Blacktown Council & the local Martial Arts practitioners paid tribute to the founders of Martial Arts in the Blacktown area by presenting them with a lifetime achievement award.
Although it was to pay tribute to the local Martial Artist's. Wally Szlagowski & Merv Oakley are the founding fathers of Australian Karate & Ben Depede who devoted years of his time in teaching Judo.
Wally Szlagowski opening the 3rd Judo Club & the 1st Karate Club in Australia. (Blacktown)
Mer Oakley who introduced Go Ju Kai to Australia & trained under Master Gogen Yamaguchi. Many of the Aust Go Ju styles could trace their roots back to Merv.
Ben Depede who studied Judo in England & ran the Seven Hills Judo Club.
Unfortunately Ben lost his battle with cancer on the 24th Dec 2006. He will be missed but his knowledge & spirit lives on this the Judoka's that trained under his expert guidance.
Myself, Wally Szlagowski & Merv Oakley