Northern Karate Schools have a roster that includes hundreds of certified black belt instructors who teach with guidance of NKS Directors.
All NKS Directors are full-time, professional martial arts educators, and while they boast impressive rankings and titles, every senior member of our team regards him/herself as a student, training regularly with the humble, passionate heart of a beginner.
Several also have degrees in education, medicine/physical therapy, business, language or marketing, but their real ‘schooling’ has been practicing, researching and teaching martial arts for decades. They also excel at MBWA (Management by Walking Around), and take a hands-on approach to refining every aspect of school management daily, driven by a single-minded commitment to excellence and honouring NKS’ mission: provide the best martial arts and life skills education.
We could write a book, several, about how much Hanshi Cezar Borkowski loves martial arts and what he’s done for combative sports for more than 50 years (he knew what he wanted to be when he was 9-years old). We could impress you with his rankings (he’s a 10th Degree Black Belt in Karate Do and 9th Degree Black Belt in Kobudo) and titles – he was inducted into the Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2011, is the International Director of the Ryu Kyu No Kaze Society, and Director of Karate for the World Kobudo Federation (all of which is a big deal if you’re proudly Canadian, fascinated by traditional karate and kobudo, or interested in the world’s largest, multidiscipline martial arts organization). FYI, he’s a certified Master Instructor (All Okinawan Karate-do Federation, Japan) – this is huge. His competitive record is wow-worthy: Six-time Canadian Champion and Rated # 1 by NASKA and PKL. We could tell you that Hanshi is generous and likes to share, particularly martial arts skills, and that’s he’s trained many champions, and was voted Instructor of the Year (OKC and NBBL) and Coach of the Year (Martial Arts Magazine).
Hanshi’s a genuine “Bu Bun” (Japanese lesson: “martial and scholar”) guy, so when he’s not kicking and punching, he’s really into research and writing, books and articles like “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Martial Arts”, “The History and Traditions of Okinawan Martial Arts”, and print and digital pieces for several international publications. We could also let you know that he appreciates all media and that in addition to being on both sides of the camera, as technical adviser, director, and talent – he is featured in The Winning Point and Kobudo Weapons series. His other pastimes are reading, traveling (with his wife), cooking, and studying Asian language. While most people take vacations from work, he takes them for work, practicing karate and kobudo in Okinawa, Muay Thai in Bangkok, Silat in Singapore, Bakti Negara in Bali, and BJJ in NYC.
Whether developing a unique curriculum or whipping up a delicious meal, he has a rare gift for combining the best ‘ingredients’. Beyond these amazing credentials and accomplishments, what we really want you to know is that he’s an incredibly gifted teacher, one who would rather show you than tell you why something works. He’s crazy passionate about what he does and what students get out of their practice. His knowledge of all martial arts is encyclopedic (that means he knows a lot about them) but he’s not stuffy. He’s a terrific educator and motivator – whether teaching an energetic 5-year beginner, a teen or adult black belt, one of his many international guests, or a group of 20…or 200. Most importantly, Hanshi Borkowski is the heart and soul of Northern Karate Schools.
P.S. In spite of these achievements, he’d never brag and tell you this stuff – so we did.
Kyoshi LaSelva launched his martial arts journey more than forty years ago. Describing him as “passionate” would be an understatement. He’s an ardent practitioner, teacher and researcher who hasn’t met a martial art he doesn’t like (he’s explored so many styles that we’ve lost count). He’s an 8th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan (ok, if you want to impress your friends, you could say dan because this is the Japanese word for rank).
Kyoshi currently directs one of the most-respected and fastest growing martial arts schools in North America (now that’s impressive). He also oversees several community programs taught throughout the Richmond Hill school system. A dynamo in the dojo (Japanese Lesson: “school”), at international events and even on the music scene (ssshhhhh – like other super heroes he has a secret identity – read on), he’s frequently (as in always), described as a force of nature (think monsoon meets hurricane). He’s got ‘pedigree’, certification from the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karatedo Federation. He travels….lots, instructs abroad…lots….and when not hitting things (bags, pads or an unlucky partner), he hits the road – putting pedal-to-the-pavement as a cyclist, or pedal-to-the-metal as a car enthusiast.
