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History of Valley Shotokan

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Valley Shotokan Members

In the summer of 1971, Bruce Kanegai and Christopher Hunt formed the CSUN Shotokan Karate Club. Shortly afterwards, Bruce was given a grant to study art in France and Christopher and Steve Robins inherited the leadership of the group. All three founders had trained at Santa Monica Dojo when it was located on 20th St., near Olympic Ave.. The tradition of Santa Monica Dojo found new roots in the San Fernando Valley, the fifth largest city in the United States.

Practice was held twice weekly at the university and once a week off campus. Practices were held in over twenty different locations, outside the collegiate setting, during the first twenty-six years of our existence. Despite low enthusiasm from the university, the club always found a way to persevere.

Miraculously, a permanent dojo site was found in 1997. It was a two unit bungalow building that possessed an alley-like entrance behind a dental office with ample night parking that would give us a traditional looking dojo…a mix between Santa Monica and Melrose dojo. The building was remodeled, including a practice floor that could accommodate over ten people per practice, a lobby, dressing rooms and an adjoining restroom. Not perfect, but leagues ahead of where we came from.

We set up shop, so to speak, by declaring ourselves a non-profit business and establishing a set of administrative guidelines, class schedules and teaching assignments, as well as methods to attract new members. In 1998, we celebrated our first year as an official dojo.

To date, close to thirty men and women have made Shodan (first degree black belt) and beyond. Two of the seven people who attained Sandan (third degree black belt) are slated to take the Yodan (fourth degree black belt) test in summer 2007. Together the four senior instructors at Valley Shotokan (myself, Steve Robins, Robert Nersessian and Jeff Honick) have over 100 years of experience in training and teaching combined. With an active kids program and a growing brown belt class we have an average of over twenty-five people joining the dojo per year. Currently, we have five adult and two junior classes per week. Mr. Ohshima has taught five times throughout the years, at both the college and the dojo, respectively