Our mission is to provide unparalleled excellence in the instruction of full contact Japanese karate such that it empowers people to discover and, ultimately, master themselves both on and off the mat. We accomplish this by maintaining traditional karate instruction in an environment rich in inquiry, innovation and the integration of leading edge somatic and western movement sciences.
We teach kata (forms) in both empty–hand and traditional weapons (bo, tonfa, nunchuku and sai). We train our students in the skills and practice of self-defense and controlled sparring. Our dojo is family oriented and deeply connected to the community through our relationships with local schools and residents.
When Shihan Michelle was training at World Oyama Karate she was honored to have been included as the sole woman in the exclusive uchi deshi training (traditional Japanese sensei & knockdown fighting apprenticeship) directly under Soshu Shigeru Oyama and Shihan Tetsumori Oyama. During that time she and Shihan Daisuke Matsumoto built a strong and vibrant children’s program sourced primarily by local NYC Greenwich Village schools. She also initiated a morning karate program for the many moms in her life. One of those moms was Sensei Diane Bank, now a 4th degree black belt and senior Ken Wa Kan instructor. At the same time, Shihan Michelle was in an intensive masters level program to become a Laban Certified Movement Analyst and brought that unique and comprehensive perspective to both her practice and her instruction.
In 2003, World Oyama Headquarters closed its location in the West Village. Shihan Michelle, along with Shihan Jose Cotton, Shihan David Sheeger and Sensei Maria Van Dessel, joined the organization of Kanreikai Karate USA and brought the community to Peridance Center, a premier dance school in New York. Shihan Michelle had a longstanding relationship with Igal Perry after having been a dancer in his student company and a board member for the Peridance Ensemble.
The school moved to its own location in 2006 and Shihan Michelle formed her own independent organization, Ken Wa Kan Karate in 2011. She then grew the school from a humble walkover/after school karate program to a thriving and growing community of students of all ages.