Shotokan Karate of America (SKA) is the non-profit organization with which our dojo is affiliated. Tsutomu Ohshima is the founder of SKA and many other international Shotokan organizations. Ohshima Sensei’s branch of the Shotokan world has become known as Shotokan Ohshima Karate.
Ohshima Sensei’s distinguished association with Shotokan karate began at Waseda University, beginning in 1948. While he was there he trained directly under the Shotokan style’s founder, Gichin Funakoshi, and became captain of the Waseda University Karate Club. In 1952 Ohshima Sensei invented the judging system still used in modern day tournaments to make them less violent for public audiences than previous exhibitions in Japan. However, for students wishing to participate, he cautions that tournaments should not be viewed as an expression of true karate itself.
In 1955, Ohshima Sensei left Japan for Los Angeles, CA to continue his studies at University of Southern California. He led his first U.S. karate practice in 1956, later founding the first university karate club in the U.S. at Caltech in 1957 and the Southern California Karate Association in 1959.
Ohshima Sensei’s black belt instructors founded many other dojos across the country, thus the organization was incorporated as Shotokan Karate of America in 1969. The organization is still headquartered in Los Angeles and the main Shotokan Ohshima Dojo was built on the hills of Santa Barbara, CA and opened in 2000.