Wado-Kai is a Japanese karate style founded in 1934 by Hironori Otsuka. Wado, meaning “way of harmony”, is one of the four major Japanese karate styles, and is perhaps the purest form of Karate-Do. It is steeped in classical bujutsu (Code of the Samurai) as Mr. Otsuka applied this outlook and experience to his teaching. He rejected hardening certain parts of the body, such as callusing the knuckles of the hand, believing it to be a useless preparation. The aim of Wado-Kai Karate is perfection of technique as well as development of a mind that is tranquil, yet alive. Also the aim is to develop the ability to react intuitively and without hesitation in any situation. The training and concentrated effort required in Wado-Kai helps the student acquire inner strength and calmness of character. Students also learn the virtues of self-control and true humility.
Karate-Do for Mr. Otsuka was primarily a spiritual discipline. In his own words: “Violent action may be understood as the martial arts, but the true meaning of martial arts is to seek and attain the way to peace and harmony”.
Basics such as punching, kicking, blocking, guarding, striking, and joint twisting, as well as pre-arranged and free-style sparring comprise the training foundation of Wado-Kai. Equally emphasized and fundamental to Wado is taisabaki -body shifting to avoid the full brunt of an attack -a technique derived from Japanese swordsmanship.
Wado-Kai Karate is ideal for all body types and age groups due to its versatility. The study of karate is a rewarding and enriching experience.
Sensei Masaru Shintani
Sensei Masaru Shintani was a direct student of Mr. Otsuka, the founder of Wado-Kai Karate. Mr. Shintani has trained in karate for over fifty years and his training has been passed down through his instructors.
Originally, he started karate as a boy in an internment camp for Canadians of Japanese descent. Typical of his character, he changed that nightmare into a blessing. Continuing his studies afterwards, he attained a 3rd degree black belt in Judo, a 1st degree black belt in Aikido, and a 1st degree black belt in Kendo. He attained a 9th degree black belt, the highest rank attainable in Wado-Kai Karate.
In the late 1950’s he competed at the All-Japan Karate-Do Championships, and did very well. It was at this competition that he was noticed by Sensei Otsuka. Mr. Otsuka saw the skill, perseverance, and humility, which is so vital to the study of karate, in the young Shintani. They developed a deep friendship and Masaru Shintani became a student of Sensei Otsuka’s until Sensei Otsuka’s death in 1982. In 1968, Mr. Otsuka appointed Sensei Shintani the head of Wado-Kai in North America.
According to Sensei Shintani: “True Karate can transcend national boundaries. A Canadian need not leave Canada to achieve excellence in the martial arts. Personal drive or determination and perseverance are what make good Karateka out of students.”
The Welland Karate Clubs were founded by Sensei Masaru Shintani in 1968. The first dojo was located at the corner of Duncan and Cozy Streets, and housed not only the Karate Clubs, but the Kudokan Judo Club. In 1971 the Welland Karate Clubs became the Welland YMCA Karate Club when Sensei Shintani affiliated his organization with the Welland Area YMCA. In 1973, due to increased enrollment, the Duncan street Dojo was no longer suitable, so the Karate Clubs and the Judo Club were forced to go their separate ways. The Karate Clubs moved into school gymnasiums and into the YMCA itself. In October 1994, the Clubs came full circle when they again found a permanent home with the Kudokan Judo Club until April 2001.
At present, the Welland Karate Clubs, along with the Kudokan Judo Club are the oldest martial arts clubs in Welland. The Welland Clubs are highly recognized and respected throughout the Wado-Kai Organization in North America.
Sensei Peter Ciolfi (6th Dan) was the Head Instructor of the Welland Wado-Kai Karate Clubs until his unexpected death March 20th, 1997 of cardiovascular complications. He was a true Master in the making. He was active in many committees and was a top competitor, practitioner and teacher in the Shintani Wado-Kai Karate Federation. He was a great friend and is immensely missed by those who knew him. We commemorate our Annual Welland Tournament in his honour and memory.
Sensei Dominic Morabito (6th Dan) was in Wado Kai Karate since 1970, initially learning under the guidance of Sensei Masaru Shintani. Sensei Morabito passed away at the age of 77. He was a great inspiration to us all.
For more information about the Welland Wado-Kai Karate Clubs, please click on the links below.