Our Dojo of the Month March is the Rio Grande Valley Shotokan Karate Club (RGV) located in Harlingen, at the lower tip of Texas, USA. Jeremiah Walker, Director of the club, wrote us a convincing application especially focusing on the family and philanthropic activities of the club. Thus, we let you take part in what convinced us the most in the following short portrait.
The RGV was found in 2004 and is a charter club by the SKIF. It regularly vistis seminar with instructors like Manabu Murakami and Fumitoshi Kanazawa on a regular basis. All their Dan ranks are tested by them.
Head of the SKIF-USA Board of Directors, Ruben Fung, travels to Harlingen area twice a year to help us adhere to guidelines of SKIF. This strong connection to the SKIF shall lead to the maintenance of a high level of technical skills.
What us also convinced, that the RGV should become the Dojo of the Month March, was their approach to inclusiveness and social aspects of the club. According to Jeremiah the Dojo has “various levels, ages, and even styles … that train together.” For instance, they offer “an open mat” session “where we have a good relationship with other martial artists in our area and either cross train or work on focus points of our Shotokan curriculum.”
The Dojo also offers additional cross training and outdoor fitness training. They also participate in 5k runs together. Very convincing for us was the “family kickboxing day on Saturdays. Here, Jeremiah explains, “some of our members bring family to sweat and learn some striking skills to help get their family more active.” We appreciate this family kickboxing day because it offers a joint activity for families. This can be an adventure and leads to shared experiences. It also opens a low-threshold gateway to martial arts in general and Shotokan in particular. However, while not all family members may want to take part in Shotokan classes, they still become related to the Dojo and the community.
But most importantly for us, the RGV also participates in local philanthropy activities like beach clean-ups, public library summer events, and reforestation projects. For Jeremiah it is important “to help our younger members develop a sense of giving back and community.” Such activities cannot be overrated. They build character, lead to mutual understanding, and bring the Dojo, its members, and Shotokan closer to the community and society. As grand master Funakoshi wrote in his 3. principle:
空手は義の補け (Hitotsu, karate wa, gi no tasuke) = Karate stands on the side of justice.
This does not stop to count behind the exit of the Dojo. It has to be carried into society. Oss!