Kyoshi loves spending time with his wife and partner (Shihan Dori LaSelva a 6th Degree Black Belt) and his two children, and three dogs. As the “Voice of NKS”, he knows his way around the business-end of a microphone, and sometimes trades-in karate ‘heavy metal’ (weapons, that is) for the rock-and-roll type as the front-man for up-and-coming band Ugly Melon.
Kyoshi Manzo’s introduction to martial arts was a ‘happy accident’ when a fellow-student at university brought her to a karate class. Four decades later, her relationship with the martial arts and this friend are stronger than ever. She’s got “parchment”: a 1st Degree Black Belt from NYC Master Toyataro Miyazaki (he’s famous), and certification from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate-Do Federation, Japan (big-time organizations). In addition to an 8th Degree Black Belt, she has a B.A. in Communications and Marketing, and worked in advertising and sports marketing before heading up NKS’ Hombu dojo (Japanese Lesson: “central school”).
Kyoshi has practiced a variety of martial arts and yoga styles (and occasionally confuses kiai and om), and she cross-trains – a lot – all of which has helped her create programs like Cardio Combat® and Budo Bliss®. As for medals, trophies and shiny hardware, she won truckloads. She was among the NASKA’s top-ten female competitors and voted Female Black Belt Competitor by the U.S. Shotokai Association and Ontario Karate Circuit.
Kyoshi was inducted into the World Registry of Black Belts Hall of Fame and named a Woman on the Move by the Toronto Sun (to those who’ve dubbed her the NKS “Energizer Bunny”, she’s always been ‘a woman on the move’). FYI – she was the first female inducted into the Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame two years ago. Kyoshi has written books and articles, is a featured performer at international events, on TV programs and tapes. She hates airports – and turbulence, but loves travelling, especially with her husband, Cezar Borkowski. Little known fact: she can eat her bodyweight in chocolate.
Kyoshi (a.k.a. Mr. Zen) has been fascinated by all martial arts for over forty years and has the documents to prove it: an 8th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate-Do Federation, Japan (these are serious….SERIOUS organizations), and a B.Sc. from UofT. He’s one of a handful of students who were founding members of Northern Karate Schools in the 1970s, and while their ‘club’ was small – everything else was big (hair, sideburns, platform shoes and bellbottoms). He also has a degree from UofT but we’re not sure if he spent more time studying or boxing on the Varsity team…or playing house league basketball…and football. He’s a ‘needler’. This doesn’t mean he’s annoying. He’s a certified acupuncturist. He’s also a card-carrying member of the Ontario Association of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, so it probably won’t surprise you that he’s a firm believer in keeping it ‘natural’ – as in healing. Kyoshi travels, teaches and performs throughout North America, Europe and Asia (we’re relieved he keeps his passport updated). He was a formidable (translation: scary!) competitor, a ‘triple threat’ (crushing it in forms, sparring and weapons divisions), top-ten rated by Karate Illustrated Magazine and voted Male Black Belt Competitor by the Ontario Karate Circuit. When he’s not wearing his gi and obi (Japanese lesson: “uniform and belt”), he cross-trains, reads, does volunteer work in his community, spends time with his daughters…and plays guitar (ok, “plays” might be a stretch….but again, he’s Mr. Zen). He is also convinced that chocolate is one of the four major food-groups and the Three Stooges represent high comedy.
It’s difficult to imagine NKS’ resident “samurai” (Japanese lesson: “warrior”), Kyoshi Simonetta as an 8-year old beginning his karate training in 1975. Four years later, he made history, as the youngest student to receive a 1st Degree Black Belt from his former teacher. He was featured in the local press, and while undoubtedly hounded by Woodbridge paparazzi, he remained ever-humble (ok, maybe his head swelled a little). With more than forty years under his 7th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan, he has an impressive track-record inside and outside the dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”). Kyoshi left his life as an architect in the rearview mirror and moved full-steam-ahead as a director of one of NKS’ longest-standing dojo. He recently travelled to Okinawa where he and NKS’ Elite Team trained with some of the world’s most respected martial arts masters. They also did our nation ‘proud’ competing at the World Kobudo Championships, bringing the heat to the Ryu Kyuan archipelago (it was August and seriously hot and humid). Like all NKS seniors, even after decades of training, Kyoshi practices with the enthusiasm of a beginner and is looking forward to discovering more about the martial arts and sharing NKS’ life-changing benefits with students (we know…that sounds kinda new-agey, but it’s true, so we left it in). His other passions are fishing, woodworking (eat your heart out Ikea – he can hammer a 2×4, or splinter it with his shin), as well as spending time with his wife, Diana, and daughter, both of whom are black belt members of the NKS team (there’s a lot of that at Northern Karate – families that kick together and stick together).
