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GLADSTONE’S Zen Chi Ryu martial artists are one step closer to a Japanese expedition after taking out eight state titles at the Australian Martial Arts Championships in Brisbane on Sunday.

Eight members of the dojo have now qualified to compete in November’s national titles in Sydney, where victory would see them qualify for an event in Japan next April.

The group also claimed seven second places and two thirds at the Queensland titles to continue their incredible run of success.

“They’ve had a huge year this year; they’ve probably collected about 50 tournament trophies with a group of about 10 tournament fighters who travel to Brisbane and Sydney, so they’re going really well,” Sensei Peter Reilly said.

“They picked up a Brazilian Jujitsu medal earlier in the year at the Queensland titles, so it’s quite a diverse group at the moment.”

The mixed style tournament pitted combatants from a variety of martial arts against one another and the Zen Chi Ryu brand of street-based self defence proved effective, particularly in the tougher full contact events.

Sam Smith was the only female on deck for the dojo and picked up first place in continuous points sparring, while Jamie Clements, Beau Budak, Carl Tansky and Nathan Tansky all won sparring events against fierce competition.

Shaun Booth was another standout and took first place in both adult freestyle forms and adult freestyle weapons forms.

Reilly said the group would go from strength to strength as they progressed on their Japanese qualifying campaign.

“Our expectation is that the whole group will continue to carry on the form they’ve got,” he said.