DIRECTOR & CHIEF INSTRUCTOR of Kin Shin Kai – George Ciechanowicz
George Ciechanowicz commenced his martial arts journey in 1972 at the La Trobe University Karate Club in Melbourne, Australia.
More than forty years later, now a 7th Dan Black belt, he still continues that journey.
He formed the Kin Shin Kai in 1997 as an alternative to standard commercial dojos, offering things he saw they lacked.
Putting students first rather than the commercial and reputational success of the Chief Instructor
Overlaying an effective, ethical and holistic self defense program over the traditional practices of Goju Ryu / Goju Kensha
Unlocking the practical secrets of the traditional karate practices for students
Reviewing these traditional practices in a constant search for improvement
Being inclusive and developing each student to the best of their own individual abilities and needs
Remembering, respecting and acknowledging the masters who came before. The richness of what we practice we owe to them
George has been blessed to learn from, and be influenced by, some of the best masters of the Asian martial arts traditions. The most important three of these are:
MAJOR INSPIRATIONS & INFLUENCES – #1 Master Ohtsuka Tadahiko
Master Ohtsuka Tadahiko was the founder of the Goju Kensha (House of the hard – soft fist).
Kin Shin Kai is squarely based on Ohtsuka sensei’s Goju Kensha and he remains our most important inspiration.
Ohtsuka sensei himself achieved his 5th Dan Black Belt & master teacher status in 1973 under the guidance of Goju Ryu master Ichikawa Sosui
Ohtsuka sensei’s Goju Kensha had a major official presence in Australia from late 1973 till around 2004.
George Ciechanowicz, founder and chief instructor of Kin Shin Kai, was fortunate to be involved with Goju Kensha in Australia from the start.
He was last able to train with Ohtsuka sensei in Japan in 2008, shortly before Ohtsuka sensei’s passing.
He was also honoured to participate & speak at Ohtsuka O-sensei’s 3rd year of passing memorial in Tokyo, June 2015. Video of that event may be found on the Ohtsuka sensei memorial channel on YouTube
MAJOR INSPIRATIONS & INFLUENCES – #2 Hanshi Patrick McCarthy
Patrick McCarthy is an exceptionally well-travelled and experienced martial artist whose research into the Asian martial arts is possibly unparalleled in the contemporary western world. His sharp intellect and quick mind ensure that he has made the most of virtually a lifetime of varied high quality martial arts activity.
His almost 10 years living in Japan spent training and researching throughout the region saw him meet, interview and learn from an incredible range of masters.
This diverse background allows him to do a second to none comparative analysis of styles, methods and the accuracy of historical “facts” and to speak and teach with an authority that most western “masters” lack.
He was a pioneer in translating the Bubishi (referred to as the “bible” of karate) into English and has published a number of book detailing the results of this and other research.
It is no coincidence that he was a friend and colleague of the late, great Goju Kensha master Ohtsuka Tadahiko (who himself translated the Bubishi into modern Japanese) as they shared many research interests and experiences as well as great intellectual qualities.
McCarthy sensei stresses that much of the perceived difference between styles is just stylistic expression and that many techniques are actually the same across styles.
His knowledge has been instrumental in stimulating a world wide movement to recover the practicality of old school karate although many influenced by him act as though they ‘always knew it’.
His insights have really rounded off the development of Kin Shin Kai as a Goju Ryu based martial art and for this we gratefully thank him.
MAJOR INSPIRATIONS & INFLUENCES – #3 Guru Maul Mornie
Moul Mornie is a direct family successor to the Bruneian silat system “Silat Suffian Bela Diri”. This system is incredibly efficient and effective. It’s sheer brutal effectiveness makes it something which needs to be taught with caution and certainly not to anyone without a clear moral compass.
Nor in our opinion should it be taught to anyone without the understanding of what a proportionate self defense response is as most of the responses in Silat are on the strong to extreme end of the scale.
This is because of the culture it evolved in where many struggles were life or death and simple, brutally effective self defense was what was needed.
In the modern world we need students to be able to respond with far more nuanced, proportionate responses.
However for the more experienced and responsible student his methods offer what could be analogised as a sharpening of tools for self defense at the more desperate and dangerous end of the spectrum.
Part of the great thing about them is that his methods are generally simple and rely on simple repeated principles. This means they are more likely to be able to be used successfully by a defender even when under great stress or pressure which is when more complex responses are most likely to be stymied by the ‘adrenaline dump’.
Another great benefit of learning from Guru Moul Mornie is that he is tertiary educated, articulate and really well able to pass on the skills and methods of his family art.
Also, though still relatively young he is already quite a master of his art as he has had the benefit of learning it from his grandfather and uncle from an early age. Thus he is a fit and dynamic instructor well able to demonstrate all the physical skills he teaches.
In terms of how he benefits Kin Shin Kai, we find that what he teaches complements and reinforces the principles and self defense applications we already use but adds and greater efficiency and effectiveness whist also often simplifying.
We also draw a large amount of knife awareness knowledge and practice from the bladed weapon principles and skills contained in his family martial art system.
We find that his advice to finish the encounter and get away as soon as safely possible dovetails 100% with our philosophy.
It is Maul’s view and ours that those who have the illusion that they can ‘handle’ the situation and, particularly in the case of a knife attack, try to disarm and control the attacker rather than get away as soon as safely possible, are far more likely to get hurt and cut in the process.
KIN SHIN KAI Leadership Group
Sensei’s Nick Bell, Michael Mules and Mate Lezaja are the three leading seniors of Kin Shin Kai. They, with further support and input form other seniors, make a great instructing and innovating team now and for the future.
Sensei Mate Lezaja is totally imbued with maintaining the wonderful values and respectful ethos of traditional Karate whilst also embracing modern technical improvements. He has a fierce passion for traditional Kobudo (weaponry) and is a sensei of Kobudo in the Akamine tradition. Mate’s wife and children are also Kin Shin Kai students so it’s a whole family affair.
Sensei Nick Bell has his passions split between Goju karate / martial arts and tennis and is a highly competent and qualified instructor in both fields. He has experience in a number of other martial arts ranging from Shaolin kung fu to BJJ. He is also a passionate innovator of teaching methods and has a dynamic, motivating and engaging teaching style.
Sensei Michael Mules is somewhat of a renaissance man in that he encompasses so many interests and competencies and is not scared to take on more. He also has a long and broad experience of the martial arts including other Traditional martial arts including Shotokan karate, Ninjutsu and Yoshinkan Aikido. He has also , without any prior proficiency in the Japanese language, undertaken a translation of the late Ohtsuka sensei’s seminal Karate Do Kyohan so that we at Kin Shin Kai can benefit from the knowledge in this amazing book and is doing an amazing job.