Cameron designing the logo for Paragon

Paragon’s Origin Story

One bite. A good origin story starts with one bite—usually a radioactive spider.

But for those that knew Sensei Cameron, you’ll know he was not gifted his superpowers. He crafted them himself.

One bite – but not from a radioactive spider. It was instead from a dengue-ridden mosquito. Cameron was too busy to be sick. But oh boy, did he get sick!

Lying on a hospital bed, drip in his arm, the diagnosis of dengue was given. Cameron was 20, in the middle of transferring from Engineering to Physio and had just started his Karate school.  

A common feature of Cameron’s life was his determination. Be it going from a child confined to the kitchen table with a ventilator mask over his face for hours every night due to extreme asthma to becoming an incredible athlete, recovering from a broken back to become a weight lifter or doing a handstand on a beach five years after being told he had six months to live. Cameron was determined!

Too busy to be sick.

Sensei Cameron’s Vision

It was July 1998, and Sempai Cameron Gill could see the direction the current Karate environment was heading.  One focused on money and ego, not on helping students. He wanted more for Karate students. He decided to create change.

Cameron began offering karate lessons to 3 to 6-year-olds in the local kindergarten. He developed his own curriculum and started classes at lightning speed. By the start of the next week, he was teaching his own students. The date was 1st August 1998

His determination and dedication to his students drove him. He had taken the name “Sensei” as a tangible way to demonstrate shifting the focus away from himself, and off the many degrees or ‘Dans’ he held, to become simply “Teacher”—a complete focus on his students.

Paragon’s Beginnings

After the first class was completed, he put all the kindergarten furniture put back in place. (For years after this, he sketched the layout of the room before every so he could replace everything perfectly. This was before phone cameras. Later he would buy a digital camera to get the firetruck’s angle on the teacher’s desk just right!).

With his first class over, he sat down to create a name and a logo for his new school.

The name “Paragon” was suggested by his mum, Val. “A model of excellence” is the meaning and is still the principle that underpins Paragon today.

With the name chosen, next came the logo. He was trained in graphic design in high school and engineering at university (before Physiotherapy), so he took out his drafting board and got creating. In the photo, you can see the first drafts of what would become the famous ‘swoosh’.

And so Paragon was born. We started as a family club. In fact, that was our tagline: “Paragon Martial Arts – a family club”. It was run by family, for families. Our students often consisted of entire families – Mums, Dads, brothers and sisters all training together.

As we continue Sensei Cameron’s Paragon legacy, we do so in the way he envisioned—a school where the community feels like a family, a school that supports each student to become the best they can be. A school where everyone can unlock their inner Superhero.

Happy 25th Birthday Paragon

2 thoughts on “Paragon’s Origin Story”

  1. I have very fond memories of working with Cameron in Early childhood intervention, a truly wonderful person with both children and families. It’s great to see Paragon continue in the vision that Cam created all those years ago.

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