Kyoshi Vona began kicking and punching in 1974 (maybe earlier…we haven’t seen a sonogram), and over the past forty plus years, has researched and practiced a multitude of martial arts. He has an 8th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan. He’s also very into different styles of karate (Japanese lesson: “empty hand”), kobudo (Japanese lesson: “weapons” or “ancient martial way”), and jiu-jitsu (although it took him some time, and painful research, to figure out that “Brazilian” was a term also used outside beauty salons). Additionally, like Vladimir Putin, he has an appreciation for judo (Japanese lesson: “soft/gentle way”). Taking the same full-contact approach he uses in creating the world’s-most-delicious-pasta-sauce, Kyoshi is famous for combining things on the mat – this makes him one of our most dynamic and popular Combat Veritas® (MMA) teachers. He’s a busy guy and directs two schools (including one of our newest locations in Woodbridge). In addition to his impressive workload at the dojo (Japanese lesson “school”), he’s imbedded in the community teaching Bully Proof® and Reality Check® programs in local private and public schools. He’s a featured martial arts instructor at events north and south of the border (unless and until there’s a fence keeping him out), in Europe (where his “Café Cos” is legendary) and Asia. NKS’ resident bon vivant (a little French for Canada’s bilingual community), Kyoshi also enjoys taking road trips with his two children and wife (4th Degree Black Belt, Lucy Vona) in search of the perfect burger, pizza or risotto (what we describe as National Lampoon’s “Vacation” meets “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”). Stay tuned. Their culinary quest continues.
Kyoshi Walsh immigrated to Canada from England to train at Northern Karate Schools. Nope – that’s a fib. He came to Toronto in 1979, did other stuff for three years and happily (for both him and us), began training at NKS in 1982. He has papers…and more papers…an 8th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan. He also has a Bachelor of Education and an Ontario Teaching Certificate (although he doesn’t carry them around with him). Kyoshi loves ‘the arts’ – whether of the martial or musical variety – and is highly accomplished at both. He’s blissed-out when kicking and punching, or swinging weapons… fast, or slowing things down with Chi Gung and Tai Chi (in addition to 35 years practicing karate and kobudo, he’s an avid Chinese-stylist). Beyond the dojo, he’s big on music nights, sampling sake and beer, and travelling (something he does for both business and pleasure). He has conducted field research in Asia, Europe and North America and is a featured instructor at international events, and has appeared on television programs and martial arts videotapes. What doesn’t he like? Bullies! So much so, that he has combined his martial arts and teaching expertise to create Bully Proof® (a program that delivers real world advice to children and families in the GTA). He also knows how to read and write extremely well, and together with Hanshi Cezar Borkowski, has co-authored several magazine articles and edited the “History and Traditions of Okinawan Martial Arts”. Kyoshi is mega-happy when teaching students (big and small) and preparing more black belts to lead NKS forward. He’s also mega-happy spending time with his wife and two children, and riding anything on two wheels…with or without an engine.
After more than three decades as a student and teacher at NKS’ Midtown school, Kyoshi Servello has major ‘sweat equity’ at Northern Karate. He’s featured in martial arts tapes and instructional materials and has performed, competed and taught in Canada and Europe. He and his brother (yes –another keep-it-in-the-family NKS team) are starring members of Northern Karate’s International Demo Crew. Like other elite senior teachers, his passport was stamped in Okinawa in 2009, where he received a 6th Degree Black Belt from Tetsuhiro Hokama, President of the All Okinawan Karate Do Federation (Hokama is a famous martial arts master, budo historian and founder of the Okinawan Karate Museum). Kyoshi is even more honoured that Hanshi Borkowski presented his belt at Shuri Castle (for karate people, this is THE place to celebrate advanced rank graduation). Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International and the World Kobudo Federation awarded him the same rank, and in 2017, he was promoted to Kyoshi. In addition to lightning-fast kicks, devastating self-defense moves and a movie-star smile, he has a business degree – all of which come in handy directing Hombu dojo (Japanese lesson: “central school”) – because it has a great rep and it’s been around a long time, and like Okinawa (the birthplace of karate) NKS Midtown is the ‘birthplace’ of Northern Karate. His extra-curricular activities include spending time with his wife (Frances) family and friends, cars, motorcycles, cooking and cross-training (fyi – he’s NKS’ Kettlebell King).
