Known as the ‘Enforcer‘ for his tough fighting style, Gary Viccars has been at the forefront of the development of Kyokushin Karate in Australia.
Born in Geelong, Australia, in 1946, Gary Viccars began training in Kyokushin Karate in 1968.
Viccars trained at the dojo of Bill Paauw located in Geelong. On 1 July 1969, Viccars had his first grading.
While only a green belt, Viccars opened his first dojo in Ocean Grave in 1970. That year he was also a member of a Geelong team that won the first-ever Victorian Kyokushin Team Championships.
In 1973 Viccars was promoted to 1st Dan.
The AKKA (Australian Kyokushin Karate Association) was established in 1974. Viccars was one of the founding members, alongside John Taylor, Brian Ellison, Grant Radonich, Peter Wolfe, and Trevor Field. Viccars was also a founding member of the VKKA (Victorian Kyokushin Karate Association), which was established the following year. He became the Chairman of the association.
In 1975 Viccars was promoted to 2nd Dan.
The 1st VKKA Knockdown Championships was held in 1977. This would become one of the longest-running tournaments in Australia.
In 1977, as a member of the Victorian Kyokushin team, Viccars and his teammates won the Australian FAKO Team’s title for the first time. He would go on to represent the state of Victoria eight times.
The 4th WUKO World Karate Championships was held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1977. Viccars was selected to represent Australia. He was one of the few people to represent Australia in both knockdown and point Karate.
The 1st Australian Championships also took place in 1977. Kyokushin Karate founder, Mas Oyama was in attendance.
In 1979, Viccars was promoted to 3rd Dan.
The 2nd World Tournament was held in Tokyo in 1979. Viccars was selected to compete for Australia. He had replaced Nikola Cujic who had to pull out of the Australian team due to having to take his college exams.
Following the tournament, Viccars stayed in Japan for three months. He trained at the IKO (International Karate Organisation) Hombu. He had the opportunity to train with Oyama three times a week and also trained with other instructors at the hombu.
Apart from his training at the hombu, Viccars also had the privilege of sharing a meal with Oyama and his uchi-deshi (live-in students) every Friday. He also had the opportunity to complete the Kyokushin Winter Camp, run by Shokei Matsui. He returned to Australia in 1980.
Viccars began writing a regular martial arts column for the Geelong News in 1981.
In 1983, Viccars was promoted to 4th, Dan.
At the age of 39, Viccars undertook the 50-Man Kumite Challenge. Alongside Jim Phillips, Tony Bowden, and Luke Grgurevic, he completed the challenge.
On 30 April 1988, Viccars was awarded his Referee Certificate. He became more involved in judging and refereeing. He would go on to become a senior official, officiating at several World Tournaments.
In 1989 Viccars, alongside Nikola Cujic was promoted to 5th Dan.
By the 1990s Viccars had become one of the faces of Australian Kyokushin. On 4 November 1993, Mas Oyama appointed him a Branch Chief.
On 26 April 1994, the Kyokushin and the wider Karate world were saddened by the death of Mas Oyama due to cancer. Viccars made the journey to Japan to attend the funeral of Oyama.
Following the death of Oyama, the IKO broke into various factions. Initially, Viccars aligned himself with the IKO-2. However, by 1996 he had become disillusioned with the organisation and made a decision to leave the group.
In 1996, Viccars joined the IKO-3 group which was headed by NobuhitoTezuka. Other senior members of the group included Yoshikazu Matsushima and Hiroshi Masuda.
In June 1997, Viccars was promoted to 6th Dan. This made him the third-highest Kyokushin grade in Australia, regardless of organisation.
In 1998, Yoshikazu Matsushima became the new head of the IKO-3 group.
The AKKA held a special ceremony before the start of the 2000 Australian Championships. Viccars was presented with a trophy and certificate for his outstanding contributions to the AKKA.
On 4 July 2004, Australian Naomi Ali became the first woman to compete to complete the 100-Man Kumite Challenge. The gruelling challenge was officially adjudicated by Viccars.
In 2005, AKF (Australian Karate Federation) inducted Viccars into their inaugural Hall of Fame. This was for his contribution to the development of Karate in Australia.
On 7 November 2006, Viccars was promoted to 7th Dan by Yoshikazu Matsushima and John Taylor. He underwent a physical test for his grading, in Australia. He was one of the few people in the world to undergo a physical examination for 7th Dan.
A surprise party was thrown for Viccars on 20 February 2010. This was to celebrate his 40th year of continuous training.
On 26 April 2015, the 38th VKKA Open Knockdown Tournament was held in Geelong. It was a commemorative tournament to honour the passing of Mas Oyama 21 years earlier.
In 2018 Viccars celebrated 50 years of continuous training in Kyokushin Karate. He was presented with a special plaque by Yoshikazu Matsushima at the IKO-3 World Cup held in Japan.
On 19 November 2020, Viccars was a nominee for the Martial Arts Australia Master Awards. The award recognises Australia’s most notable martial artist.
Gary Viccars has been training continuously for over 50 years in Kyokushin Karate. Alongside the likes of John Taylor, Cameron Quinn, Trevor Tockar, and Nicola Cujic. He has been at the forefront of the development of Kyokushin Karate in Australia. He continues to be heavily involved in Australian Karate as an instructor and official, guiding the next generation of Australian Kyokushin talent.