The Berkeley YMCA, Shotokan Karate group was founded in 1995 by Martin Cullenward, Michael Merlander, and Amor Adams under the guidance of the late godan, Daniel Chemla. Our dojo is currently lead by Alex Gitelman, a third degree black belt student 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.
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 at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA.
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 ($75 for the remainder of the year). 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.
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