When a confrontation on the basketball court threatened to spill into the car park, the reality of Vaughan King's situation began to set in.
Undersized and with no fighting skills to draw on, he quickly realised he may have bitten off more than he can chew.
Luckily he escaped the encounter, but the experience prompted a decision.
"I remember thinking how big the guy was, and then I realised I didn't know how to defend myself," he recalled.
"I went to a party a few nights later and I friend of mine told me he was a green belt in karate. He said why don't you come down and that was it."
36-years later, King is one of the longest serving members of the Ballarat Karate Club. And last month he achieved the senior master rank of fifth degree black belt and fifth dan in traditional Okinawan weaponry.
The rare achievement places him among some of the highest ranked karate practitioners in Australia. As well as someone you would certainly never want to meet in a car park.
"It was satisfying," he said
"It was the end result of a number of years, it's not like an exam, you just have to show that you're worthy of the belt."
King studied for two years in preparation for his grading which he undertook on June 22. Held over the course of an afternoon, the 60-year-old undertook a range of hand and weapons exercises before engaging in one-on-one combat.
"We have a range of weapons from bows and nunchuks, and you perform kata techniques with those, then you practice with someone attacking you," he said.
"In some styles you get a grading if you train for a certain period of time. In our style it's based only on performance and ability."
The achievement marked the culmination of 56 years of work for King, but he insists his training is far from complete. He said karate is a discipline which you practice all your life.
Grandmaster black belt Barry Packham, who was part of the grading panel during King's grading, said King was one of only five people to successfully achieve the rank in the club's 54-year history.
He said it was a thrill to be able to pass King, describing him as worthy of the achievement.
"It was a fulfillment of a great deal of work, Vaughn is an incredibly dedicated person and just about every lunch time you find him in here training five days a week which is spectacular," he said.