Activity for the family

Start and end with respect

Niju Kun #1 – Do not forget that karate begins and ends with a bow

This is the first of 20 precepts of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the Father of Modern-Day Karate. Master
Funakoshi is known by millions of people all around the world and is considered to be one of the three
most important martial art masters of the 20th century.
A bow is a true representation of respect. It is a way to show someone that you see them and properly
accept them. But it is not enough to see someone, you must also show that you accept them properly. A
Karate can help you outbow does this. It shows the person that you see them and accept them for who they are.
A bow is commonly used in eastern cultures but it is not the only way to show respect. In western
cultures respect is shown by greeting someone politely and offering to shake their hand. This lets them
know that you see them and acknowledge their significance. It also tells them that you’re coming in
friendship and that you trust them.
Showing respect to another person can have a huge impact on their lives. It might seem small to you, but
it might be very big for them. Imagine if you shook hands with the President of the United States. You
probably won’t forget it.
Before you can truly respect others, you must respect yourself, otherwise you risk coming across as
insincere. How you look, act, think and speak will indicate how much you respect yourself. If your clothes
Karate helps with Conflict Resolutionare torn and dirty, if you act like you don’t care, if you speak in a crude manner all these things will signal
to the other person that you don’t have a lot of respect for yourself and as a consequence you don’t
respect them.
We share emotions with other people. When someone respects us, we feel good. So, when we respect
ourselves, we feel good. When we respect another person, they feel good. When they feel good, they
respect themselves more.
Life is hard, the more we do to respect ourselves and others the easier life will be for all of us.

Please visit for information about our martial arts school in Santa Rosa, CA!

Benefits of regular practicing martial arts

Benefits of Regularly Practicing Martial Arts

By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA

Martial arts can be seen by outsiders as an aggressive way of life. However, this is far from the truth. Karate is a discipline that boosts a number of good aspects of a disciple’s lifestyle and keeps him or her stable, both – mentally and physically. Moreover, the fact that a person burns a lot of calories during a single karate workout means that it can prove to be a very effective weight-loss program as well.

Karate has come a long way from its origin as a martial art. It is now widely practiced and learnt by people all over the world. People practice it because it provides several health benefits in addition to being a martial art. 

Ideal for stress management 

Although karate originated as a form of self-defense and attack, more and more people are becoming aware of the self-control boosting properties of the discipline. There is significant focus on developing the body and mind to work in perfect harmony. Endurance, general physical fitness and conditioning are the hallmarks of this martial art. 

Stress management is a very important aspect because of the fact that being relaxed and calm is central to the ability of learning various techniques. Martial Arts can teach the art of patience and mind control to a person. Long practice of karate has the potential to train the mind to focus more. Martial Arts has helped many in strengthening their memory, managing their stress and making them more calm and determined as a person.

Karate for cardio and stretching 

Stretching and CardioOne prominent aspect when compared to most other forms of martial arts that you are likely to notice is the fact that pushing or extending movements tend to be much more common than pulling or contractive movements. It promotes whole body movement in order to ensure that the body is in synchronization when it needs to perform the art. 

Calisthenics is a very important aspect of karate when it comes to both, cardio and stretching areas of the martial art. Individuals practicing will experience increased oxygen intake as well as energy levels and a feeling of being significantly rejuvenated. The workout is guaranteed to work up sweat with there being sudden changes in pace of the workout that help further develop the anaerobic aspects of the body.

Martial Arts is a great cardio exercise, meaning that it is great for the health of the heart and blood circulation in general. It is especially useful for people who are old and unable to go to gym or exercise regularly. It greatly helps in weight reduction and in improving fitness of its practitioners.

The stretching movements help to strengthen the muscles of arms and legs. It is a great way to train the body to become stronger and more flexible. 

