Setting up my own martial arts system has had its challenges and it certainly attracted a lot of attention. Word quickly got that there was a new and interesting way to learn martial arts.  I made many new friends and met many great like minded martial artists, but there was also a negative. I had to make sure that I was at the top of my game as I was constantly having to prove the system was effective and worthy to take its place as a new and modern martial art.

Challenges would float in weekly and if you were training with me back then, you would know that it was common for me to stop the class and accept the challenge. There were many times when I also accepted challenges outside of the dojo that most did not know about. It was a great time to be training, exciting but very scary. It definitely paved the way and laid down the foundation for our great Northstar Dojo.  Northstar Ju Jitsu proved it self against many Australian and World Martial Arts Champions and also was taken to the edge by many unknowns that had incredible heart.

One challenge stands out above all others….

One evening I received a phone call from another martial arts instructor to let me know that there is a member of one of Sydney’s bikie gangs that is going around and testing himself against at many of the local martial arts schools.  By the time I received the phone call this bikie had managed to impress many of the local martial arts teachers and was looking for his next challenge. This martial arts instructor that called me had just been visited by the bikie and managed to talk his way out of a confrontation by kindly giving my details. So he was calling me to warn me!

Sure enough, the following Saturday, we had just commenced training when this man mountain appeared at the dojo door in full bikie colours. He stood there and demanded to see Andrew Dickinson. He looked me squarely in the eye and said “are you fighting today?”  “I am now,” said. As he walked into the dojo, I discreetly locked the door behind him, ensuring that only the winner would walk out.

This was often the one thing that separated myself from the various challengers. I was always deadly serious and willing to put it all on the line.

 “Junior” was the sergeant at arms for one of the larger bike clubs at the time. A massive lump of muscle well over 190cm and weighing in at over 120kg. He had a red goatee beard and a plat of red hair that extended to his waist. He had a fierce reputation and was well respected by other bikie gangs, not to mention that he had already mixed it with several other top martial arts instructors.  Seeing him standing there, of coarse I was scared. I could feel the mix of fear and adrenalin surge through my body. On the outside I was calm and relaxed but on the inside I was screaming and wanted to run in the opposite direction as fast as possible.

I simply said, “you are welcome to join us”, to which he took off his jacket, shoes and socks and walked onto the mat wearing jeans and a t-shirt. As it was our regular sparring session there was a range of belts. Junior joined the end of the line and make short work of several brown belts, literally picking them up and slamming them into the mats. I knew I had to put a stop to this and I had to do it fast.

We stood in front of each other and I could feel his fear. I knew that he was unpredictably dangerous and this would be a dirty scrap if I let it go on.

I bowed, he stood and glared. As he took one step towards me I launched a front leg turning kick that landed square on his jaw. The sound of my foot smashing into his face stopped the entire room. His eyes dimmed as he dropped to both knees. I quickly followed up by rushing him onto the ground and drawing his long plat around his neck continued to choke him with his own hair. I clearly remember him trying to find my eyes with his thumbs as he slowly became limp, when I finally let go of him, he was sound asleep!  A minute or so later as he was trying to crawl on all fours back to the door, my younger brother, also a black belt, said “oh no you don’t, we have not finished with you yet”. Junior took a terrible pounding that day! He was very quiet by the end of it, politely excused himself as we unlocked the door and let him out.

The following Monday, he was back at the dojo. I thought, here we go again! But to my surprise he was dressed in normal gear and looked completely different from the first time I met him. He extended his hand and requested to become my student. Junior had been looking for a teacher that could tame him, and he found that in our school. He was humble and respectful so I allowed him to join as a white belt. Junior trained with us for 5 years, almost gaining a black belt. Though our worlds were different, we respected each other. I did not really understand what it meant to be a Hells Angel, and the only condition he could train was if you left that world behind when he came to train. I also made it very clear that he was not allowed to use any martial arts that I taught him…which did become quite difficult to control.

Junior became my close friend. He was respected and loved by many in the dojo. Years later Junior and I would often laugh as we would re live the first time we met. He would say he knew that he was in trouble the moment he laid eyes on me, funny as I thought the same thing. He never saw the kick, so he never knew what hit him, all he would say is that he had never been hit so hard.

