Nikola Cujic

Through Kyokushin, I have brothers in every part of the world.

Nikola Cujic

An early practitioner of Kyokushin Karate in Australia, Nikola Cujic has been a student, competitor, coach, instructor, and Branch Head. Many of his students have gone on to successfully compete at a state, national, regional, and international level.

Nikola Cujic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1952. When he was 15 years old, he began practising Karate at the Student Karate Club at DIF (the State Institute of Physical Culture).

In 1969 Cujic and his family emigrated from Yugoslavia to Sydney, Australia.

Cujic managed to find a Karate club practising Oyama Karate. The club, based in Newtown, Sydney, was run by Con Hardas. Cujic made steady progress in his training.

By 1973 Cujic started teaching Kyokushin Karate. He taught at the Balmain, Sydney dojo, together with another Kyokushin practitioner, Dom Farnia. Later, he opened his own dojo at the American Health Spar in Sydney. By 1978 he had opened another dojo in Caringbah, Sydney.

1973 also saw Cujic selected to represent Australia at the 1st Asian Pacific Tournament, held in Singapore.

In 1974 Cujic met his future wife, Joy, who had began training in Kyokushin Karate.

Cujic was selected to represent Australia at the 1st Kyokushin World Tournament, held in Japan in 1975. However, three weeks before the start of the tournament he injured his hand. He was replaced in the Australian team by Grant Radonich.

In 1977 Cujic became Australia’s first full-contact Heavyweight Champion, as well as Open Weight Grand Champion, at the same tournament. Mas Oyama was present at the tournament and was very impressed by what he saw. He promoted Cujic to 2nd Dan.

Cujic was selected in 1979 to represent Australia at the 2nd Kyokushin World Tournament, held in Japan. Again, he had to pull out of the Australian team. This time it was due to him having college exams. He was replaced in a team by Gary Viccars.

In 1984 the 3rd Kyokushin World Tournament took place in Japan. Cujic was selected to represent Australia at the tournament. He finally had the chance to compete at a World Tournament.

Cujic retired from actively competing in 1984, to focus on teaching and coaching. That year also saw the birth of his son, Stephen.

On 26 April 1994, Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate died. He was replaced as the head of the International Karate Organisation (IKO) by Shokei Matsui.

Following Mas Oyama’s death and Matsui’s appointment, a number of senior instructors left the IKO. However, Cujic decided to follow Matsui as the leader of the IKO.

In 1999 Cujic decided to teach Karate full-time. He was appointed a Branch Chief by Matsui.

July 2001 saw and Cujic promoted to 6th Dan by Matsui. By this time he and his wife were teaching at their full-time dojo in Sydney.

Bobby Lowe, known as the ‘Instructor’s Instructor‘ was one of Mas Oyama’s oldest and most senior students. He had opened the first Kyokushin school outside of Japan, in Hawaii. Cujic had trained with him for many years. Lowe frequently held international training courses at his Honolulu dojo. Cujic was present at Lowes last international seminar, held in August 2002.

On 16 April 2017, the IKO 6th World Weight Tournament was held at the Tokyo Sports Palace Gymnasium in Japan. Shokei Matsui presented Australian Branch Chiefs, Nikola Cujic and Trevor Tokar with their 7th Dans. Both men were presented with their grades in front of family members, and a large contingent who travelled from Australia to attend the ceremony.

Joy Cujic was promoted to 5th Dan by Shokei Matsui on 22 November 2019. By this time she had been training in Kyokushin Karate for 45 years.

Nikola Cujic has been at the forefront of Kyokushin Karate in New South Wales. He also travels the world attending tournaments, training camps, seminars and conferences.

Both Cujic and his wife Joy have two sons who are also Kyokushin practitioners. The family, run several dojos across Australia, with the main dojo located in Caringbah, Sydney.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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