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WAIRARAPA can consider itself lucky to have two of New Zealand's leading martial artists training and teaching together, here on our very own doorstep.
Doug Mende and John Whitby, both of Carterton, are practitioners of jujitsu and karate respectively, and are among the highest graded practitioners in their fields in the country.
The two forms of martial art rely on quite different fighting styles.
Jujitsu is based on close quarters combat and ground fighting while karate is a more distant, stand-up style of fighting.
Shihan Mende (Shihan means master) is the national director for the All Japan Jujitsu International Federation, and Sensei Whitby is one of four chief instructors nationwide.
They said with the advent of "no rules" fighting, the skills of one another's arts are becoming ever more desirable between styles, particularly ground fighting.
"Everyone started fighting on the ground. All the other arts are wanting to learn how to ground fight. So now we're cross-training to get a wider spectrum of techniques and a more complete fighting system."
One particular manoeuvre that has been beating most in fights is the "triangle strangle", which involves getting up close to opponents, dragging them to the ground and clamping their neck between the legs and squeezing on the throat, cutting off air supply.
"If you do that for five seconds they'll pass out."
Sensei Whitby, who trained as a young man in Masterton under Bully Kawana ? "a very tough man" ? said having two such well-qualified martial arts exponents living in one place is rare.
"There won't be too many people of our rank in the country, let alone training together. In the past karate masters didn't want to train with other styles, to protect their styles and not pass on their techniques and weapons."
The pair, who have both been into martial arts for more than 30 years, met only quite recently, Sensei Whitby said.
"I met Doug by accident. I had heard there was a jujitsu master and I wanted to teach our guys about ground fighting techniques. Prior to that I had a small interest in jujitsu, but not to this level."
Both men have had experience of the positive things martial arts can offer young people, and have taken at-risk people off the streets through martial arts.
"The biggest things people can gain from martial arts are a sense of self-respect, discipline, character and respect for others."
Outside of martial arts, both have busy working lives.
Mr Mende is a scientific engineer who extracts a substance called Totarol from totara trees, which he said is 1000 times stronger than tea-tree oil, and Mr Whitby has spent 20 years in market gardening and now works as a contract commercial mower.