History of Kogatsu Judo

   The History of Kugatsu



     Kugatsu was Founded by Charlie Mileto in Sydney’s Western Suburbs in 1967 with Mr Jim Robinson 7th Dan.

Mr Robinson was the highest grade in Australia until he past away in 1988.

    Charlie was an outstanding Judoka specializing in a Very Low and Very Fast Seoinage but Charlies Greatest asset was His Ne –Waza. Charlie at a very light weight of around 65Kgs many time showed how easily a little man with a very low Seoinage could bring a Larger man down and how with good Groundwork a smaller man can easily overcome much heavier Judokas. On the Ground Charlie’s strengths were a very strong Beartrap like Kami-Shiho Gatame and a brutal Mekura Gesa Gatame, both holddowns locked the head in place and kept the smaller mans body away from the larger mans body. As Charlie always said “their not going anywhere without their head”

     To cap this off Charlie was a great exponent of Shime-Waza (strangles) following Charlie’s theme of “kill the head”. Charlie’s best strangle was Morote-Jime, when Charlie locked on with Morote-Jime it was like having a 65Kgs Steel girter hanging around your neck.

     Charlie had a Great love for Judo, many people would be shocked if they knew how many times Charlie donated money towards promoting Judo. (anonymously of course)

     Kugatsu was pretty much a nomadic Club that moved from place to place and Town to Town, mostly around Sydney’s Western Suburbs.

     From the Y.M.C.A. to a Factory unit in Lurnea around 1979 Members at the time were Charlie Mileto, Harry Meehan, Ray Verko, Bill Partington Former Australian Heavyweight Champion, Steven Biscoe, Steven Leabetter, John Ellis, a Very Young Soon to be one of the great stars of Woman’s Judo Shelly Moretti and the very impressive Young soon to became Young Men’s Australian Heavyweight Champion Shane Alvisio. It was around this time that Steve Kelly joined Kugatsu, Former Young Men’s Australian Champion and Australian Representative.

     It was under the leadership of Steve Kelly, Bill Partington and a Young enthusiastic Shane Alvisio that Kugatsu made great leaps forward in the early 1980s. Steve Kelly was asked to take Judo Classes at the Parramatta P.C.Y.C. in Sydney’s greater Western Suburbs. Steve seeing the great uncapped wealth of Judo Knowledge at Kugatsu tried to convince all members to join him at Parramatta P.C.Y.C. Unfortunately not all the members believed in Steve’s vision for the Club.

     Steve’s Vision ? At the age of 6 Years old Steve started Judo at the Parramatta P.C.Y.C. and played Junior and Senior level Judo during the years when the Strongest Judo Clubs in the Australian Judo Association were the P.C.Y.C.’s. Steve believed that with the help of these people this could be the case again.

     In 1983 Steve and many other members started Classes at Parramatta P.C.Y.C. with people like Charlie Mileto, Bill Partington, Harry Meehan and Shane Alvisio, Steve had little trouble building Kugatsu into not only the biggest Club in N.S.W. but also one of the strongest young Judo Clubs in N.S.W.

     By 1986 Kugatsu was just too strong for P.C.Y.C. Tournaments and there were moves to out Kugatsu from the P.C.Y.C. movement.

     With Steve Kelly’s insistence that Kugatsu not follow the majority of the Clubs and move away from Groungwork. It was becoming clear that this was giving Kugatsu a great advantage both in Strength and it was becoming more and more evident that other Clubs were willing their players not to go to Ground with Kugatsu.

     The Club was starting to hear calls of “Don’t go to Ground with Kugatsu” Kugatsu was by now number one on the ground and everyone knew it. Steve being a great admirer of Charlie Mileto’s groundwork had studied Charlie’s groundwork and had not only passed it on to his Students but had become extremely good on the ground himself and was quite well known for his Ne-waza. Steve said that he had studied Charlie’s groundwork and he would like to be seen as a larger Charlie Mileto.

    Also in 1986 Steve and Shane Alivisio started teaching at their own expense, Judo in Western Suburb Schools full time. This added great strength to Kugatsu, many of Kugatsu’s new members came from the time Steve and Shane spent in the Schools.

     Young Stars were rising Nick Bernek a former Parramatta P.C.Y.C. Junior member with a classic Seoi-toshi was building his strength with Kugatsu and was now showing great promise. Warren Hillier from Marist Brothers High was starting to show great progress. Koniseti Liutai from Macquarie Boys High was also making great progress. Not long after a young boy from Nelson Bay, Robert Ivers joined the Club , his family had just moved down to Sydney from Nelson Bay and he was told by his Instructor to seek out Kugatsu.

