Online Seminars


Another busy month, full of opportunity! Especially October 25th, International Karate Day!
During September our online seminars in karate, kobudo and Okinawa sumo have been very popular and so we have lined up a fantastic roster for October too, featuring some of the best Okinawan teachers. Thank you for your support and participation and I hope you can join us for the following events:
EVERY FRIDAY in OCT 20:30-21:30 JST: Karate kumite technique class with Toguchi Mineo sensei.
Former full contact karate champion of Okinawa teaches application of traditional karate for full contact kumite. Contact Asato Dojo or James Pankiewicz via Messenger for details.
View a sample class here on our Youtube channel
SATURDAY, 3 OCT 2020 FROM 20:00-22:00 EDT, SUNDAY 4 8:00 AM JST: Hokama Tetsuhiro sensei – Suparinpei Kata, bunkai, oyowaza
SATURDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2020 FROM 10:00-12:00 AM JST: Kyan Toru Sensei – Introduction to Okinawa Kempo (Naihanchi and Seisan kata and bunkai)
SUNDAY 18 OCTOBER 2020 FROM 10:00-12:00 AM JST: Nakasone Koichi sensei – Shuri-te bunkai for the Pinan kata series PART 3 (Pinan Sandan, Yondan, Godan kata and bunkai)
Sunday 25 OCT, 9 AM JST: 100 Kata for Karate Day Challenge event.
A kata demonstration event open to all styles and dojos, that has become a global celebration of Okinawa martial arts – ‘Karate Day’ in Okinawa. Please join us for the Challenge from your home, dojo or outside location for the 7th 100 Karate Kata Challenge.
This event will be live streamed on Facebook.
All seminars will be available live on Zoom and for download/viewing afterwards.
Follow Asato Dojo and James Pankiewicz for updates and invites.
Stay positive and keep up your training! Be well everybody.

Every week in SEPTEMBER we ran seminars featuring some of the best Okinawan teachers.
Saturday Aug 29th, 8 AM JST: Arakaki Toshimitsu sensei – Matsubayashiryu karate kata and bunkai (Naihanchi shodan kata+…)
Sunday Sept 6th, 10 PM JST: Nakasone Koichi sensei – Shuri-te bunkai for the Pinan kata series
Saturday Sept 12th, 8 AM JST: Arakaki Toshimitsu sensei – Matsubayashiryu bo kata and kumi-bo (2 person sets)

Sunday Sept 13th, 9 AM JST: Hokama Tetsuhiro sensei – exploration of Mura-bo and Kumi-bo from Okinawa

Sunday , Sept 20th, 17:00-19:00: Nagamine Bunshiro senseiIntroduction to Okinawa Sumo for karateka

We are making some of these seminar recordings available for access. Please contact us for details.

Follow Asato Dojo and James Pankiewicz on Facebook for updates and invites.

Seishin Okinawa Edition Dogi – on sale now at Asato Dojo

This unique gi is  available at the Asato Dojo and karate goods store in Okinawa

The Okinawa Edition Seishin dogi is a truly superior dogi produced in colloboration with Asato Dojo Kancho James Pankiewicz who asked for a Seishin dogi specifically engineered for the hot and humid training environment of Okinawa, the birthplace of karate. In response Jesse Enkamp, founder of Seishin International came up with a fantastic product that features reinforced durability, improved sweat distribution and Zen-like design making the Okinawa Edition perfect for traditional karate.

“Finally a gi that doesn’t stick to my skin!”


