The JKA of San Francisco Bay is a dojo (school or club) teaching traditional Japanese Shotokan karate-do, in association with the Japan Karate Association, the only karate school recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education, and JKA Shotokan Karate-Do International, a regional affiliate organization founded by Mori Masaka, 9th Dan.
About Traditional Shotokan Karate-Do
Shotokan karate-do, as taught by the JKA, is a precise and powerful martial art in the Japanese tradition. In terms of fitness, karate develops balance, precision, posture, power, speed, and a free and natural movement of the arms and legs, through intense isometric and cardiovascular exercise. For self-defense, it fosters the ability to put the body's entire power into a single punch, strike, kick, or block, improving reaction time and developing tactics for coping with an attacker. Most important is the traditional Japanese concept of "do," or "way," which holds that a martial art should be practiced as a path for self-development, a lifelong personal discipline, rather than merely for exercise or fighting skills.
Karate-do practice has three dimensions: First, kihon (basic techniques), which are the vocabulary of movement and arsenal of attacks and defenses. Power comes from the lower body, requiring low stances and an emphasis on the hips and abdomen in virtually every technique. Second, kata (formal exercises), which are like the classic texts of karate-do. Each one has a name, and a prescribed series of movements as if one were battling multiple opponents coming from different directions. Third, kumite (fighting or sparring). Given the power that advanced students develop, kumite practice is non-contact, with an emphasis on control. Students progress through drills that are gradually more complex and require greater initiative, until they are qualified to practice free-form kumite.
The organizational affiliation of the JKA of San Francisco Bay is a central reason for its existence. The JKA, headquartered in Tokyo, has a storied history as the world's oldest formal karate organization, the flagship school of traditional Shotokan karate-do. It maintains the highest traditions and strictest standards through rigorous training, worldwide standardization, and testing. The JKA of San Francisco Bay was organized under the auspices of the late Mori Masataka, 9th Dan, founder and chief instructor of JKA Shotokan Karate-Do International, and a standing director of the JKA World Federation. His successor, Takahashi Shu, 7th Dan, now serves as chief instructor of the JKA SKDI, to which the JKA of San Francisco Bay belongs.
The JKA of San Francisco Bay's instructor, T.J. Stiles, studied with Mori Sensei in his Manhattan dojo for twenty years, and remained his student for a total of thirty-two years, before Mr. Mori's death in 2018. Mori Sensei built an international reputation for his traditional spirit and methods, and his ability to impart the deeper meaning of karate-do. The JKA of San Francisco Bay exists to preserve and promote that same spirit.
There are other Shotokan and JKA-related or affiliated schools in California's Bay Area. The JKA of San Francisco makes no claim to superior standing, but operates as a direct affiliate of both JKA SKDI and the JKA World Federation.
For more about Sensei Mori's journey and his work: