The top 10 karate classes in Toronto
Karate in Toronto is widespread throughout the city. There are numerous schools and classes that offer a variety of different karate styles depending on your preference, or how hardcore you want to get. You can work your way up to a black belt, or just have some fun and break a sweat. So go ahead, get karate choppin', young grasshopper.
Here are my picks for the top karate schools and classes in Toronto.
Silver Spirit Karate Club
At Silver Spirit Karate Club you'll be able to practice the traditional Shotokan Karate. Shotokan is divided into three parts: kihon (the basics), kata (patterns of moves), and kumite (sparring). As part of the program, you may sometimes get taken on field trips or have a special guest instructor to keep things interesting. The club's classes take place inside a church on Donlands near the Danforth, so you if you happen to get an extra painful karate chop, you may want to muffle your curses so a certain someone doesn't hear you.
With an outstanding 12 locations around the GTA (most of them north of the 401), Northern Karate's schools aim to make you realize your true potential while affecting your mind, body and spirit. The karate classes - with a Quick Start program for the beginning stages of your journey - will help increase your strength, stability, and cardiovascular system. You can join their novice, intermediate (black belt), or advanced (masters) program, depending on your skill level.
Located on the Danforth between Greenwood and Donlands, Danforth Karate is for all age groups from little peewees to adults. Their Master Instructor Shihan Gord Davis has been practicing martial arts since the age of ten, received his black belt all the way back in 1975, and now bestows his wisdom upon his students at this facility. If you want to learn from someone who has truly dedicated his life to karate - this is the place to go.
Japan Martial Arts Centre
Claiming to have one of the highest number of black belts in the city, Japan Martial Arts Centre on Broadview Ave, north of the Danforth, is the place to be if gaining a belt is your ultimate goal. Their chief instructor, Kancho Takemasa, is a 10th Dan (Dan is a ranking system depicting level of expertise) - one of the highest rankings you can have. So you'll definitely be learning under the best as they teach you karate, judo, aikido, jujitsu, kenjitsu, and fighting with weapons.
Toronto Goju Ryu Karate
Toronto Goju Ryu Karate is the place to learn the specific Goju Ryu Karate technique. This martial art includes strikes, joint manipulation, throws and pressure points (imagine subduing an attacker by merely knowing where to put pressure!). Their classes take place at the O.I.P Dance Centre on Richmond near Jarvis and for those who rather not have white-robed rugrats running around, this place is for those 18 and older only.
Toronto Kyokushinkai Karate
Located in the Upper Beaches, Toronto Kyokushinkai Karate is another place to try when wanting to learn a specific karate trade. Kyokushin Karate is traditional in its training methods and beliefs and is great for discipline (send your kids!), strength and coordination - kinda like yoga for fighters (ha!). You still get a great work out in and can drop by this place to observe any class or try one out for free.
Ki Karate School
North York's Ki Karate School is where all ages and belts can come and learn martial arts mixed with yoga. At almost 8000 sq. ft., this facility shares its space with Rhythm Dance Studio - so there may be an activity everyone in your family can enjoy, all in one place. School director Shri Keth Singh successfully brings together physical conditioning and spiritual well-being. All together now: ommm.
The owner and head coach of Contact Kicks, Sensei Steve Fogarasi, has had over 20 years' experience teaching karate and placed numerous times in worldwide karate competitions - in case you wanted a goal to strive for. The facility, located near York University, offers three types of programs: karate kyokushin, kickboxing and jiu jitsu - for when you want to mix up your workouts from just straight up karate. They offer fun classes for kids and a more vigorous workout for adults.
DeSantos Premier Martial Arts
This gym, located near the Beaches, focuses on karate and tae kwon do. While many of the facilities on this list are owned or founded by men, Desantos Premier Martial Arts is owned and operated by one badass chick, 6th degree black belt Veronica DeSantos. She was the first woman to be inducted into the North American Martial Arts Hall of Fame - so ladies, this is definitely a place to be inspired!
Cold Mountain School of Martial and Healing Arts
This place will heal your mind, body, and spirit - and get you in fighting ready condition. Cold Mountain School of Martial and Healing Arts, located just north of Leslieville, combines three different practices into one discipline. Here you'll be able to train in the art of Uechi-ryu karate, Qigong (which is like a standing, slow moving meditation), and traditional meditation. If you're looking for a place to de-stress, this is it.
Did I miss any? Leave your favourite karate gym in Toronto in the comments.
Writing by Chynna Wilson.
Photo by Simon Ip in the blogTO Flickr pool
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