Damien Martin

Damien Martin is the Kaichō of Southern Cross Martial Arts; that is to say, he is the Head Instructor.

Damien has been training in the martial arts for over 40 years having initially commenced training in Judo in 1982 and then Karate in 1983. Over the past 40+ years he has extended his interest in and explored the history and practices of a variety of martial arts; modern and traditional.

Sensei Damien on the cover of Blitz Martial Arts Magazine in 2017

Damien has worked extensively with kids and young people both in and out of the Dojo. He started his registered Kidz Karate classes in the 1980’s and has spent decades researching, studying and improving the results. He has extensive qualifications in psychology, education, OH&S and risk management, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies from Griffith University. Damien still works regularly teaching martial arts to kids, some of whom have trained with him for over 25 years (obviously they are not kids any more).

Continuing his interest in all aspects of the martial arts he has researched and implemented many traditional aspects into his training, holding a 7th dan in Gōki-Kai Karate (Kaicho), a 7th dan in Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate (Kyoshi), a 2nd dan in Ryukyu Kobudo, a 5th Khan in Muay Thai and is a 4th kyu Kudo Sempai and hold a Green Glove rank in Savate.

Damien continues his own study and practice and regularly travels to Okinawa to train with his Sensei, Masaji Taira, Hanshi 9th dan, of the Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai; as well as in Kobudo with his Sensei Satoshi Kinjo, Kyoshi 7th dan, of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai. He also trains in China in MingHe Quan (Singing Crane Boxing), a precursor art to modern Goju Ryu, with Master Yu Dan Xiu. Damien is a recognised branch of MingHe Quan and one of very few Westerners practising the art.

Practicing Nepai at the 2019 Melbourne gathering with Master Yu Dan Xiu.

Damien was inducted into the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame for services to the Martial Arts in 2005. Damien founded the Gōki-Kai Kan in 2008 when he started Southern Cross Martial Arts.

Damien is also the branch chief of the Australian branch of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai group under the auspices of the Kinjo family in Okinawa.

Damien worked in the security industry for over 20 years where he was constantly exposed to some of the seedier and more violent characters in our society; an environment where techniques, tactics and training methods had to work! He has been lucky enough to travel the world with his work and has trained extensively in the US and the UK; he has also trained extensively in karate and Kobudo in Okinawa, the birthplace of karate; as well as researched the roots of Karate in Fuzhou, China.

Through his experience running an internationally recognised Registered Training Organisation (RTO) Damien is considered to be a pioneer and expert in scenario based self defence training and has been developing and delivering this training within the national training system for over two decades.

Damien is highly qualified in the martial arts and associated fields and holds instructor qualifications in Muay Thai Kickboxing and Docé Pares Eskrima; holds ranks in Judo, Kudo, Savate, and la Canne de Combat; and is a member of a number of internationally recognised martial arts organisations including the MingHe Quan Research Group and the Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai.

Damien continues to compete on a National level in kata and weapons kata. He no longer competes in sparring events due to recurrent injuries.

Damien is a published author, having co-written a book on firearms and defensive tactics, as well as authoring a number of industry journal articles as a subject matter expert on use-of-force, restraint, restraint related deaths and, of course, martial arts. These articles have been published in Blitz Australasian Martial Arts Magazine, Okinawa Karate News, Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin, and Security Oz Magazine.

Damien is also the course developer for the increasingly popular Martial Arts & Autism course, being delivered across Australia.

Proudly a member of the Australasian Federation of Traditional Karate & Kobudo http://www.aftk.org.au/

Damien is a Certified Practising Traditional Karate/Kobudo Instructor (CPTKI) with the Australasian Federation of Traditional Karate & Kobudo.

Kaicho Damien Martin – Southern Cross Martial Arts Ballarat
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

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Brielle Halliday

Sempai Brielle and Sensei Damien after their kobudo gradings in Okinawa in January 2023

Brielle started karate when she was eight years old in 2011 and has been steadily training at least 3 days a week since then.

Her love of martial arts began when her twin brother wanted to do kungfu and her dad explained that he used to do karate when he was young and enrolled both himself and his twins in karate classes in Ishinryu Karate (a blend of Wadoryu, Shotokan and Kyukoshin).

From then on, karate has been a massive part of Brielle’s life and has motivated her to reach goals has led to where she is today. Four years later the family said goodbye to Ishinryu karate and started training in a new style, Shitoryu Shukokai.

After three years of dedication and hard training, Brielle achieved her black belt in Shukokai Karate. Throughout that time, she became part of the leadership team there and worked her way up to the role of instructor teaching classes full of kids and adults alike which she continued for several years.

Since then, Brielle has relocated to Ballarat and joined the Southern Cross Martial Arts family and continues learning as well as teaching the ways of Gōki-kai karate. She is currently studying a bachelor of nursing and works with Ballarat Health Services to complete her degree. Outside of work, she is an avid animal lover and takes care of her own fur family.