One winter morning in 1998 as I was arriving back from Japan, I got the terrible news that Junior had been murdered. It was a huge blow to all that knew him. A seemingly unprovoked attack by a gunman that was intent on killing him. Junior kept us all well protected from his other world, so I never knew the depth of his darker side, though I had a healthy respect for his love of his Bikie life. I loved him like a brother and accepted him for his humanness.

-Andy-

David “junior” Newham.

Northstar Champion

27 Comments

  1. Ben O on February 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Great tale Andy, thanks for sharing.

  2. andy on February 17, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks Ben. It was these experiences that forged the system of Shinbudo at Northstar.

    Andy

  3. Daniel on February 17, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing. It was an honor to train in Shinbudo and under a true warrior. It’s a time I’ll never forget.

    • andy on February 18, 2010 at 4:03 am

      Hi Daniel, great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to contribute.

      Andy

  4. Scott N on February 17, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I agree with Ben, top read. i have often wondered whether you are challenged to prove yourself. thanks for the further insight.

  5. andy on February 18, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Hi Scott,

    Yes it was a great time, that I remember fondly. Fortunately now we have a system of martial arts that is more wholistic in nature and develops body, mind and spirit.

    Thanks for taking the time

    Andy

  6. Rach on February 18, 2010 at 7:03 am

    This is a wonderful story. There is nothing to add except i am privileged to be part of this system. Thank you for sharing Andy.

    • andy on February 24, 2010 at 4:28 am

      Thanks Rach, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

      Andy

  7. Mario on February 23, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Andrew

    I remember the days of training at Five Dock and particularly remember training with Junior . (talk about opposite worlds colliding) I very clealry remember Dimi breaking the news in class.

    We touch about “ego” in trainng , I recall one time being partnered with Junior and practicing a set routine when I accidently punched him in the face. His initial reaction was to ‘blow up’ but quickly internalised it and let it go.

    This reminded me of the story you told us the other week at the seminar about being a ‘good black belt”

  8. andy on February 24, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Hi Mario,

    Yes it was always an interesting experience having the police and Hells Angels training on the same mat at the same time. You certainly kept your dignity and handled the situation very well.

    Thank you

    Andy

  9. Gordon on March 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Andy,
    Thank you for sharing your fascinating story, I think we all face our “Juniors ” on a daily basis and it takes a great deal of courage to turn into the storm and take it on. Thank you for the inspiration to strap on the sou-wester and battle the demons for the day. Your story tells me to not skirt around problems, assess what has to be done then execute swiftly and with conviction.

    • andy on March 16, 2010 at 7:23 pm

      Hi Gordon,

      That is such a great way of putting it; face our juniors on a daily basis. Great to have your input.

      Andy

  10. Trish Newham on May 26, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Hi Andrew,
    Its Trish Juniors partner, I just come across ur story by chance and enjoyed reading it with David jr. who is now 12 so he can learn a little bit more about what his dad was like when he was alive.
    Regards
    Trish

  11. andy on May 27, 2010 at 4:13 am

    Hi Trish,

    How lovely to hear from you. I have some of Juniors things, belts, video’s etc and would be happy to share with David Jnr when he is ready.

    Kind Regards

    Andy

    • Jeff on June 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Hey guys,, Andy, not sure if you’ll remember, but I was the fat little 10yr old (Jeff) who trained with all of you back in 1990. I was just talking to slim the other day about traing & kuzo, how funny I came across this perticular post.
      Great story. I grew up with Junior around a lot. Miss him greatly.

      • andy on July 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm

        Hey Jeff,

        thanks for making contact…we all miss Junior.

        Andy

  12. Jack on November 16, 2010 at 10:24 am

    What an excellent story. I’ve stood where he is standing in the photo. Very chilling and exciting tale all the same.

  13. rob on September 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Gday Andy, Iam Davo’s best mate we grew up together and we spent alot of time together.I remember when we picked up his first bike,I also remember him telling me how his instructor choked him with his pony tail. he soon cut it off,He had great respect for you, i miss him and think of him regularly. Cheers Rob

    • andy on October 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Thanks for making contact Rob. We all miss our great mate.

