Karate-do; A noble martial art.

Karate means ‘Empty Hand’ and is sometimes referred to as Karate-do, (The Way of the Empty Hand).  Karate was developed in Okinawa where it served as a self-defense for use against thieves and marauders.  At the time Karate was not just empty hands – it also included the use of weapons such as the quarter staff and rice flails.  From Okinawa, the system was introduced to Japan in the early 1920’s by a school teacher named Gichin Funakoshi.  Other Okinawan masters followed him over and introduced their own styles of practice.  The Japanese themselves modified some of the Okinawan styles with the result that there are now many different styles throughout the world.  The style of Shotokan is by far the largest of these.

Modern-day Karate is almost entirely a blocking and striking system, using high energy kicks, punches, strikes and blocks.  Training consists of three parts.  The first, being basic technique (Kihon), in which the class forms lines and advances up and down the training hall (Dojo) practicing their fundamental techniques.  Secondly, there is formation training (Kata).  This is the name given to an extended series of combination techniques that represent symbolic defense against multiple assailants.  The third and final part of Karate training is sparring (Kumite).  There are many parts to kumite, starting with the basic attacks and defenses leading up to the very advanced.  The most advanced form of Kumite is free-fighting (Jiyu-Kumite), and although it is called ‘free’, it still has a strict set of rules that the students must abide by.  There is also Competition Karate (Kata and Kumite), but participation in Competition Karate is an optional element.

“Karate-Do is a noble martial art, and the reader can rest assured that those who take pride in breaking boards or smashing tiles, or who boast of being able to perform outlandish feats like stripping flesh or plucking out ribs, really know nothing about Karate. They are playing around in the leaves and branches of a great tree, without the slightest concept of the trunk.” -Gichin Funakoshi, Founder, Shotokan Karate-Do

Our History – Mukin Shori Dojo

The Dojo where we (Sensei Jan and Sensei Jeff) originally earned our Shodan (First Degree Black Belt) began to stray from traditional teachings, so we decided to begin our own Dojo to pursue a place where we could continue to train hard and pass on traditional Shotokan Karate.  We founded our Dojo a little over ten years ago and chose the name Mukin Shori, which means “The way to success has no shortcuts.” -Tanaka.

As our Dojo grew in popularity and class size, we outgrew several other locations before coming to the YMCA about a year and a half ago. It’s been a great match to be associated with the Springfield YMCA. We offer special rates for Y members and family friendly rates for those without Y memberships. Sei Shin Kai literally means Body, Mind and Spirit, which is like the mission of the YMCA. We have many families that train together and strive to teach each student at their level now and push them to be their best.

We have about 20-25 active students currently with over 50% achieving an advanced rank of Brown belt and above. In our ten years, we have trained seven 1st degree black belts and four additional to 2nd degree black belt and higher rank.  Our students regularly take 1st and 2nd in various tournaments where the excellence of their training shines in comparison to other schools. We have students from other schools join our Dojo after seeing the excellence of the training they receive at Mukin Shori SSKI-USA.