Branco Bratich, OAM, 8th Dan Kyoshi, is the Chief Instructor for Yoseikan Ryu Karate Australia. He was appointed this position in 1989 by Teruo Sano. In March 1998 Branco earned one of karate’s greatest honours. He was advised by Sano Sensei 9th Dan, that he had been chosen as his successor. This meant that Branco would eventually inherit the title of World Chief Instructor. It is the first time a western instructor has been awarded this honour over his Japanese counterparts. “I trust Branco”, Sano Sensei said. “He has the ability of getting people to work together and I believe he is capable of leading Yoseikan into the 21 century”. At over 70 years of age I have some concerns about my health”.
Branco Bratich commenced his Martial Arts in 1973. He studied Karate, Aikido and Jujutsu. Branco had a desire to study Martial Arts from an early age; unfortunately the cost of training was beyond his means. His first lesson was with Jan de Jong, who taught an Indonesian style of Martial Art. In 1974 Jan de Jong invited Sensei Yoshiaki Unno, a student of Minoru Mochizuki, to teach in Perth. It was obvious to Branco from the first lesson that Yoseikan Ryu Karate was the style for him. He adapted well to the physically demanding style of training.
In 1978 he opened his first Dojo at the Girrawheen Recreation Centre in Perth. The development of Yoseikan Ryu Karate has not been fast. However, it has been steady, with Branco preferring to expand at a pace that the organisation could handle. Yoseikan Ryu Karate has developed into a nationally respected organisation with many centres in Australia.
Branco Bratich has made a major contribution towards the advancement of the sport of karate in Australia. Apart from his excellent achievement with the State and National Teams, Branco has also achieved an impressive personal record by representing W.A. for 8 years (5 gold & 3 silver medals), representing Australia for 6 years (1 silver & 2 bronze medals), and winning 4th place in the team event at the 1986 World Karate Championships.
In his effort to advance the sport of karate in Australia, he has given a great deal of his time voluntarily in his role as State and National Coach. In 1989 Branco was appointed National Junior Coach for the Australian Junior Team.
As National Junior Coach, he successfully coached the Australian Team to victory at the 1990 Asian Pacific Karate Championships, Indonesia. Australia won the coveted team event, defeating the mighty Japanese Team in the first round. Australia also won two individual gold and two silver medals. In 1992 Branco was appointed National Senior Coach. Once again he coached a history making team. Australia won two individual gold medals at the World Championships in Spain, another first for Australia.
July 1994 was another outstanding year for Branco Bratich and the National Junior Team. Australia won 14 gold, 10 silver and 7 bronze medals at the Junior World Cup in Perth. Yoseikan students Duncan Scott, Cameron Waters, Margaret Berezowski and Hani Zahra won gold medals at these championships. The 1994 senior World Championships in Malaysia produced more excellent results for Australia, one silver and three bronze medals.
In 1995 Western Australia won the National Championships with Branco as the coach. This was a first for West Australia. In the same year Branco coached the National Junior Team at the World Cup in Hungary. Australia won both the junior male and female team events, and two individual gold medals. Yoseikan students Duncan Scott and Matthew Walker won two gold medals, one for the team and one in the individual events.
In 1996 Branco coached another successful junior team at the Junior World Championships in South Africa. Australia won the girls team event and two individual gold medals. Both these medals went to Yoseikan students Kellie Shimmings and Matthew Walker. Kellie Shimmings, along with fellow club member Jessica Bratich, won gold in the team event.
In the same year Branco coached the National Senior Team at the World Championships in South Africa. The team won a bronze medal in the women’s team event and the women’s under 53kgs. Yoseikan student Mark Golding won a silver medal in the men’s 60-65kgs division.
Branco, apart from his technical expertise as a coach, has the special ability to motivate, encourage and bring out the best in an athlete. He is very dedicated and well respected by his peers and competitors. His skill as a coach is now internationally recognised, such that he has been invited to conduct seminars in Kuwait and Malaysia. In 1993 Branco rejected lucrative coaching offers from Taiwan and Kuwait so that he could continue his work in Australia.
Branco was appointed to the World Technical Committee in 1995. He was one of only five people appointed to the committee. Branco declined the position. The appointment was conditional that he resign as National Coach.
Branco’s period as National Coach was without a doubt Australia’s most successful competitive period. In the end Branco tired of the politics associated with the position and finally resigned in 2005 prefering to coach Yoseikan-Ryu’s athletes only. The fact that Jessica Bratich achieved a bronze medal the following year proved once and for all that Branco still had what it takes to produce world class athletes.
Branco Bratich OAM has been teaching karate for over 45 years. His OAM was awarded to him on the 26th January 2017 for his years of dedicated service to the development of karate in Australia.