Kyokushin is a vehicle that opens doors to perhaps previously unconsidered possibilities. It transforms anyone who makes it their own through hard training and focused attention.Cameron Quinn
A lifelong student of Kyokushin Karate, Cameron Quinn served as his teacher’s, Mas Oyama’s interpreter for many years. As a martial artist, he has cross-trained in various martial arts from around the world.
The only boy and the youngest of five children, Cameron Quinn was born on the Gold Coast of Australia in 1959.
Quinn’s journey in Kyokushin Karate began in 1971. Initially, his parents had wanted his sisters to learn self-defence. He had tagged along with them. During the class he had practice in the back, trying to imitate the techniques being taught. His sisters were not interested in the classes, but it was he who fell in love with the training.
It just so happened that Quinn and his family had gone to Kyokushin dojo run by Frank Everett. Everett was one of the first men to practice Kyokushin in Australia. He had been a successful amateur boxer in his youth. He had trained in Goju–Ryu Karate under Tino Cerebano. He later trained in Kyokushin Karate under Shigeo Kato who arrived in Australia in 1968.
Quinn persuaded his parents to let him join the Karate club. Quinn with small for his size and had faced some bullying and wanted to get stronger. Fascinated by what he was learning, he was soon training seven days a week at several dojos. He also saved money from his various part-time jobs and bought several of Mas Oyama’s books.
In 1972 Quinn began attending St Peters Lutheran College in Brisbane. Two years later he started attending Miami State High school.
Fresh out of high school, Quinn made the decision to travel to Japan to improve his Karate. As a 17-year-old green belt, he had spoken to his instructor Frank Everett, who had encouraged him to do so.
Quinn had applied to Rotary Australia for a scholarship to be a cultural bridge between Australia and Japan. Having been accepted to train at the Kyokushin Hombu, he travelled to Tokyo, Japan, via Hong Kong, as there was no direct flight from Australia to Japan.
In Japan, the level of training was a shock to the young Quinn. He couldn’t speak a word of Japanese. However, he made the effort to learn the language. He impressed his seniors with his willingness to learn. Every time he was knocked down, he would get up, showing that he had great spirit.
In October 1976 the 8th All Japan Championships were held in Tokyo. Mas Oyama had become aware that Quinn was bilingual, now speaking both Japanese and English. He asked Quinn to become his translator, starting with the championships. Quinn continued as Oyama’s translator until Oyama’s death.
Quinn returned to Australia in 1977 after his 12-month stay in Japan. Training in Japan had taken his Karate to another level. His improvements were very noticeable.
By 1978 Quinn had been promoted to 1st Dan. That year he opened his own dojo. He also started practising Raja Yoga.
In 1979 Quinn founded Quintessential Training. The aim of the company was to help individuals and teams achieve their best possible performance results.
Quinn enrolled at the University of Queensland in 1981 to study for a BA in Japanese Language & Culture and Human Movements.
In 1986 Quinn graduated from the University of Queensland. That year he also became the Australian Middleweight Champion.
On 1 October 1987 the first edition of Quinn’s book “The Budo Karate Mas Oyama – Philoshipcal Foundations of Japan’s Strongest Fighting Art” was published. Quinn, who was a 2nd Dan at the time, had received encouragement from Oyama to write the book. The book covers the philosophies of Mas Oyama and Kyokushin Karate. Oyama wrote the forward of the book.
By 1989 Quinn had established a very successful dojo. Oyama had appointed him a Branch Chief in Australia. That year Quinn decided to start his own uchi-deshi(live-in) program. Garry O’Neill the Walter Schnaubelt were among his first students to join the program. O’Neill would go on to have great success as a competitor.
Quinn has developed strong ties within the wider martial arts community. In 1990 he organised the Brisbane leg of a Bill “Superfoot” Wallace seminar tour.
On 1 January 1993 Quinn’s book, “Instructors Handbook” was published. The book is a guide for instructors on how to improve their teaching skills and get the best out of every class they teach.
Looking to expand his martial arts knowledge, Quinn began practising BJJ ((Brazillian Jujitsu) in 1993. He trained under Larry Papadopoulos, an Australian mixed martial artist.
On 26 April 1996 Quinns mentor and teacher, Mas Oyama, died in Tokyo from lung cancer.
In 2001 Quinn’s book “Training For Full Contact Tournament Fighting” was published.
On 20 March 2001 Quinn was graded to 5th Dan. He had previously received his 3rd and 4th Dan grades from Mas Oyama.
At the age of 42, Quinn competed in the Kyokushin World Championships in 2001. He finished in third place in the Kata final and fourth place in the over 40s Kumite division.
In 2012 World So-Kyokushin was established in Japan by Diego Oishi. With the Kyokushin world being split into so many factions, some of Mas Oyama’s teachings and aims for Kyokushin Karate had been lost. The aim of the new organisation was to correctly spread Kyokushin Karate as thought by Oyama. Quinn eventually became affiliated with this group.
On 6 December 2013, UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs Bigfoot took place at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, in Australia. Quinn was one of the referees at the mixed martial arts event. He had been involved in the MMA community and had helped train fighters involved in knockdown Karate, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and boxing. He coached boxer Tyrone Tongia to numerous boxing titles.
In 2014 another of Quinn’s books, “Budo Blueprint“, was published.
By 2017 Quinn was frequently travelling around the world giving seminars. In 2017 he visited Norway for the first time, where he conducted four seminars across the country. He was in Norway for 11 days. The seminars were organised by Jon Osvald Christensen and David Cummins on behalf of the Norwegian Kyokushin Karate Organisation and were open to students from all Kyokushin organisations.
In 2020 the second edition of Quinn’s book “The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama – Philosophical Foundations of Japan’s Strongest Fighting Art” was published. The foreword of the book was written by Dolph Lundgren.
On 28 September 2021 Quinn celebrated 50 years in Kyokushin Karate.
Cameron Quinn is highly respected for his in-depth knowledge. His seminars and courses are very popular. Apart from holding a 7th Dan in Kyokushin Karate, he also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu.
Quinn has had the opportunity to train with many top martial artists. He is trained with the likes of Bobby Lowe, Judo Gene LaBell, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Erik Paulsen, Dan Inosanto, and Koichi Tohei, to name a few.
Away from Karate, Quinn is a respected tackling coach in the sports of Rugby Union, Rugby League, and Australian Rules Football. He has consulted for several teams to help their players improve their performance.
Quinn is always looking to improve his Karate practice and promote the teachers of his mentor, Mas Oyama.