Martial Arts for self defense 

Self DefenseOriginally developed as a form of self – defense, Karate is a very useful tool to possess in the event you find yourself in a vicious, unprovoked attack. You learn to use the aggressors own weaknesses against him. It is because of this that karate teaches you to remain calm and collected. People that are filled purely with anger or rage during an altercation have their judgment clouded. Students tend to be able to see their opponent’s weakness as a result of their ability to remain calm.  Another aspect of martial arts is the fact that there is a lot of focus on reducing the impact that your opponent’s attacks will have on you. 

Please visit for information about our martial arts school in Santa Rosa, CA!


The ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat but in the perfection of the character of the individual.

Shotokan Karate motto

Learn how Shotokan Karate is changing lives, building character, and creating leaders

The modern world in which we live is complicated and difficult to navigate, especially for our children. Young people today are besieged by messages of violence, greed, and consumerism at every turn. They are encouraged to conform and follow the false promise of pop culture rather than think critically and become leaders.

For parents, the influence of pop culture can be difficult to overcome. How do we teach our children respect for themselves and others? How do we instill self-confidence and self- determination? How do we give them the tools to become leaders?

For three decades Sonoma County Karate Master Marty Callahan, founder of The Shotokan Karate Leadership School, has been doing just that. With a firm but gentle hand, Marty has guided thousands of young people toward achieving excellence in their lives through Shotokan Karate.

As a young man, Marty attended seminary with the goal of becoming a priest. Later he changed paths and attended University of California Riverside, earning a B.A. in psychology.

“I feel what I do is similar to what a priest would do,” says Marty, with a smile. “I act as counselor, psychologist, trainer, and mentor to my students.”

Marty first began studying karate while in college. Having grown up in an abusive home, he was an angry young man interested in learning to fight. The longer he trained, however, the more his focus shifted from fighting to character building and leadership skills.

“Character development became the central focus of my training,” says Marty. “My teachers emphasized fighting, but I was more interested in becoming a better person. I realized that my anger was doing me more harm than good. Karate gave me the confidence to let go of it. I used to be a human ‘doing.’ I became a human ‘being.’ I was, and am, being transformed.”

Marty earned his black belt in Shotokan Karate in 1972 and moved to Santa Rosa, California, in 1981 and opened the Shotokan Karate Leadership School, then called the Academy of Shotokan Karate.

By Jim Brumm

Marty Callahan, Sensei and owner of Shotokan Leadership Institute presents a certificate of advancement to a student

“When I opened my school, I wanted to share what I had gotten from karate with other people, kids and adults,” says Marty.

The Shotokan Karate Leadership School’s name says it all: it’s not about becoming a fighter; it’s about becoming a leader.


Shotokan Karate Leadership SchoolChildren don’t just put on a karate uniform and learn to fight, they learn respect for themselves and others, and are shown the path to realizing the potential hero that resides in us all.

Together with like-minded board members (Shotokan Karate Leadership School is a non-profit organization under the auspices of Shotokan Leadership Institute), Marty has developed a unique and inspiring way to help kids find the potential hero that resides in them all. Knowing that children love stories, they wrote and published a short book that tells the epic story of a young boy named Tiger who suffers from a lack of self- confidence. He has seen other kids being bullied and tormented and it has left him feeling scared, angry and helpless and he wants to do something about it. Through Shotokan karate, Tiger embarks on a great journey encompassing 12 principles of leadership. Along the way he is forced to test himself, overcoming hurdles and

obstacles, each imparting more knowledge and wisdom, and each bringing him closer to becoming a hero.

At Shotokan Karate Leadership School, each student is given a copy of this book, and each undertakes his or her own personal journey to becoming a hero. A huge map depicting Tiger’s mythical world hangs on the wall of the school, allowing each student to track their progress as they follow Tiger’s path toward becoming a hero themselves.

“By taking martial arts training and turning it into a story,” says Marty, “each child can become personally invested in the quest. It captures their imaginations. Kids thrive on stories, games and play; this is a story of leadership and how to gain the qualities of a hero. The kids love becoming part of it. They love the idea of becoming heroes and gaining the respect of their friends and family, and most importantly, themselves.” He pauses, and adds, “Kids want to be heroes; we give them the opportunity to be the hero they were meant to be.”

