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What makes us different to all the other karate schools?

Premier karate school in Canberra
We are the only Okinawan Karate-do and Kobudo school with its own purpose-designed and fully-dedicated martial arts facility in not just Gungahlin, but all of Canberra. Our Head Instructor (Kancho) is an internationally qualified instructor who has trained extensively in Okinawa, Japan under the supervision of the style's senior most practitioners. You can take a virtual tour of our dojo here.

Dedicated program for dedicated students
Our dojo is not a commercial school, and while we encourage everyone to enquire about joining and starting martial arts, we only accept those who will be serious and dedicated to their training as students, and are happy to recommend other dojo to you if we are not the appropriate school for you. Students are required to commit to training at least twice per week. Learn more about our adults/teens or kids/family programs on our info pages. We are also a registered non-profit organisation and therefore can ensure quality of our students, as the focus is not on making money.

Qualified and competent instructors
Our dojo ensures that all instructors and assistant instructors have completed a First Aid & CPR course, and also the Australian Sport Commission's Community Coaching General Principles Course. The Head Instructor, Sensei Reece Cummings, holds a Diploma of Sport Coaching (with martial arts as the elective major) and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. In addition, Sensei Reece is also qualified as a coach under the National Sporting Organisation recognised by the Federal Government and Australian Sports Commission, the Australia Karate Federation. Find out more on our Instructors page.

Professional recognition and affiliations
In addition to being an official branch dojo of the Okinawa-based World Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do Association (WMKA), the Cummings Karate Dojo is also a member of the Australian Karate Federation (AKF), the only national governing body of karate in Australia that is recognised and endorsed by the federal government and the Australian Sports Commission. The AKF is a member of the World Karate Federation (WKF). This AKF accreditation also ensures coaches will be practicing instructors who are up-to-date and competent in coaching methodology, delivering a safe, responsible and high standard of coaching to their students in line with their responsibilities and duty of care as a coach.

We are also an Associate Member of the International Ryukyu Karate Research Society (IRKRS) which is an information-based organisation dedicated to studying, the origins, evolution & application-based theories of old-school karate and kobudo; and a member of the Australia Federation of Tradtional Karate (AFTK) which focuses on the preservation of traditional karate throughout Australia by promoting a friendly relationship between members through workshops, seminars, and positive karate ethics.
We teach karate as taught in Okinawa, Japan
We do not practice 'sport karate' and a different approach in discipline and attitude is required to gain the most from the training that we offer - but we also do not stop you entering competitions if this is your desire. If you'd like to know specific information about what you'll learn, see our class info page.

Unique student development opportunities
One of the reasons our dojo is a non-profit association is so that we can give back to our student and instructor base. We have developed a number of student development programs, including:
  • Sport Coaching Courses
  • Soto Deshi Program (Intensive Training Program)
  • Okinawa Experience Scholarship Program
  • Student Development Program/Fund
  • Instructor Development Program/Fund

What is Karate?
Karate-do ('way of the empty hand') is an effective method of self defence that was developed in Okinawa, utilising the hands, elbows, feet, knees and body as a weapon. Our particular style (Matsubayashi-ryu) is one of the main branches and oldest styles still practiced in Okinawa today, and is characterised by natural and snap, or whip-like techniques.

The best way to see whether you would enjoy practicing karate, and to ask any questions, is to come along to watch or participate in a class. We offer a two-week special trial intro period to ensure that our programs are suitable for you.

A continued connection with the highest-ranked instructors in the world
We continue to maintain a strong connection with Okinawa (the birthplace of Karate), and see martial arts as a way to not only physically condition the body - through the act of punching and kicking - but a way to develop character, spirit and heart. Your Karate training should provide a way to become a calmer, dignified, respectful, disciplined and humble person both inside and outside of the dojo.

Our dojo is an official representative of the World Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate-do Association (WMKA), and is under the guidance of the Okinawan Headquarters and President Sensei Yoshitaka Taira, Hanshi 10th Dan; and Vice-President Sensei Toshimitsu Arakaki.

A tried and tested karate style with legitimate lineage
We teach Matsubayashi-ryu (Shorin-ryu) Karate, as founded in 1947 by Osensei Shoshin Nagamine. For many years we were under the guidance of the late Soke Takayoshi Nagamine, Hanshisei 10th Dan, second successor to Matsubayashi-ryu until his passing in 2012. Since then, our dojo and it's Head Instructor continue to receive instruction from Sensei Toshimitsu Arakaki, Hanshi 10th Dan. As students of Sensei Arakaki, we regularly make visits to the dojo in Okinawa, as well as hosting senior Okinawan sensei in Australia. Additionally, our dojo continues under the guidance of Australia's Chief Instructor, Sensei John Carlyle.

A dedicated training facility
The training centre is a purpose-built and fully-dedicated centre modelled after a traditional Okinawan Karate dojo using modern day equipment. It is equipped with various training aids such as punching bags, weights, pads, protective gear, a body-opposition bag and a makiwara. You can take a virtual tour of the centre for a better look.

In summary, here is why our dojo is the premier school for Okinawan Karate in Canberra:
  1. Our instructor trains regularly in Okinawa with Matsubayashi-ryu's most senior teachers, ensuring that you (the student) will learn correct techniques
  2. Shorin-ryu is one of the oldest, and most original styles of Okinawan Karate-do
  3. We are a official branch dojo of the World Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do Association and the Matsubayashi-ryu Karate Association of Australia
  4. Our dojo looks in-depth at kata bunkai (analysis of kata) and its oyo (applications) for realistic self-defence purposes
  5. We focus on precision and effectiveness over 'karate for show'
  6. We have separate classes for adults, children and families
  7. We aim to develop not only your physical ability (through punching and kicking) but to provide avenues to develop all aspects of your life through martial arts
  8. We adhere to the same etiquette (reishiki) as dojo in Okinawa, Japan

Many dojo also have a 'dojo kun' (dojo rules). While we do not have a formal set of dojo kun, our dojo tries to follow the five principles that are taught in Matsubayashi-ryu:
  1. Live in accordance with the principles of nature
  2. Thoroughly study movement, with the aim of becoming functional
  3. Learn from your, and others experiences
  4. Strive for a sense of history and culture
  5. Know what you can do, and what you can learn from the art of karate

Sensei Reece is the Head Instructor (Kancho) for the Kodokan Matsubayashi-ryu Cummings Karate Dojo and the Director & Chairman of the Centre for Martial Arts & Human Development. For more information on Sensei Reece please see the instructors page.

Our dojo aims to traditional martial arts for the modern world through developing two key aspects:

  1. Mind: through mental robustness, confidence / character development and discipline
  2. Body: through physical conditioning, reflex / co-ordination development and practical self-defence skills

While accidents and injuries are rare in the dojo, due to a strictly controlled and supervised environment, all instructors and assistant instructors have current Senior First Aid qualifications. Additionally, the Centre, it's instructors, and it's students are fully covered under its comprehensive Sports insurance policy.

Additionally, our dojo is part of a Canberra-based Karate study group of various traditional dojo in the ACT region that train together every 2-3 months. The aim of this group is to study Karate in an open-minded environment, and share our knowledge. This group gives students the chance to experience the wider world of Karate and martial arts.