber said it was very unusual to see two generations of the same family grade together. After six years of training with the family, the 18-year-old’s kicks sound like gun shots when they hit the pads.Sam’s greatest challenge now is exercising self-control against smaller opponents, like his mum.”You don’t ever want to hurt your mum so it was very hard for me to still have the intensity and the work rate I had through the entire grading but not to the point that it would hurt her,” he said.
(Supplied: Tania Rowan) ABC Radio Brisbane
December 05, 2017 09:43:38
Megan Pitts says her husband Damian smelled her gloves a few times in their sparring session.