  • The 300 g/m2 premium blend of 48% cotton and 52% polyester provides a perfect mix of comfort, durability & snap.
  • Authentic Japanese bleach makes the canvas stay white for years – instead of turning grey or yellow.
  • Soft mesh with Okinawa kanji inside the back of the jacket for added comfort and improved sweat absorption.
  • The famous Seishin HW [high waist] pants provides effortless mobility in deep stances and high kicks.
  • Free from organization, association and federation labels (e.g. WKF).
  • Includes Seishin neck embroidery and no chest embroidery.
  • As seen in this day-in-the-life vlog by Jesse Enkamp (‘The Karate Nerd’).
  • Care instructions: Optimally wash below 30 degrees, no tumble dry, flat dry, Do not use bleach/solvents.
  • Shrinkage: 2-3%

Retail price at Asato Dojo store – 20,000 yen

The Asato Dojo Karate Goods Store also stocks the Seishin Original Dogi, Seishin t-shirts (6500 yen) and the Seishin bag (15,000 yen).

Asato Dojo celebrates first anniversary and remembers the highlights of 2018

The Asato Dojo opened its doors on January 7th 2018 for the first time and a year on we look back at what a wonderful year its been. We have been blessed with the support and friendship of so many here in Okinawa and overseas in the karate community. Its hard to express how grateful we are for your enthusiasm to support our new dojo.

We opened the Asato Dojo to be both a traditional karate and kobudo dojo (for Matsubayashiryu karate practice under the guidance of Arakaki Toshimitsu Hanshi) and to also offer complimentary practices to facilitate learning, fitness and health such as other fighting arts, yoga, etc. The dojo also offers a great location for visiting instructors to hold seminars and we have been very lucky to feature a number of exceptional teachers here during 2018. More on those below. In particular we are very fortunate to have a close relationship with Yoshida Naotsugu Sifu of Long Fist Praying Mantis style kung fu who designated the Asato Dojo his branch dojo in Okinawa in 2018. Yoshida Sifu is Okinawan but spent his adult life in Taiwan specifically to learn Praying Mantis. He visits Okinawa often and teaches at Asato Dojo. Praying Mantis and Shorin-ryu karate share common roots in northern style Chinese fighting arts.

And also with Hubert Laenen sensei, founder of Koryu Karate Jutsu Jissen Ryu and student of Motobu Ryu Bujutsu Moide under Shiroma Seihan sensei and Yagi Isao sensei. Hubert sensei has also very kindly invited Asato Dojo as a member of his organisation which actively researches the links between traditional fighting arts in Okinawa such as karate and Motobu Udundi and those in China and other Asian countries.

Seminars and visits to the Asato Dojo in 2018

Here is a summary of events at the Asato Dojo in the last 12 months. We have had so many guests and visitors it is hard to list everyone so please forgive the many omissions. Rest assured, you have not been forgotten!

January – Opening Day included kata demonstrations by Arakaki Toshimitsu Hanshi and Arakaki Dojo members, Yoshida Sifu, Laenen Sensei, Higa Manabu sensei and Josh Simmers sensei of Okinawa Kempo. In attendance were over 100 people including Hokama Tetsuhiro Sensei, Higa Masaharu sensei, Matsuda Hiromasa Hanshi, Gaja Takehiro Hanshi, Yagi Isao Hanshi, Akamine Hiroshi Hanshi and many other Okinawan practitioners and friends. In the following week Laenen sensei taught a series of special classes at the dojo.

February – JAL/JTA portal added Asato Dojo to its Okinawa Experiences portal offering inbound passengers on JAL/JTA an option to take a karate class at our dojo.

March – Both James Pankiewicz (Asato Dojo kancho) and Becka Tedder (Assistant Instructor) competed in the local qualifier for the 1st Okinawan Karate International Tournament.

April – 100 Kobudo Kata Challenge was undertaken by seniors and juniors at Sogenjidori Park, near the dojo. 100 repetitions of Shiromatsu-no-kun kata (bo kata) successfully completed by all.

May – Wing Chun and Eskrima classes started with Alessandro Febbo sensei. James Kancho and Becka Sensei completed the Taiwan Beast Race mountain trail run.

June – Adult and junior dojo members performed a karate and kobudo demonstration at the Peace Park in Itoman as part of the the Irei-no-Hi annual events. Yoshida Sifu taught a Praying Mantis seminar at Asato Dojo. James Kancho and Becka Sensei completed in the Ryukyukan Karate Tournament, full contact kumite.