It was now with the help of these young members that Kugatsu moved even further forward and it was also around this time that the Politics of Judo started to play a roll. With a great number of Juniors and Senior, the Club was by now one of the strongest Clubs in N.S.W. Judo. Names like Charlie Mileto, Bill Partington, Harry Meehan, Steve Kelly, Shane Alvisio, Bob Danylak, John Ellis, Ken McAviney, Greg Nixon, Greg Travis, Barry McKinney were now attracting other Seniors from other Clubs with the promise of good hard Judo. Any session could promise the above Judoka plus Judokas like Willy Willanski, Trevor Williams, Greg Cousins,

    Some Clubs and people were not happy with Kugatsu’s Progress, many hurdles were thrown at the Club during this time. But the Club was strong and still building, going from strength to strength and the troubled times and hurdles seem to strengthen Kugatsu. As Charlie said “beat them on the mat and they will have no comeback” The Club was building on that, our older players were Winning Tournaments and our younger players were coming on strong. It was about this time when Steve could see that his younger players needed extra training, he chose to encourage his young players to attend Sydney University’s Saturday sessions boasting such Judokas as Peter Page, Barry Johnson, Dave Givney, Milos Kovacik, Ken McAviney and a wealth of very experienced Judokas and young Men and Australian Champions like Mark Carew, Andrew Richardson.

      Steve and Shane with the help of other P.C.Y.C.’s organized a Judo Camp at Camp MacKay which was attended by over 100 Junior Students this was a full weekend and was a great success. Following this success by 1987 the push against Kugatsu being part of the P.C.Y.C. movement was getting stronger. The reasons we were told, were not Political and had nothing to do with the dominance that Kugatsu had gained.

    The reason given was the Y in P.C.Y.C. stood for Youth and even though we had the biggest Youth Club in the movement we had far too many Seniors. So Kugatsu rather than fight this and be forced to split the Club into Senior and Junior Clubs moved to a Soccer Club Hall in Guildford.

    Kugatsu trained at the Soccer Club for just over a year still building, our Juniors were showing dominance on the mat no more so then Young Natalie Galea later to become Natalie Galea Olympian. At this time we were joined by former member and Australian Champion Shelly Moretti and new Husband Jim Hallett.

     In 1988 the Club lost its oldest Member Mr Jim Robinson 7th Dan and the Club was also forced to move again as the Club needed more space with the swelling numbers. The Club moved to Granville Showground, much work was needed to bring this old chook Shed up to scratch. With the aid of Builders: Charlie Mileto, Steve Kelly, Plumbers: Shane Alvisio, Robert Ivers, Electrician: John Ellis and a big team of Volunteers it was hard work but by the end of works, while it still looked like an old Chicken Shed on the outside which was our aim for security purposes the inside sported a permanent mat area Mens and Womens Showers plus a living area for some of our Members or Visitors , it was No Palace but as yet we were not Kings.

     It was at this time that Kugatsu truly started to show its long awaited dominance, new Members like the New Zealand Champion and New Zealand Representative Geoff Watson, brothers Ian Gillian, Jilian Gillian and Australian Champion Wendy Callender added to the Clubs strength.

     For many years Kugatsu had tried to Win the very prestigious N.S.W. Mens Team Championships. There were Two State Teams Championships , the Weighted Teams and the Unweighted Teams.

     The Weighted Team which was 7 men aside with a player in each weight division and the Unweighted team which was 5 men aside open weight.

     In 1989 Kugatsu Won the Weighted Teams Championship. The Weighted Team for 1989 was Geoff Watson, Shane Alvisio, Robert Ivers, Jim Hallett, Warren Hillier and Brothers Ian and Julian Gillian. It was this win that cemented Kugatsu as the number one Club.

     The Teams tournaments both Weighted and Unweighted would be dominated by Kugatsu for the next 16 Years.

      By Judokas Shane Alvisio, Robert Ivers, Geoff Watson, Martin Clark, Steve Kelly, Nick Bernek, Warren Hillier, Ian Gillian, Julian Gillian, Jamahl Kelly, Daniel Rustivic, Alex Taylor.

      1989 was another great year with many members having success at National level, Jenny Brown winning the Bronze in her very first Nationals . Natalie Galea and Jim Hallett winning Australian Titles . But the achievement of 1989 was Robert Ivers success overseas. Robert won Bronze medals in both the Turkish and Welsh Open and then The Gold Medal at the South German Tristate Championships.

