My name is Hope Gould, I’m 24 years old, and I live in Melbourne, Victoria. Back in 2004, my parents decided to enrol me in GKR Karate as they believed it would help build my confidence, discipline, and self-defence skills.
At the time, I was only 5 years old, so I had no idea what karate was, what I would be doing, or where it would lead me.
Down the track 19 years on, and here we are in 2023, and I’m proud to say that I’m a 3rd Dan Black Belt, an Instructor, a Dojo Manager, and get to help inspire kids every day to make a start in karate exactly like I did.
Within the 16 years that I’ve been actively training with the club, I’ve become the best version of myself, physically, mentally, and emotionally. When I first started, I was exceptionally shy. I struggled to talk to people, make friends, stand up for myself, and use my voice.
This made growing up challenging, especially when coming into primary school, where I was one of many subjected to bullying. The instructors were so supportive, kind, caring, and attentive that they were able to teach me to stand tall, keep my chin up, and use my voice!
And I refused to let people walk over me anymore. I quickly turned into this social butterfly, which I am beyond grateful for to this day! I cannot express how lucky and happy I feel when I look back and see how far I’ve come in developing myself. I trust the process of building the benefits that karate has to offer so much that my only hope is that I can give the same opportunity to other kids as I did.
GKR Karate was founded in 1984 in Adelaide, South Australia, by our Kancho, Robert Sullivan. At first, his aim was to build a small club, sufficient in size to feed his family and ‘pay the bills’. What he didn’t realise is that turning his passion into his vocation would build him an organisation that now currently spans four continents and provides literally thousands of people with the opportunity to train in one of the world’s most popular martial arts styles.
After many years of extensive training and working hard, this year in 2023, I was lucky enough to be grading for my 3rd Dan Black Belt (3 above black). This is something that doesn’t come around often or lightly for people, and it is a moment I will cherish forever.
This 3-hour grading was by far the most challenging experience I’ve ever had! I was pushed physically, mentally, and emotionally to my absolute limits! I was tired and exhausted. I felt like giving up; I had pushed myself so far. But, despite how much I thought I was going to have to give up and not make it through to the end, I remembered I was surrounded by roughly 100 friends, family members, students, and fellow GKR members cheering and supporting me on.
I could hear them yelling out for me to keep going and keep pushing myself, and that was an exact reminder of why I love this club and lifestyle so much! I passed the grading and got to the end knowing that I had given it my absolute all. and that made me PROUD.
People ask how I stay motivated, and my answer is simple. The people within the club become like a second family. They are the most supportive and compassionate people, and all they want to do is help you learn new skills, make new connections, build confidence, and overcome difficult challenges that some people may face like domestic violence, school bullying different learning difficulties and help those who have disabilities as well.
It is a blessing to be working and training alongside everyone within the GKR Karate Club. I’ve had many mentors throughout my journey with the club, starting with Sensei Brett, who was my first regional manager I trained under. He taught me to be resilient, strong-minded, and brave.
Sensei Jacob, who taught me many skills and techniques, believed in me and my capabilities and coached me into believing it myself.
Sensei Sammy, the most hardworking and dedicated assistant regional manager. She showed me how I can be just that—a hardworking and dedicated person who is able to turn her passion into a career.
Followed by Sensei Jason, one of the most inspirational leaders. He’s taught me to push past thinking like the norm, dream big, be open-minded, and believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!
GKR Karate isn’t just a club to come learn some cool karate moves; it’s a lifestyle, an environment in which you can grow and become the best version of yourself, have fun, make friendships, and create moments and memories to truly last a lifetime. #GKRKarate #hopegould