July – Asato Dojo Fitness Club team competes in the Night Run relay race at Onoyamakoen (2 teams). Jesse Enkamp Sensei taught a seminar on Naihanchi Flow Drills at Asato Dojo.

August – 1st Okinawan Karate International Tournament held in Naha. Asato Dojo hosted several international participants for training in preparation for the tournament including Jesse Enkamp of . Following the tournament James and Becka took several international groups on karate history tours and beach BBQ & training days.

October – Greg Linquist Tasshi of Ryu-Te taught a series of special classes at Asato Dojo showing the techniques of his late teacher Oyata Seiyu. Peter Polander, also of Ryu-te, also brought a group of students to visit the dojo and taught a guest class. We are extremely grateful to both instructors and their senior students for sharing an insight on Oyata sensei’s fighting art. Aikido classes begin at the dojo under Sylvian Darocourt Shihan. Chris Denwood Sensei taught an excellent seminar on Naihanchi kata at the dojo and introduced his new book Naihanchi Volume 2. His students attended both karate and kobudo classes at the dojo. On October 25th the Asato Dojo led an international group of 60 participants in the 100 Kata for Karate Day Challenge event at Naminoue Shrine Park and Beach. All participants completed the challenge. On the following weekend Asato Dojo seniors and juniors joined 3000+ local karateka on Kokusaidori for a karate kata demonstration event to mark Karate Day in Okinawa. James Kancho and Becka sensei completed the Ultra Maokong mountain trail race in Taipei.

November – Arakaki Kyoshi sensei of Musokai Karate taught a seminar on Naihanchi kata at Asato Dojo. Yagi Isao Hanshi of Motobu Ryu Bujutsu Moide taught a series of seminars on Motobu-ryu technique. Hubert Laenen Kyoshi also taught a number of classes on Koryu Karate Jissen ryu applications and principles. John Burke sensei, visited from the UK with his students, taught a seminar on various bunkai methods. His group also went to Toyosaki Beach to train with Toguchi Mineo Sensei, former Okinawan kumite champion and resident kumite teacher at Asato Dojo. Patrick McCarthy Hanshi of the IRKRS visited Asato Dojo and taught a seminar to an international group arranged by James Kancho at Senegajima Park. McCarthy Hanshi very kindly gifted a hand written copy of Matsumura Sokon’s Precepts on the Seven Virtues of Bu. This unique gift is mounted on the Asato Dojo wall.

December – Asato Dojo holds the first karate testing day for junior students. All those taking the test pass and progress from 10th kyu (lowest) to 5th kyu (highest). Well done to all our juniors who have progressed so well in only a matter of months. Ulf Karlsson Sensei taught a series of seminars on Kishimoto-di karate at Asato Dojo. We are extremely grateful to Karlsson Sensei for his generous teaching of a rare Okinawan fighting art school. KNX18, the international karate seminar series, came to Okinawa and Asato Dojo was very proud to be the local partner alongside JAL for this hugely popular event, created by Jesse Enkamp. KNX18 featured a prestigious line up of Okinawan instructors (Uechi Kanji sensei, Kuba Yoshio Sensei, Nakasone Koiichi sensei, Yoshida Naotsugu Sifu). Participants also took part in additional training and seminar opportunities at Asato Dojo before and after KNX. This includes a seminar on Isshinryu Karate taught by Andy Sloane Sensei, Praying Mantis king fu by Yoshida Sifu and “Toshi-Koshi-Keiko” (end of year/new year training) with James Kancho.

Article author: James Pankiewicz, founder of the Asato Dojo and The DOJO Bar in Okinawa

Asato Dojo receives prestigious “Dojo of the Year 2018” Award

The Asato Dojo is only 1 year old today but we have already been recognised and awarded for our achievements by one of the leading karate practitioners and scholars in the worldwide karate community, Patrick McCarthy Hanshi, founder of the International Ryukyu Karate Research Society. We are extremely grateful to McCarthy Hanshi for his support and encouragement, and will strive to continue to deliver an excellent and progressive learning environment for our students and visitors, in the spirit of this award.