Kyoshi Vinagreiro is a born fighter (no, not “Bourne” like Jason, but “born” as in a feisty infant). His doctors knew he had a heart defect that required open-heart surgery at eighteen months old. What they couldn’t know is that instead of growing up frail, his parents would enroll him at Northern Karate and more than three decades later, he would become the skillful, healthy and super-fit martial artist he is today (we know…this sounds like the plot-line for some made-for-Netflix drama, but it’s 100% true). He has a B.E. from Western and an Ontario Teaching Certificate (he’s a smart guy). He’s really into travelling and has studied and taught (academics and martial arts) abroad – he received a 6th Degree Black Belt from All Okinawan Karate Do Federation Headmaster Tetsuhiro Hokama in the birthplace of karate, Okinawa. Additionally, he’s a 6th Degree Black Belt with Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International and the World Kobudo Federation, and in 2017, was promoted to Kyoshi. He lived and taught in London (England, not Ontario), before opening one of NKS’ most successful schools in Markham. Kyoshi is a multidimensional person: in addition to martial arts practice and cross training, he likes poetry (although there’s still some debate as to whether the pen is mightier than the sword). He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Agnes (she manages their business) and their son, hiking, biking and fishing around the world.
Over 30 years, Kyoshi Moscone has progressed from student to teacher to school director (unlike other martial arts organizations, we don’t have ‘freelancers’ – our senior team have trained with us for decades). At tournaments throughout North America, he, his sister and brother were “The First Family of Martial Arts”. They won over a thousand trophies (their family did a lot of dusting), and as members of NKS’ award-winning demo team, appeared at live events, in photos and videos (check-out the pic of Kyoshi and other NKS demo crew with Jackie Chan!). He’s also taught and performed in Europe. During a training and research trip to Okinawa (karate’s ‘cradle’), he received a 6th Degree Black Belt from Master Tetsuhiro Hokama (he’s legendary) on behalf of the All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, with a second graduation ceremony at Shuri Castle (also legendary). He holds the same rank with Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International and the World Kobudo Federation, was inducted into the Eastern Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and in 2017, was promoted to Kyoshi. He has a B.Sc. in Kinesiology with specialized honours in Sport Therapy and combines his martial arts expertise and academic background to keep things fresh – Kyoshi’s conditioning classes are wild. Outside of his school (literally, ‘outside’ because he loves nature), Kyoshi travels, cross-trains and loves hanging out with his wife (Natalie’s a 3rd Degree Black Belt and chiropractor), two sons (Kyoshi has designed their outstanding t-shirt and onesie collection), family and friends.
Shihan Barrett is a 6th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan (big-time organizations). In addition to nearly a quarter-century at Northern Karate Schools, he has trained, instructed and performed overseas, including two years studying karate and kobudo (Japanese lesson: “empty hand and weapons”) while teaching English in Japan. He has credentials…and then some: a B.A. in English Literature and Japanese Studies and B.E. OISE (Teachers College) from UoT. After graduating from university and teaching in high schools throughout the GTA and further afield, he moved away from academia and toward NKS, as a Co-Director of NKS Midtown and more recently, Director of our newest branch in High Park. A bonafide Japanophile (that means he’s truly interested in all things Japanese), he’s fluent in the language and knows a lot about the history, culture and philosophy of the Land of the Rising Sun – enough to contribute to translations of martial arts articles and books and serving as translator for Okinawan and mainland Japanese dignitaries. Beyond his role at NKS Midtown and High Park locations, he directs NKS’ Personal Best Success System, an off-site lunchtime program that has raised more than $100,000 to date for local schools. He also enjoys reading, travelling, spending quality time with his wife (Nozomi-san) and daughter….and sampling great sake and beer.
