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Traditional Okinawan Karate in Edmonton

International Okinawan Shōrin-ryū Seibukan Karate-dō Association

国際沖縄少林流聖武館空手道協会

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There is a Chinese proverb that says, “there are many paths to the top of the mountain,” and there are indeed many ways to work on becoming a better human being. Sometimes, though, paths that at first glance look very different turn out to be essentially the same. In this video, Oota Sensei shows that his path through kendō (Japanese fencing) is very much our path through Okinawan karate. We invite anyone interested to join us on the journey.

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Karate-dō 空手道 means “the way of the empty hand.” Usually, people think it's to distinguish it from fighting arts with weapons. That’s true, but there's much more than that.

The concept of emptiness is greatly esteemed in Japanese thought. In our dojo, we strive to embody its multiple meanings, including its often overlooked ethical sense. Training requires we free ourselves of the preconceptions and assumptions which impede us. Prominent among these are prejudices. The emptiness of our karate means the emptying out of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other bigotries.

We’re a small dojo, but we’re a diverse one. Our members come in different colors, sizes, ages, sexualities, gender identifications, cultural backgrounds, religious faiths and spiritualities, and forms of families. New students are large and small, young and old, athletic and unathletic, strong and not-so-strong, supple and inflexible, confident and full of doubts. All are welcome.

Each of us, regardless of our strengths and gifts, arrives with our personal weaknesses and demons. That’s what we work on, with the instruction of our dedicated instructors and the encouragement of other students. We don’t care what kind of body you have when you come to us; we don’t care what insecurities you bring with you. All we care about is that you show up, make the effort, and be open to the traditions and training of the dojo.

All we expect—and demand—is that you show acceptance, respect, kindness, and support to every other person disciplined and brave enough to step onto the floor beside you. All we ask is that you empty yourself of what’s holding you back.

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