We would also like to extend our congratulations to all our fellow recipients of Honour Roll Awards this year. Many are close friends and all exemplary role models richly deserving of this recognition for their contribution to fighting arts practice and human progress.

McCarthy Hanshi wrote in his announcement of this year’s awards:

“2018 ~ The 23rd Annual IRKRS Honour Roll Award Recipients


Congratulations, you’ve been nominated and inducted into the 2018 23rd annual IRKRS Honour Roll.

Your wonderful contributions have not gone unnoticed and we believe that your dedication to the fighting arts, and continual efforts to study, preserve and promote its practice, history and values, has been exemplary. The journey for each of us has not been without significant discipline, sacrifice and failure, and yet it is through adversity that we truly grow both inside and out. Ralph Waldo Emerson is remember for having said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” I like to think that much of our collective journey is about better understanding this and I’m honoured to be associated with you.

Breaking down walls that divide and building roads and bridges, the IRKRS boldly took an ambitious step in 1988 by being the first to blaze a new and unique path upon which to unite like-minded learners in pursuit of common goals, irrespective of style or political affiliation. In the years that followed we built a strong following, received widespread support, international accolades and a sterling reputation for unreservedly serving our alumni, empowering learners, celebrating personal achievement and camaraderie through this wonderful art. In 1996 we initiated the Honour Roll in an effort to recognise individuals whose exceptional dedication, commitment and contributions to the art of Karate, influence, inspire and touch the lives of so many.

It is my great privilege to announce this year’s annual IRKRS Honour Roll award recipients of which you are included:

  • The Kinjo Hiroshi Humanitarian Award ~ Michelle Vanderlinden-Enfield, USA
  • Lifetime Achievement Award ~ Meredith Gold, USA
  • IRKRS Ambassador Award ~ Delia Piralli, Italy
  • Person of the Year Award ~ Brett Hall, NZ [Posthumously]
  • Dojo Award ~ Asato Dojo & James Pankiewicz, Japan
  • Special Recognition ~ Miguel Da Luz, Japan
  • Kurofune Award ~ Joe Swift, Japan
  • Writer of the Year ~ Christian Bellina, Austria
  • Instructor of the Year ~ Josh Stewart, Canada
  • Yudansha of the Year ~ Manu Winter, Germany
  • Mudansha of the Year ~ Kenneth Urrutia, USA
  • Innovator Award ~ Adette Rice, Canada

On behalf of the IRKRS I’d like to congratulate and wish you the best of luck in your continued efforts. The fighting arts condition the body, cultivate the mind and nurture the spirit, in an effort to improve health, its holistic purpose; be better prepared to protect oneself, its defensive application; build moral character, its social aim; discover and overcome the source human weakness; its philosophical nature; and finally, to know inner-peace, its spiritual essence.

“Blessed are they who have learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate”

Have a glass of awamori, hug your lovely wife, watch Bohemian Rhapsody and know that you are appreciated more than you may realise

Warm regards

Patrick McCarthy
マカシー パトリック
Hanshi 9th Dan
Australian Black Belt Hall of Fame 2000
Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame 2012″

113km Charity Walk – to remember the hardships of wartime Okinawa

Retracing the footsteps of the civilians who undertook a 113km walk to escape the hell of the Battle of Okinawa and get to a place of safety in June 1945. 
Come to the Dojo Bar and see us off on January 2nd at 2am. Our final destination is the village of Aha on the east coast of northern Okinawa. 
Make a donation as we use the event as a way of raising money for Okinawan orphans.


