Plenty of notches on Garry's belt

Garry Maher's journey from overweight and unhealthy to karate black belt

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NO MEAN FEET: Garry Maher has gone from overweight and dangerously unhealthy to 3rd Dan karate black belt in 13 years.

NO MEAN FEET: Garry Maher has gone from overweight and dangerously unhealthy to 3rd Dan karate black belt in 13 years.

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Garry was dangerously unhealthy 13 years ago, but karate turned his life around.

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WHEN Garry Maher's doctor told him he was in bad shape, he decided to do something about it.

Garry said his body was a ticking time bomb 13 years ago, so he turned to karate and now he is a 3rd Dan black belt in karate.

The Peregian Springs resident was 64 when his doctor told him all his bloods were elevated to an unacceptable level and he wasn't doing well.

At the time, he weighed 103kg and had already suffered two heart attacks, resulting in a quintuple coronary bypass.

The former detective, university lecturer and business founder knew he was in bad shape and needed to do something about it.

"I was in a coffee lounge feeling sorry for myself after the doctor's appointment and I could hear screams from the karate group upstairs."

After some hesitation, he asked his doctor about the possibility of taking up the martial art and after assuring he would be cautious, he was given approval to give it a try.

He approached Sunshine Coast Martial Arts in Noosaville and under the tutelage of very supportive instructors, he took his first few lessons as a "nervous, uncoordinated white belt".

PRIZED STUDENT: Garry with his 2nd Dan certification from the World Shotokan Karate Federation.

PRIZED STUDENT: Garry with his 2nd Dan certification from the World Shotokan Karate Federation.

As weeks passed he began to experience a noticeable increase in agility, mobility and overall well-being and quickly developed a real passion for karate.

"I took to it like a duck to water. I loved the discipline and increased physical abilities it gave me and that it was mentally challenging. You've really got to think on your feet."

"I felt it (karate) was very similar to what I learned in the police force - it promotes integrity, honesty and refraining from violence."

As his fitness levels and ability increased, he set his sights on a new goal of earning a black belt.

He maintained a disciplined training and exercise regimen and stuck to a healthy diet, receiving no concessions as he worked towards his goal.

After four years, he was able to realise a goal which once would have seemed like an impossible dream and at the age of 75 he attained the status of 3rd Dan.

Garry's journey has also resulted in considerable success on the tournament circuit.

He has won silver medals in the State Karate championships and KBI world championship and in 2019, Garry won a gold medal in the open division of the Sunshine Coast Karate Challenge.

He said it was extremely rewarding to have achieved so much success, sometimes competing against people five decades younger.

"I think karate has something for everyone. it's not really about competing with others, it's about competing with me," he said.

"I've been knocked on my backside a few times, but I subscribe to the view you don't lose, you learn."

Garry said it was never too late to achieve goals and encouraged others who may think they were too old for karate to give it a go - as long as they seek doctor's advice first.

"Too many people say I can't do this, I can't do that. If I can, anybody can," he said.

For more information about Sunshine Coast Martial Arts, click here.

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