The results speak for themselves. Over three decades Marty has personally guided over 8,000 students to self- confidence and leadership. According to Marty many have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, contractors, engineers—community leaders.

“Through our program they freed themselves from the self-imposed bonds that might have kept them from success,” says Marty. “We had a student once who was completely out of control, bouncing off the wall. His parents said he had ADHD and could not control his behavior. He wanted to be a hero, and after eighteen months of resisting the program he made the decision to change his behavior. He became a model student, helping others and demonstrating respect and leadership. We take kids who are so shy they won’t look you in the eye, and kids who are

highly aggressive, and we transform them.”

Shotokan Leadership School 2The Shotokan Karate Leadership School currently has five instructors and around 80 students, including children and adults. The program typically takes three to five years to complete, after which students have a new understanding of power and what it means to be a leader in their community, in addition to the confidence that comes from knowing they can defend themselves in a time of crisis. Ironically though, the karate skills learned at the school are intended to prevent fights. A sign outside reads: It’s not about fighting; it’s about not fighting.

Marty grins when he talks about watching his students’ attitudes transform as they move through their program. “I love seeing them go from being kids who are distracted and out of control to young people who are confident, respectful, clear thinking, focused, and compassionate,” he says. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Shotokan Karate Leadership School is located at
3082 Marlow Rd B1 Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (707) 575-1681


3 Popular Martial Art Techniques And How They Enhance Strength SKLS

3 Popular Martial Art Techniques And How They Enhance Strength

By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA

This article is about increasing your strength through three popular martial arts techniques. The techniques are punching and two different kinds of kicks.

People come to martial arts for a number of reasons. Some are attracted to martial arts because they want to learn to defend themselves. Others come because they want to tap into martial arts’ vast power as a tool for personal growth. Still others come merely because they are looking for a way to get in shape that’s fun and spares them the tedious repetitiveness of the gym.

While martial arts can give a student all of these things, it is at its heart, a form of strenuous physical activity. The practice of any martial arts can be an excellent means of becoming leaner, suppler, faster, more flexible and stronger.

Strength Equals Power in Martial Arts

Strength Equals Power in Martial ArtsThis rule holds true in any kicks in martial arts technique. At many martial arts schools, increasing strength is one of the things we focus on. Lifting weights is great but for a martial artist, it’s not desirable to develop a bodybuilder’s physique. Much of the strength training at martial arts facilities is inherent in the techniques itself.

Front Snap Kicks for Core Strength in Martial Arts

All martial arts kicks utilize the muscle groups in the legs, however, many of the kicks they practice also call on core muscle groups like the abdominals and lower back muscles. Practicing martial arts front snap kicks with their high chambering of the knee is a particularly good way of increasing core strength in your abs, while simultaneously strengthening the muscles in your legs.

Punching Your Way to a Stronger Upper Body in Martial Arts

When it comes to punches in martial arts, strength equals speed which equals power; the three are intertwined. So, while a certain amount of weight lifting may help to increase your punching power, similarly, throwing punches in martial arts will help you develop better upper body strength. Working out on the heavy bag, hitting focus pads and other methods of practicing punches are all ways to enhance upper body strength through martial arts technique.

Side Kicks for Lower Body Strength in Martial Arts

Front Snap Kicks for Core Strength in Martial ArtsThe side kick is one of the most immediate and devastating techniques in martial arts. Like a front snap kick in martial arts, side kicks utilize core muscles to some degree. However, side kicks place a greater demand on the lower body than many other martial arts kicks. Practicing side kicks is an excellent way to build greater strength in your legs, hips, and thighs. The hard work you put into building this strength through practicing your kicks in martial arts will pay dividends by translating as power when you unleash that side kick on a target.

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