Donations can be made via Paypal to

In October 1944, 14 year old Yoshiko Gakiya (now aged 87) and a large group of elderly men, woman and children, fled from the firebombing of Naha and sought refuge in the village of Ahacha (located in present day Urasoe). However, after the US forces landed on the west coast beaches on April 1st 1945, the group made the decision to head north to Kunigami. The group had to avoid the dangerous coastal roads and was forced to machete their way through thick forest along the spine of Okinawa, avoiding both the U.S. and Japanese forces. After several exhausting weeks, the group finally reached Okuma in mid-June. In July, the group decided to cross over the mountains to the East coast where they remained until they were discovered by U.S forces in August. They were loaded onto trucks and sent back south and held in internment camps until they could finally return to what was left of their homes.
Keeping alive the memory of this arduous journey carried out at an atrocious and tragic time in Okinawan history is important for the current and future generations of not only Okinawan people, but people from all around the globe. Today, worldwide, there are 68.5 million people fleeing from warzones, crime, environmental destruction, famine, and drought, seeking their own place of safety. From Yemen to Honduras, Eritrea to Borneo, we see the plight of these people on the television, the Internet and in the newspapers.
On January 2nd, 2018, myself (Paul Vermehren), James Pankiewicz, and Becka Tedder will follow in the footsteps of the Naha citizens of 74 years ago. Setting off from outside the Dojo Bar in Asato, Naha, at 2am, our intention is to reach Aha the following day before sunset. On the first day, we aim to reach Nago Citizens beach around 5pm. The following day we will follow the coastline to Hentona and then cross the mountain to the east coast village of Aha. Total distance: 113km.
Prior to and during the race, we will be collecting donations for an Okinawan charity that supports children who have lost one or both parents in traffic accidents. The 113km walk will be our way of preserving the memory of the past to help the children of the future.
If you would like to take part in the entire walk, or a short section of this walk, please contact me on


Route and times

2:00am – 4:40am Dojo Bar to Araha Beach, Chatan, 
Break 20 minutes
5am – 7:40am Araha Beach to Yomitan Village Market 12.7km
Break 20 minutes
8:00am – 9:00am Village Market to Sansei Coffee 
Break 30 minutes
9:30am – 13:00pm Sansei Coffee to Diamond beach 14.7km 
Break 2 hours
15:00 – 17:00 Diamond Beach to Nago Citizens beach 10.8km
Day One Total 55.1km

2:00am- 4:30am Nago Citizens beach to Isagawa Park (Nago City) 
Break 20 minutes
4:50am – 7:50am Isagawa Park to Shioya Bridge 13.3km
Break 20 minutes
8:10am – 11am Shioya Bridge to Hentona Beach 12.7km
Break 1.5 hours
12:30 – 16:30 Hentona Beach to Fukugawa Dam 
Break 20 minutes
16:50 – 17:50 Fukugawa Dam to Aha Community Centre 
Day Two Total 57.8km

Total: 112.9km

初日 (1月2日)
2:00 am – 4:40 am Dojo Bar〜アラハビーチ、北谷、
9:30 am – 13:00 pm三星コーヒーとダイヤモンドビーチ14.7km
15:00 – 17:00ダイヤモンドビーチ〜名護市民ビーチ10.8km

二日目 (1月3日)
4:50 am – 7:50 am諫早公園から塩屋橋まで13.3km
16:50 – 17:50福井ダム〜アハコミュニティセンター


New Kobudo Class with John Lohde sensei

Join in our Okinawan Kobudo group as we explore how an old Okinawan art is still relevant in our modern world.

John Lohde sensei
John Lohde sensei

Stress, and aging take their toll on each of us once we advance from our 20s and 30s. Okinawan Kobudo can be key to the active, healthy life that modern longevity requires of us in order to remain vigorous and productive. It is no accident that many Okinawan kobudo practitioners live energetic healthy lives with increased agility and strength from regular kobudo training. Strong social networks keep our brains and spirit healthy and bonded to family, friends in the world we live. Group participation in activities like Okinawan Kobudo, encourages connectivity to life itself.

Learning new movements and language promote brain health and ultimately mental clarity.


John Lohde is a 45-year practitioner of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo. At the age of 68, he enjoys sharing his life-long study, putting into daily use the principles of physical, mental and emotional wellness. While the class is beneficial to any age, participants may find the pace and understanding of an instructor with John’s experience, helpful to beginners or returning students.

