About Kenshikai Karate

Black Belt Class at the Vanderbilt Kenshikai Dojo, 4/30/2015

Black Belt Class at the Vanderbilt Kenshikai Dojo, 4/30/2015

Our Philosophy

Kenshikai means "the association of wise people," because its members strive to become wiser through the study of karate. The virtue of wisdom embraces a variety of essential attributes: respect, humility, honor, ethics, sincerity, love, and compassion, among many others. From these flow trust, obedience, self-discipline, and good judgment. These qualities allow us to improve ourselves but also the well-being of others. The practice of karate gives us endless opportunities to cultivate these qualities in ourselves, but we should carry them to every part of our lives.

Wisdom comes with experience. We must apply ourselves sincerely and try our hardest every day, and be open to the lessons that each experience holds. Over time we can come to understand how all things are connected and how to maintain the correct balance between the conflicting forces around us. We should see the uniqueness of each person and situation: 30 years of experience should bring 30 years-worth of lessons, not just the same lessons learned 30 times over.

Through the pursuit of wisdom through karate, we hope to achieve a quiet mind that can help us in every endeavor.

Our Goal

To achieve the physical and mental growth of our students. We are looking for highly motivated men and women who are interested in improving themselves. In Kenshikai Karate the competition is with yourself and not with others. We are not concerned with whether you are better than someone else in class. Our goal is that each day when you leave class, you are a little better off mentally and physically than when you came. We provide you with the program, supervision, and environment that will allow you to realize your full potential.


In addition to regular weekly classes, we join together for other events that allow everyone in Kenshikai Karate to celebrate our community of training, friendship and mutual improvement.

  • Summer Camp — Our annual weekend getaway to the country for training outdoors, relaxation in nature and fun.

  • Beach Training — An annual session of outdoor training and summertime fun on Jones Beach.

  • Anniversary Celebration — A dinner party with entertainment that commemorates when Shuseki Shihan Leighton began teaching at the Vanderbilt YMCA.

  • Holiday Celebration — A December dinner with entertainment for relaxing and looking back on the past year.

  • Black Belt Clinic — A special training session only for Black Belt students, for review of material and refinement of technique.

  • Women’s Clinic — A special training session in which senior Black Belt women lead a class for empowering women students.