Grant Bannister

In 1958 at the age of 15, Grant got into an altercation with another young man and after this incident he decided to start training in Judo under the guidance of a very experienced instructor, Wally Strauss. This was at Heidelberg Technical College but only lasted for one year as Wally was unable to come back and teach the following year.

Grant always wanted to get involved in the martial arts again and In 1974 a friend came to Grant bubbling with excitement, it was about a new Australian style called San Chi Kai (SCK). Grant decided to go along for a trial lesson. After a few lessons, he was totally hooked and trained four to five times a week for the next ten years. His young family slowly got precedence over Karate, so he slowed his training to three times a week. Of course, these were a minimum of two hour sessions. The training was very hard and a little out of control. (Grant had every finger and toes and a couple of ribs broken during this time.)

Grant feels indebted to his first instructors, Mick Deridisi, Stewart Lomax and Tony Abela for showing that there is a better way to train in the Martial Arts.

Malcolm Lomax returned from South Australia to Melbourne in 1974 and soon took over San Chi Kai. Grant was always amazed by the incredible skills of Soke Mal and was privileged to work closely with him over the next ten years to build up San Chi Kai.

Soke Malcolm and team did a lot of security work and it was during a special social event that he met up with Olivia Newton John, who offered him the opportunity of being security for the opening of her movie Xanadu, first in Sydney then in Melbourne. Grant and Malcolm stayed by her side for the whole week including her being presented with the keys of the city of Melbourne in front of 1,000s of bystanders. He also did security for the Boomtown rats and Icehouse.

There were not too many security courses back then but working with amazing streetwise instructors like Sensei Phil Davies made it a lot easier. This was the start of a three-year security stint with several celebrities including Bob Galdoph of the Boomtown Rats who incidentally came to our Dojo in Ringwood to see a second-degree grading. One of the biggest things I have learned from Martial Arts was to stay calm when under physical threat or verbal abuse. Being self-assured helped me to stay calm in aggressive or violent situations, but at the same time I was ready for a spontaneous attack. I was also fortune enough to increase my knowledge and train with Chuck Norris (while he was in Melbourne for the Bob Jones Supershows, with Mal and completed seminars with Benny the Jet, Tony Ball and many others. (Grant did nunchaku demos for Bob Jones at the Melbourne Town Hall Supers shows.)

In 1986 when Malcolm moved to Queensland, Grant along with another Sensei, Des White started training by themselves in a garage at Croydon. Unfortunately, at about the same time Grant and Helen’s 14-year-old son was hit by a car and was in the Intensive care unit for six weeks and was in a coma for over three months.

Grant decided to throw all his Martial Arts knowledge in to helping his son recover. It took many hours to get Phillip to crawl let alone walk, but after months of punishing exercises every day, Phillip started to improve.  Months turned into years, but through absolute commitment on behalf of Helen and Grant and Phillips total faith in his parents, he eventually became independent.  Grant is convinced that the belief “never give up” of the Martial Arts and the positive thinking people he was surrounded by were the main factors contributing to Phillips recovery. Phillip has acquired a brain injury but not enough to stop him living a normal life. He is married and leading a very happy independent life. He has been advised not to do any sport where contact to the head maybe a possibility.

That same year (1986) Des White and Grant purchased the Doncaster Gym, so it certainly turned out to be a very busy year. Late 1986, the small group of people were still training very hard with no intention of starting a different style. In this same year Sensei Rod Peterson from Traralgon joined us with his group of 50 sensational students.

Des White kept the group going as Grant was only making training about once a week. Grant finally decided to call the group “Bukido Karate.” A word made up from “Budo” with “ki” as the centre. During the late 70’s up to the mid 80’s he travelled many time to Tasmania to run weapons seminars. His specialty has always been the nunchaku.

Over the last thirty years, Grant has taught thousands of students and has had the pleasure of helping students win Australian and even world titles (Sensei Crystal ISKA world Black belt kumite 2008). He has written four goal setting books for ages three years up to fourteen years. There is another goal setting/grading book he has written for fourteen years and on. (Senior reference and grading book.)

As a qualified trainer, he has also taught hundreds of students achieve their Level Two Senior First Aid. He has run fund raising events for Red Cross, Melbourne City Mission and the local animal shelter called Coldstream Animal Aid.

Even though Grant is 73 years of age, he has no intention of slowing down or even stepping down as head of his full-time Dojo in Lilydale Victoria.
His last grading was with San Chi Kai under Malcolm Lomax in 1986. Grant is addressed as “Shidoshi” meaning guiding principle.

Grant Bannister

Posted by on September 20, 2018