Okinawa Karate

“The ideal of Karate is “to cultivate noble character and conduct, and the virtues of modesty and courtesy.” Grandmaster Shugoro Nakazato, Intangible Cultural Asset, Japan


Sensei Marchtaler with Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato in 2003.

Karate, as it is known today originated in the Ryu Kyu Islands, approximately 500 miles from China, and an equal distance from mainland Japan.   Okinawa Karate was first influenced by visitors from China (late 1300's) and later by the Japanese (early 1600's).  Karate migrated to mainland Japan in the 1920's and from there took many forms.   Translated "Karate" literally means “Empty hand”.

Both Okinawa and Japanese styles of Karate tend to be high commitment, emphasizing blocks, evasions, then counters of hand strikes and kicks.  Training differs widely, but most Karate styles emphasize a fairly equal measure of basic technique training (kihon), sparring (kumite), and forms (kata). Kata are stylized patterns of defense and counters done in sequence for training purposes. In older styles of Karate such as Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan, the Katas represent patterns that allow an individual to practice the movements that can later be transferred to holds & locks, submissions and pressure point manipulations at a higher level.


Originally taught as a self-defense art for the common person, Okinawa Karate promotes many health benefits as well.   Even hundreds of years ago, parents would bring their children to Karate masters to help build confidence, curtail negative behaviour, provide them with a sense of personal security and prepare them for adulthood.   A recent 25 year study of the Okinawa lifestyle revealed that the people of Okinawa live longer than any other group of people on earth.  The study concluded that this was due to a combination of a balanced diet and the practice of Karate. To the Okinawans, Karate and lifestyle are one and the same.   Through regular practice, one not only acquires to skills to defend themselves in any situation, but many people experience increased focus, mental concentration, energy, ability to handle stress, strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, patience and self-confidence.  Many of our students have had life-changing experiences directly related to our programs:

"The changes in my physical well-being have been profound. The stretching we do at the start of each class combined with the physical exertion has helped to lower my blood pressure back into normal range, has built greater strength and endurance, has given me more energy and has motivated me to get back into the kind of daily morning walk that builds up a sweat.  The best news was when I went for my pre-surgery evaluation. I told him about going back into training and how the pain was almost all gone. He checked my mobility range again and was happily surprised. Surgery was no longer necessary, he said. What a relief!  I have always and will continue to advocate the enormous benefits of martial arts training for anyone, at any age.  Sensei Marchtaler’s work with and for his kids’ classes will reap huge benefits for their whole lives. His adult classes help to keep his students not only healthy but to overcome serious health issues.  For me, the delightfully surprising thing is what his classes can also do for older students. I’m 65.”  Solveig Nordwall, Age 65, Artist


Sensei Marchtaler being welcomed to the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan by Kyoshi Pat Haley in 2002.

The Warrior Martial Arts Black Belt designation is one of the most respected Black Belt degrees in Western Canada.  WMA Karate students share a unique lineage to the origin of Karate through Grandmaster Shugoro Nakazato, Kyoshi Pat Haley and the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karate-Do Kyokai and Okinawa Kobudo Kokusai Rengokai.Our style of Okinawa Karate places more emphasis on natural stances, posture, body shifting, hip rotation, and breathing.  We teach Karate techniques through age specific programs in conjunction with the Designed to Move Global Health Strategy, and incorporate a number of personal growth aspects as well.   Approaching instruction from this angle allows us to reach the specific needs of individual age groups as follows:

Little Warriors® (ages 3 to 5)
Kids Karate (ages 6 to 8)
Youth Karate (ages 9 to 12)
Teen Karate (ages 13 to 17)
Adult Karate (ages 18 and up)
Third Age Karate (ages 45 and up)

At Warrior Martial Arts, Karate means more than the practice of an ancient art.  For those who continue beyond Black Belt, it also becomes a way of understanding, experiencing and contributing to life.