Shuseki Shihan Leighton Barker

Shuseki Shihan Leighton breaking baseball bats and more in competition.

Shuseki Shihan Leighton Barker, one of the founders of Kenshikai Karate, is a 7th Degree Black Belt with decades of accomplishment in the study and practice of traditional Japanese-style karate.

At the early age of 13 in his home of Kingston, Jamaica, Leighton Barker began training in Kyokushinkai Karate under the immediate supervision of Sensei Errol Lyn. By the time he was 17, he had become the youngest student in Jamaica ever to earn the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Seido Karate. To continue his training directly with Seido Karate's founder, Kaicho (Grandmaster) Tadashi Nakamura, he eventually immigrated to New York City.

Shuseki Shihan Leighton demonstrating a kata.

Shuseki Shihan Leighton demonstrating a kata.

In September 1994, at the request of Kaicho Nakamura, then-Sensei Leighton took over the leadership of the Vanderbilt YMCA Seido Karate program, which at that time was small and had no senior Black Belt students. Under his guidance, Karate at the Vanderbilt flourished, rapidly expanding the number of involved students and deepening their commitment.

Shuseki Shihan Leighton, currently a 7th Degree Black Belt, received his 6th Degree Black Belt in Seido Karate in April 2001. Later that year, he withdrew from Seido and co-founded Kenshikai Karate.

Throughout his career in Karate, Shuseki Shihan Leighton has repeatedly been a tournament champion in both kumite (free fighting) and breaking divisions. (A powerful shin kick through two baseball bats became one of his signature breaks, as you can see in the video above). In addition, he is a frequent participant in demonstrations of difficult breaking and weapons techniques. However, teaching remains one of the most important and rewarding parts of Karate for Shuseki Shihan Leighton. He is dedicated to helping students nurture the strengths of mind, body and spirit that Kenshikai Karate can build.