Martial arts has always been a huge part of my life. I can remember having an overwhelming fascination with the arts from a very young age. This is what probably prompted my mother to enrol me in Karate classes in 1988 – at the age of 9. To this day I still feel very fortunate to have been a member of Sensei Phillips’ Karate Dojo, located on King St. in Whitby Ontario. There were a number of Karate schools (as well as Judo, etc.) in Whitby, but there was something different about Sensei Phillips’ Dojo. There was a very real feeling of respect for the art – Sensei Phillips approached his training in a very traditional, methodical and detailed way – it was almost as if he was truly in touch with the ways of the masters. While always maintaing the upmost respect for the teachings of the original masters – the Dojo also worked diligently to advance the field of Shorin-ryu. We were constantly working towards more powerful technique, more efficient striking, better breathing – no detail was too small. Over the course of 20 years, the Dojo grew in size and became its own community. Sensei Phillips always maintained a personal, hands-on approach to his training. I felt very privileged to be a part of what I considered to be a very exclusive Dojo.
I continued my training through out my childhood and into adulthood. Of course, life sometimes has a way of taking a student away from formal training (e.g., College), but my dedication to the art never wavered. Martial arts has played a role in all aspects of my life and I follow the ‘way’ to this day – whether inside, or outside the dojo.
Pennell’s Karate dojo is a tribute to not only the original masters but also to the dojo in which I trained in throughout my life. Training under Sensei Phillips was such a positive experience in my life and I consider it my duty to pass on what I learned. Karate training is so much more than learning technique. It’s a way of life. It’s using your discipline to face the challenges we all face. It’s always treating people in a manor which you want to be treated. It’s participating in the development of your community. It’s creating and maintaining life long relationships. Through both physical and mental development, we hope to develop our technique and honor those who have trained before us, as well as those who will train after us.
Deciding to enrol in Martial arts training is a huge decision. The art is a life-long pursuit, and can come with it’s own series of challenges and rewards. It has had an overwhelmingly positive impact in my life and it can have the same impact in yours.