Dancing with Ghosts

There are other very good karate dojo in Edmonton. What makes the Nantanreikan Seibukan Dojo different? Among other things, its instructors go to Okinawa to train regularly—in 2020, its two most senior black belts traveled there for the fifth time since 2014. Any serious practice of traditional karate-dō cannot be separated from engagement with the culture that created and sustains it, and in Okinawa, karate is much more than a sport or recreation. It is deeply entwined with the ethos of the island and its people. We feel an obligation to keep returning to Okinawa to learn its spirit from the Okinawans who live it.


That ongoing effort in Nantanreikan reflects the other distinguishing feature of the dojo: we seek to bring the knowledge and traditions of Okinawan Seibukan together with those of the Japanese heritage of our chief instructor, Doug Aoki, in the conviction that their convergence offers singular lessons for life in the 21st century. One example is this little film by the brilliant Hayley Gray, shot in an old cemetery on Vancouver Island, where Japanese immigrants buried their dead before all Japanese Canadians on the coast were removed during the Second World War. It is a meditation on death and life, and it will give you a sense of how we in the dojo strive to reflect upon, think about, and articulate the nuances of the way of karate.

(the phrase, “dancing with ghosts” is drawn from Richard Katrovas’ beautiful memoir, The Years of Smashing Bricks)