John says “I am pleased to announce that beginning on Wednesday, December 5th at 8:15, I will be teaching an Okinawan Kobudo class at Asato Dojo, here in Naha.
This class is the fruition of my 40 plus years of training and study of Okinawan Kobudo, under two different, well versed and respected Okinawan Masters.
The class is geared towards adults and will emphasize the physical and mental benefits of long-term Kobudo practice. Those of us above 45 years of age may find this class especially beneficial; though if you are an adult, any age is welcome. Those in the Naha area, please join us in this, twice a week class. You may PM me on Facebook (John Lohde) for more details.”

Class times: TUESDAY 8:15pm – 9:30pm,  SUNDAY 1pm – 2:30pm.

Class fee: 1000 yen

Asato Dojo has private showers and changing rooms. Drinks are available. 


Shomen Scrolls at Asato Dojo

Anyone who has visited or seen our dojo will know that on the shomen wall we have four scrolls. These ‘Makimono’ were brushed by Hokama Tetsuhiro sensei, a highly acclaimed martial artist, teacher and calligrapher in Okinawa, and gifted to the dojo when it opened. The four phrases pictured in them were selected by James Pankiewicz, Asato Dojo kancho, for their personal significance and expression of the spirit and philosophy of Okinawa and karate practice.

I’ll explain what they mean and why we chose these ones. 

From left to right:

1-  命と宝  ‘Nuchi du Takara’

(Life is a Treasure) 

First and foremost we must remember that life is truly precious. ‘Nuchi du takara’ is the Okinawan pronunciation of this phrase and it became a motto of peace in Okinawa following the devastation of WW2. 

Karate should be about enhancing and improving life – both for the practitioner but also those around them. We are not here to hurt each other or our bodies.  Notice that the character for life has been drawn with a long tail to signify a long life.

We only get one life. Live it well. 

2-  究道無限 ‘Kyudo Mugen’

(The Path of Study Never Ends)

You train, you learn. You earn belts and ranks.

It’s easy to feel like you’ve  ‘done it’ or you’re ‘finished’.

It is always important to remember that there is always more to learn – more depth, more styles, more arts, more everything.

There is no ‘finish’.

Training has no end.

You just have to keep an open mind,  keep searching and keep studying. 

3- 継続は力なり ‘Keizoku wa Chikara Nari’ 

(Continuous practice begets strength)

You either do karate, or you don’t. This one is here to remind us that even when you are busy, tired, stressed or whatever it may be – you need to continue training.

Your karate will not improve or even be maintained if you don’t train consistently. 

Consistency is key to everything and it is a lesson we want to remember. 

4- 温故知新 ‘Onko Chiishin’ 

(Study the past to gain new insight)

“on” is “to warm”, “ko” is “old”, “chi” is “to know” and “shin” is “new”: to warm the old and know the new (to learn new things from the old)

To study the old things and gain new knowledge or understanding. When starting something new – start by fully studying the past.

We are surrounded by experienced Sensei,  resources and karate history and this scroll is here to remind us to use all that is available to us and learn from it. Its wasteful and unwise not to.

How To Tie Your Belt

Here at Asato Dojo we feel it is very important to  know how to wear your dogi correctly and part of that is tying your belt.

We know there are many ways this can be done, all with different styles and purposes. 

Below is how we prefer to tie our belt and so we have created this series of images for our students to follow. 


Karate Tours, Introductory Classes, Beach BBQ package and more unique experiences on offer…

Kids Karate – traditional Okinawan karate class in Naha. Taught in English.

Traditional karate taught in a friendly environment by experienced instructors Becka and James.  Our students learn karate skills and discipline whilst having fun and challenging themselves.  Mon/Weds/Fri from 16:45, Sat from 16:00. 

Located in Naha, just 15 mins drive from Camp Kinser.  Near Makishi station. 

Please call James on 08039081712 for more details.