      Andy

  14. rob on September 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Gday Trish,I met you only once because my partner and myself had move from the sydney area. Its good to here you and Dave jnr are doing well. Davo and myself first met at 13 in blacktown, we shared many adventures as anyone who knows dave knows, a day with davo was always an adventure.We went through nearly everything together,I wish you and Dave jnr all the best. Regards Rob

    • Greg on February 23, 2012 at 4:51 am

      Thanks Andy for the story. I also knew David as a youngster, I went to primary school with him. I only found out about David’s passing very recently when asking after him, and then stumbled across your story. From your story I can see it’s a very familiar tale of how I remember David even back in those days. I remember at school he put me on my arse in no uncertain terms one day after I decided to have a crack at him. (but I asked for it, it wasn’t unprovoked). What I do remember of him was his passion for everything that he loved doing, be it trucks, bikes, collecting lizards whatever. My condolences to Trish and David Jnr.

  15. Trencher on March 27, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Wow, it makes me happy to hear how even when other world collide it can still be a positive outcome. Thank you for sharing

  16. Pete on September 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for for your recount of your meeting with Junior, I new him at that time(1998)and he was a very likable man who showed me much friendship. At that time I also trained in Zen Do Kai and Muay Thai holding instructor ranks. I went on rides with him in Qld and NSW and got to know that other part of his life , he had a big heart for his friends and is truly missed RIP to my mate only knew you for a few years but felt like a lifetime. Pete Qld

  17. steve.b on July 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Really liked Junior.He always respected his arts.He showed me some of his bouts in Japan…Wow,I hope David jr gets to meet you guys . Bucko phoenix

    • andy on July 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hey Bucko,

      thanks for the kind words..I have met David Jnr several times…great kid.
      The memory of Junior lives on through us.

      Andy

  18. Scott Commins on April 29, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Memories. I have them of Junior as well. The first time Junior and I ever talked; He told me to turn off my bike as everyone else had for a helicopter filming on a poker run in the early 90’s. I was idling waiting to get going and was last to learn about the helicopter. One of those lessons you just never know what is really going on sometimes. I had been working in Brisbane at the time and there was not a charter up there in Qld and I decided to go to a poker run I seen advertised in a magazine in Sydney and did so on my own. It was a fun day and I went about a year later to another run. I had moved from Old to Victoria and was racing in different places in Australia. In about 96 I moved back to Sydney and had lived there before some of the years I spent up in Qld in the 90’s working and racing from there. One day riding a push bike home past the Sydney clubhouse I started talking to Dennis. Dennis a prospect at that time. I had a low rider at home and was on the pushbike to and from work and used it also for fitness to be up for the drag racing bikes I was involved with. I was invited to the club house on a Friday night and got talking with some of the members including Junior. We all got along OK and I started visiting and often got invited to different occasions and outings. All of us got along good and become friends at playing darts, pool (billiards), building or fixing Harley Davidson engines up, BBQs, riding in winter and nice weather, going to the pub, shopping for groceries, parties, just sitting together talking, listening to music and best of all going for rides on the motor bikes together. We all got bad news Dennis passed away sort of unexpectedly. Here one day gone the next. Junior was one of the speeches at his funeral. I can remember being out of work for a couple of weeks and one time sitting with Junior and Mud and Junior picking up the phone looking for work for me. We had some awesome moments together as friends, He visited my home and invited me to different places. He cared. To me in person he become one of my best friends and was in my if not daily life, weekly life for many months. I had some things go wrong in near the city one day on my own that I was unable to get around and had my low rider stolen on the day and for some months was stuck in a situation near Newcastle. The last time I seen Junior was at Mud’s funeral as he passed away. One evening where I was staying in Toronto near Newcastle of the situation I was in the television was on in the background and it appeared on the television that David Newham know as Junior had been murdered. It was something along that sort of story; but at first I did not realise it was Junior. I think he had mentioned his first name is David to me in a conversation and when we were drawing once but I had forgotten. Of some reasons I did not go to the funeral and I to this day do not know what is really happened, who was where it happened and what sort of is taken place. Still not very good news all these years later to re bring up but and R.I.P. Junior. He mentioned sometimes to me about the martial arts and I know he tried at that and took it seriously.

    • andy on April 30, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Thank you Scott for your heart felt message. He will always be missed. RIP brother.

Leave a Comment