For the past 50 years, Kāpiti Judo Club has been teaching discipline, growing confidence and giving members a second family to be part of.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary next month, the club is holding an open day for the community to come visit, and try their hand at the modern Japanese martial art.
Founded in 1971 by Des Sharp and the local police sergeant Jim Weekes, the club quickly gained 22 members in its first year.
Starting out at the Paraparaumu Wrestling Club in the Paraparaumu Domain, it then moved to the Anglican Church Hall in Hinemoa St as the club increased in membership, before moving to Paraparaumu Memorial Hall and finally settled at its own dojo at 2 Ruapehu St.
"There were no martial arts here at the time, the area was expanding and needed a sport for discipline, a multi-sex sport that everyone could do on the mat together," said Karen Parker, whose father Des Sharp started the club.
"I was dragged along two years later when I was 10 years old, and am still involved now."
"It's a very fun club to be involved in, we have a very strong club here with great coaches and parents involved with the club.
"It's very much a family sport, we have lots of parents who do it with their children, but it's also a sport you can do anywhere in the world."
"There are over 200 countries covered by the International Judo Federation," said coach Norm Cook, who has 6th dan black belt.
"You go anywhere in the world, find a judo club and you've instantly got friends."
Along with managing and instructing the club in its early days, Des Sharp was involved in judo in New Zealand at regional and national levels.
This included being area director of the Wellington Judo Association for two years, and introducing the region's Red and White Tournaments.
The club has been involved in planning and running annual judo camps for about 120 children and intermediate members, plus being the chief organiser of North Island Judo and National Judo Championships for 300–600 competitors in the Wellington area for many years.
"The philosophy of the club is to allow the club members to enjoy their judo activities and those who are keen to participate in judo competitions are given extra training," Karen said.
In 1994, Des Sharp retired and Karen, who has her 1st dan black belt, has continued assisting with the club's operations.
"We have a big age range from 5-75-year-olds and have had three generations on the mat.
"Mum and Dad can come along and enjoy it, use it as a stress reliever."
"They say if you stick at something for long enough it becomes a way of life, I guess it's that for me," said Norm.
"I've taken a step back off the mat now, but we have some great instructors coming through."
Coaches include Norm, Brent Jarnell (1st dan), Glen Hart (1st dan), Nigel Robson (1st kyu), Warren Norris (2nd kyu), Amy Parker (1st kyu) and Matthew Whitton (1st kyu) along with additional dedicated parent help.
Since 1971, the club has had over 2200 members involved.
"Over 50 years many club coaches and parents have kept the club alive due to their personal dedication of time and effort, we thank them for this," Karen said.
To be involved in the anniversary celebrations or try out judo, the club is holding an open afternoon on November 13 from 1pm-3pm at 2 Ruapehu St, and a celebration dinner at Paraparaumu Beach Gold Club.
Contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.