With more than a quarter-century under his 6th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan (wow), Shihan Christie has studied a variety of martial arts over the past two decades and holds a deep and abiding respect for all. In addition to his impressive karate and kobudo (Japanese lesson: “empty hand and weapons”) diploma and awards, he holds a National Coaching Certificate with a specialization in elite sports and athletics. Add to this his background as a professional life coach and you’ve got a fail-proof recipe for motivation and empowerment. “You can do it” is Shihan’s mantra and his message – and he leads by example. His fierce martial spirit and clean combative style are hidden beneath an easy-going, affable attitude. He’s a serious karateka (Japanese lesson: “karate student”) and a nice guy. Shihan’s technical talents and people skills have enabled him to expand NKS Ajax into one of our most vibrant dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”). He loves to teach – whether instructing a child’s first introductory class, energizing an intermediate group of teens, or taking advanced adult students and black belts through their paces, he’s ‘on’. Outside the dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”), Shihan enjoys cross-training, sports, reading, travelling and spending time with his wife (Roxanne) and their two children.
He immigrated to Canada from France in 1995 with his Master’s of International Business Administration. He spent several year traveling the world for business using his foreign language skills. After a successful career in the corporate world in technology, Shihan Fernandez decided to use his 30 years of Martial art training to give back to the community by teaching martial art to families and schools. A 5th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan, Shihan Fernandez has been training with the Northern Karate Team for over 20 years. He’s a skilled and passionate instructor, who strives to link the art of Karate training with real life martial applications. A teacher at heart, Shihan Fernandez loves to give back to students what he learnt from Hanshi Cezar Borkowski, the senior staff at Northern Karate Schools as well as the different martial art seminar he attends. When not teaching, he spends his time with his 3 children and would not mind going on a long motorcycle tour if time allows.
A member of the Northern Karate family for more than 25 years, Shihan Kerr is an instructor who’s much in-demand (translation: people really want to train with her) inside and outside her dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”). Her 6th Degree Black Belt is recognized by Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan. In addition to teaching classes at one of NKS’ ‘youngest’ and most successful schools, Shihan conducts karate and personal protection courses for local elementary and secondary schools, fitness organizations and community groups. Her expertise includes NKS’ unique programs, like Bully Proof® and Reality Check®, as well as women’s self-defense and empowerment workshops. She lives and breathes this role as an outstanding female martial artist, professional educator, business owner, wife and mother. In support of our diverse curriculum and her goal – to provide optimum, cutting-edge training for NKS students – Shihan cross-trains and practices Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and South East Asian martial arts. Her paperwork? In addition to her beautiful karate diploma, she’s a Certified Personal Trainer who skillfully combines her martial and fitness skills in Cardio Combat® classes that are highly popular, highly challenging and highly fun! Other things she finds highly fun? Spending time with her husband (and business partner, Sensei Vito) and their children, whether in familiar Maple, or more exotic ports of call.
After graduating from one of Northern Karate’s school/community programs, Shihan LaSelva began training at NKS twenty-five years ago, and is one of our most popular instructors and performers. She holds a 6th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan (yikes!). She’s great at kata, kumite and kobudo (Japanese lesson: “forms, sparring and weapons”). Shihan’s classes – especially her high-octane Cardio Combat® workshops – are packed with students of all ranks and ages. She brings the same level of sweat and intensity to her yoga practice and is famous (or, infamous?) for fusing Moksha with martial arts. Ask anyone – there’s only one thing more daunting than making it through one of her challenging (we mean really challenging) sessions – preparing for the next one. Did we mention that she’s also into cross-training? We’ve nicknamed her Spider Samurai, and with her super-human strength and flexibility, she could join Cirque du Soleil. Shihan’s also a passionate business owner. Twenty years ago, she and her husband (Kyoshi Tony LaSelva) co-founded NKS Richmond Hill, and the dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”) has continued to flourish with them at the helm. Wait. We’re not done yet – she’s a skillful cook, our trend-guru and a devoted mother of two (both her son and daughter teach at NKS). Shihan and the LaSelvas love training, travelling and spending time en famille (we thought it would be nice and p.c. to recognize Canada’s bilingual community so we added a little French).
Jamaican-born Shihan Lewis has been training in martial arts at NKS for over 30 years. In fact, he’s one of the founding-members of NKS’ Don Mills dojo. He’s got skills…lots of them, especially with classical martial arts weapons like bo, sai, tonfa, nunchaku, kama and eiku (Japanese lesson: “staff, truncheon, baton, flail, sickle and oar”). This soft-spoken 6th Degree Black Belt, from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan, is armed but not dangerous. Shihan is a super-popular NKS teacher – so much so, that he instructs at two locations (NKS Don Mills and Mississauga). He has trained and taught in Canada and Asia (he’s made the trek to Okinawa, the birthplace of karate). When he’s not hitting, kicking or swinging things, he can be found travelling with his wife and their two daughters.
