About Karate at Berkeley Finn Hall
This dojo has started as The Berkeley YMCA Shotokan Karate and was founded in the 1990s by Martin Cullenward, Michael Merlander, and Amor Adams under the guidance of the late godan, Daniel Chemla. Our dojo is currently lead by Spergon Hunt and Alex Gitelman, both third degree black belt students of Tsutomu Ohshima, founder of Shotokan Karate of America.
Our members enjoy a direct link to the ancient Japanese masters of martial arts through Mr. Ohshima who is a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate.
We strive to strengthen our body, mind, and spirit through our practice and to faithfully transmit the art to future generations.
Benefits of Practicing Karate
Karate can be practiced by people of all ages for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, physical conditioning, and mental fortitude. No special equipment is required.
Karate helps to strengthen focus, develop courage, fortitude, and the ability to achieve goals. The physical training helps improve balance, motor control, efficiency of movement, control of breath, and overall health. Our practice also emphasizes spiritual values of courtesy, integrity, humility, and self-control.
We are always glad to have newcomers join our practice.
Joining is easy – just visit any of our practices! There is no charge to observe or to practice with us once or twice. After that, if you decide to stay, you must join Shotokan Karate of America ($100 for the remainder of the year) as well as a monthly dojo fee. As a member of SKA you will be able to attend any SKA regional, national, and international event open to your rank, and you’ll be able to test for rank twice per year at no charge. Black belt testing is also free, but by invitation only.
Shotokan Karate of America
Shotokan Karate of America (SKA) is a nonprofit organization teaching traditional karate-do in the United States since 1956 (most Americans had never even heard of karate in 1956). Because of SKA’s strong resolve to offer high-quality martial arts to the public, SKA has remained non-commercial, non-profit, and continues to offer authentic, traditional martial arts instruction at affordable rates under the direction and leadership of Mr. Tsutomu Ohshima, founder, through more than 140 dojos across the United States and Canada with affiliates worldwide. In 2018, Ohshima Sensei appointed a shihan for each national affiliate. Jim Sagawa was named SKA Shihan. Jim retired in Feb, 2020 and John Teramoto was named Shihan.
To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.” – Master Gichin Funakoshi