      1990 was another great year for Kugatsu but not without trouble, Politics was still harming Judo and Kugatsu, Early in the Year Shane Alvisio Won the Fishers Ghost Open at Homebush in the Under 86Kgs and Steve Kelly had Won the Under 95Kgs. Then Steve was banned from Judo for 3 Years for knowingly suppling a Registration Sticker to an unregistered Judoka at the N.S.W. Open State Titles.

      Steve’s explanation for this ban is as follows

      Running up to the State Titles I was finding it hard to get Registration stickers for my Players, the Registration had been paid weeks in advance but no stickers were received. I saw this as an attempt to stop Kugatsu players from competing. On the Friday before the State Titles, the Titles being on the Sunday. I spent most of the Day at the Judo Federation Head Office in Gloucester Street, Sydney. After many Hours the Executive Director of Judo N.S.W. arrived to find me sitting outside his Office. I demanded the Registration Sticker for each of my Players, of course there was some kind of mistake the Director was sure all stickers were sent out. Once again I demanded the Stickers and after many heated words it was acknowledge that the Federation did receive payment for Stickers and with this in mind I was given 10 Stickers and would return any that I would be received in the post. Not all of the my players were able to be contacted and told that I had secured their Stickers. On the day a Judoka and the Current N.S.W. Champion from Wollongong arrived, shamelessly he had not received his Sticker but the Judoka thought that if he paid on the day he would be able to compete. After trying the Judoka found that this was not the case. This Judoka was not a member of Kugatsu. I believed that this was another player that had been wronged by the Federation. I gave a Sticker to this Judoka and told the Judoka that if there was any problems to tell the Federation that I had given him the Sticker. A Special board meeting was held without my knowledge and it was decided that I be given a 3 Year ban from Judo. Bill Partington was at this meeting and spoke on my behalf but had no luck. Kugatsu members were told of this decision and told, as I was now banned for 3 years I was not a financial member of the Federation and that they were unable to train under me as I was uninsured. Some members were also told that if they did continue training with me it could hurt their chances of Representing their State or their Nation. This was a hard time for Kugatsu and some players did leave the Club but the players that stayed just saw it as another hurdle. With the help of Peter Page and the support of Alan Mitchell I did seek legal action but I was told that to proceed with Legal Action I would have to sue The Judo Federation and not the Director of Judo. I stopped Legal Action as there was no way I wished to do any harm to Judo.

Was the Ban all about a Sticker or was it all about stopping Kugastu ?

    The rest of 1990 was another Great year for the Club, Kugatsu was still gaining strength and as always hurdles just made Kugatsu Stronger.

    1991 Saw Kugatsu on the move again this time onto the State Sports Centre lead by Shane Alvisio, Robert Ivers, Nick Bernek and Warren Hillier. The Ban on Steve had taken its toll and he was no longer the driving force behind the Club and was soon to leave along with his Family for Tasmania.

     Kugatsu moved ever forward in Sydney with Great results in all Competitions with Australian Champion Robert Ivers Competing in the 2000 Sydney Olympics along side New Member Australian Champion Daniel Rustivic


     Kugatsu Judo Club Opened in 1992 at the Uni of Tasmania Hobart with Steve Kelly at the Helm and progressed on to the Hobart P.C.Y.C.

     During this time Kugatsu produced a wealth of Champions Regulas Fogagnolo, Jamahl Kelly and the Very Successful Champion Priscus Fogagnolo.

     In 2006 Kugatsu moved to Kingston Sports Centre and by now was the Strongest Senior Club in Tasmania.

     By 2009 Kugatsu could boast 4 clubs Kingston, Hobart, Rokeby and Huon Valley P.C.Y.C. It was in 2009 that Kugatsu hosted the State Mens Teams Championship. Clubs throughout Tasmania were asked to field a Team of their Very Best Men to fight for the Honor to be named State Mens Team Club Champions.

       Kugatsu fielded 4 Teams. The result was clear Kugatsu were Crowned State Mens Team Club Champions. The winning Team was Louis Williams, Yutaka Wakamatsu, Toby Schuurmans, Jamahl Kelly and the New Young Champion Elijah Schuurmans.

       Indeed Kugatsu Placed First, Second, Fourth and Seventh. The Team to gain Third place was the Newly formed Hydrid Judo Club Headed by Priscus Fogagnolo a former Kugatsu Student.

      At the moment Elijah Schuurmans is training overseas in a bid to be included in the Australian Team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.