For more than a quarter-century, Shihan Manalo has been practicing and teaching at Northern Karate Schools. He holds a 6th Degree Black Belt with Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan. He loves, loves, LOVES instructing – from preschoolers to seniors and beginners to black belts. Like all NKS directors, martial arts are his passion and his profession, and because training has given him so much, he’s driven to share his skills with others (good guy = good karma). In addition to his remarkable karate and kobudo skills (Japanese lesson: “empty hand and weapons”), he’s a gifted grappler (cross-training in BJJ and submission wrestling). With Northern Karate’s innovative curriculum, there’s ample opportunity for Shihan to blend his stand-up and ground game. Shihan’s brother, two sisters, son and step-son are vital members of his keep-it-in-the-family NKS dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”) team. We should must mention his wife and business partner (Renshi Kim, a 4th Degree Black Belt). She’s a hardworking martial arts school owner, teacher…and mother of six (yes, SIX!), so if she can find time to train, everyone can! This tightly-knit clan enjoys spending time together inside, and outside, the dojo.
Shihan Villar is a 6th Degree Black Belt with Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan. He’s been a member of the NKS family for more than thirty years. He’s fiercely proud of his Northern Karate background and recently competed with our Elite Team at the World Kobudo Championships in Okinawa. He’s also equally enamored of his heritage and has trained in the Filipino Martial Art, Arnis. He’s as good at this as he is at karate and holds world titles in the World Escrima Kali Arnis Federation. He’s enriched NKS’ vast curriculum by incorporating stick-defense into classes, workshops and demonstrations. Shihan came to NKS as a 10-year old and as so many of our senior staff, what was once his hobby became a profession, and now, a career. He and Kyoshi Walsh are co-owners and the driving force behind one of NKS’ longest-running schools in Don Mills. They’re also fast friends (fast as in close vs “speedy”). In addition to a passion for martial arts, they share an interest in music, although Shihan prefers ‘spinning’ to playing. He’s a talented DJ and ‘mixer’ – at the turntable and in the dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”) – with playlists that take NKS performances to a new (and often loud) level. He’s also a fantastic father and husband, and boasts some serious cred in the kitchen.
After three decades at Northern Karate Schools as a student and part-time instructor, Shihan Chung traded in his badge and uniform for a gi and obi (Japanese lesson: “uniform and belt”). He left life as a Metro Police Constable behind and moved forward into a career at NKS, swapping the front seat of a squad car for the helm of our Rutherford dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”) where he co-directs one of our most successful large schools with Kyoshi Vona. His 5th Degree Black Belt, drive for martial excellence, experience in law enforcement and B.A. in Psychology (York University) have prepared him for his new role (particularly the psych degree). His rank is certified by Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, Japan (big-time organizations). He loves to train and he loves to teach. Even as a senior instructor and director with thirty years’ experience, he also loves NKS’ challenging curriculum as he learns more about martial arts every day. What else does he love? Non-dojo time with his wife and business partner, Renshi Daniela (an amazing teacher and 5th Degree Black Belt, she’s Kyoshi Simonetta’s sister – we definitely keep things in the family), their 2 children and dog, Cooper.
Shihan Toupin, a 5th Degree Black Belt from Seishinkan Karate Kobudo International, the World Kobudo Federation and All Okinawan Karate Do Federation, has been a proud member of the Northern Karate Team since the mid-1990s. Shihan is an energetic karate and kobudo (Japanese lesson: “empty hand and weapons”) student and teacher. He’s famous for analyzing martial minutia, and is prone to examining the fine points of every kata (Japanese lesson: “form” – did you know that the single and plural forms are identical?). This eye for detail has made him a gifted practitioner and exacting instructor (translation: he demands a lot from himself and works hard to bring out the best in our students). In addition to teaching dynamic classes at our Aurora dojo (Japanese lesson: “school”) and training and performing internationally, Shihan is committed to contributing locally. He runs self-defense and martial-themed programs in public and private schools in the Aurora area, including Northern Karate Schools’ community initiative, NKSPBSS. In his non-dojo life, he’s on the tennis court, watching films, playing billiards and trying to remain upright on in-line skates (good news – our curriculum features breakfalls). You’ll also find him enjoying time with his wife and business partner (Sensei Charity, a 2nd Degree Black Belt) and their children.