West Los Angeles Karate
Rooted in long history and tradition we concentrate on practicing effective Shotokan style karate for both physical, mental and self defense purposes as well as more modern competition style Karate or sport Karate. Our instructors have collectively more than 100 years of experience in the Art of Karate as they each have trained for more than 30 years, and two have trained for more than 40.
The West Los Angeles Karate School has been a Westside community resource since its founding in 1972. Originally founded by George Takahashi of the UCLA Oriental Languages Department.
Currently housed at the Brentwood Youth House on S. Bundy near San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood, and a part of of the Collins & Katz YMCA, the school membership is diverse, comprising students to senior professionals. Present and past members include educators, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, doctors, attorneys, IT professionals, engineers and scientists as well as high school, college and law students.
The school is operated on a non-profit basis. Instructors are all volunteers who share teaching duties while continuing to train themselves. Classes are held Wednesday nights and on Saturday mornings. Visitors are welcome. Beginner and advanced students are welcome.
WHAT WE TEACH
We train and teach Shotokan Karate, the most widespread style of karate. It is a strong style with powerful punches and kicks. Shotokan training is usually divided into three parts: kihon (basics), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring). Techniques in kihon and kata are characterized by deep, long stances that provide stability, enable powerful movements, and strengthen the legs and the entire body.
Practice starts with a warmup of joints and light stretching, followed by basic kihon exercise that gradually expands into more complex and multiple technique combinations as the student progresses in his or her training. Karate training often addresses the practical side of the techniques and how they would apply in real life situations. Emphasis is on effective technique – techniques that would really work in the event one’s life were in danger. Kumite (sparring) is divided into several categories depending on the level of the students. Students start with predetermined attacks and blocks and over time evolve into defending against multiple attacks and eventually to free sparring where the attacks are not predetermined or announced in advance.
Shotokan is a profoundly interesting martial art with a deep cultural memory spanning many centuries. There is a lot to learn, an incredible world of physical and mental challenges for the student who wishes to pursue this path. Students advance over time up to the next belt or kyu until one reaches the black belt or 1st Dan. But achieving black belt, while a huge accomplishment, is actually just another beginning. From there, over time, the student can take on the challenge of training for and reaching another 9 Dan rankings. The world of Shotokan karate opens up even more after the student reaches black belt.
George Takahashi is the founder and chief instructor of the West Los Angeles Karate School. He was born in Idaho, USA and grew up both in the United States and in Japan. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, with a B.A. and an M.A. in Political Science, he taught Japanese language at UCLA full time for twenty years. He has written several articles on Japanese culture, language and the martial arts. He also authored a book entitled "An Adventure in English Language Space: A Key to the Mysteries of Prepositions", published in 1998 by Vantage Press Inc., New York. A second book entitled “Japanese Learning and Teaching: A New Psycho-Logical Approach” was published in 2016 by Xlibris US.
Sensei Takahashi was privileged to train under both Sensei Tsutomu Ohshima and Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama, both of whom were direct pupils of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan. Sensei Takahashi was one of the first American students to be awarded the rank of Shodan in December 1959. He was instrumental in bringing Sensei Nishiyama to Los Angeles in 1961 and was one of his senior students for over a decade at the L.A. Central Dojo.
He and fellow students, including Ray Dalke, Lester Ingber, Frank Smith, Gene Takahasi and James Yabe would all go on to become next generation leaders of Shotokan karate in the United States.In 1972, Sensei Takahashi opened the West Los Angeles Karate School with his brother Sensei Gene Takahashi on Pico and Sepulveda. In 2003, the school relocated to its present location at the Brentwood Youth House.
Sensei Takahashi was awarded an 8th Dan in March 2004 by AFISK (American Federation of Independent Shotokan Karate-do). He was also awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the Ken Studies Institute in 1990 along with the congratulatory letters from George Deukmejian, then Governor of the State of California and Pete Wilson, then U.S. Senator.
We are privileged to benefit from Sensei Takahashi's wisdom, experience, skill and wit, and are proud to call him Sensei.
Contact and Location
Feel free to contact us with the e-mail below. You can also visit us before any of our classes for information and training.
New students can train the first week for free. See class schedule here >
Wednesdays from 8-9:30 pm and Saturdays from 1-3 pm
Collins and Katz Family YMCA
1466 S Westgate Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025
The building has its own parking structure with entrance from S. Westgate Ave. Scan your YMCA membership card to access the parking structure, scan it again for leaving and pay, $2 for 3 hours for YMCA members.