Learning Guide


Our base system of learning is Shorin Ryu Karate. Karate originated on the island of Okinawa, now a part of Japan. Shorin Ryu is one of the early systems of the art, and is the root of a large number of other modern martial arts ideas. Our "senseis" (teachers) are Rod Brayfindley and all other black belts certified in our system. "Sempai" (one able to guide you further ahead) refers to any person below black belt who is designated as an assistant instructor.

Cross training in arts such as judo, jiu jitsu, kung fu, boxing, wrestling, pancraton, and ketsudo will occur at the discretion of our instructors, many of whom have high level proficiencies in these and other arts.


The belt system is white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, brown, and black (with many degrees). Each belt has a set of very specific required movement patterns called "kata." As you progress through the belts, the early kata that you learned first will continue to be refined. We recommend you build slow kata work into your daily routine. Early on, this can be done in ten minutes or less each day. Later, this will expand with your conditioning, knowledge, and level of enjoyment.


"Sparring" is unscripted practice fighting. We have strict rules about acceptable conduct in sparring and the wearing of appropriate protective gear. Safety and respect are major priorities, and no compromise of these priorities is acceptable in any part of our learning process. Sparring must be done only under supervision of a sensei. Even under supervision, we do not allow striking of the head, hard contact, stomping in any form, or any other behavior deemed aggressive or dangerous to participants. You may learn severe strikes and other aggressive defensive measures, but these are only acceptably practiced in carefullly choreographed "bonkai," under highly protective measures. Some of our programs exclude sparring from training work.


We recommend the wearing of the gi (uniform) and your belt for all karate programs and at all sessions. A t-shirt or halter wear are acceptable under the top. Barefoot is the normal approach to dojo (school) sessions (ask about exceptions). Your preference in underwear is not our concern, other than to suggest for women a sports bra if comfort is enhanced, and for men a cup/jock strap is recommended. ALL students in programs that allow for light contact must bring mouthguards to every session.

Our instructors choose to wear only Shorin Ryu colors at the dojo.


While the Health and Karate Center has an insurance system in place, we insist you follow the Sensei and Sempai carefully to make this the maximal gift to your health in every way. Health and Karate Centers meet on the premises of churches and non-profit agencies. The values of peace, balance, safety,and respect are basic to the practices of these agencies and are nurtured here. Encouragement toward spiritual health is part of the instruction, but is not a part of the testing requirements of the dojo.

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