SVSK’s primary instructors spent decades training with the Japan Karate Association (JKA), including at the JKA Sou-Honbu (general headquarters) dojo in Tokyo, practicing authentic, traditional Shotokan karate. For decades the JKA has been one of the world’s largest single-style karate organizations, driving karate’s international diffusion from Japan and maintaining the highest standards for technical quality. JKA competition is legendary, with champions among the world’s best karate-ka and instructors. Today the JKA is known as “The Keeper of Karate’s Highest Tradition.” In Japan it continues to be the primary organization maintaining the heritage of Shotokan karate and is respected worldwide.

In recent decades a number of new organizations have emerged in Japan and around the world, led by former JKA members. That these organizations continue to practice “JKA karate,” essentially unchanged, is a great testament to the JKA’s technical foundations and the strength of its traditions. Among dojos affiliated with the JKS, SKIF, SKdI, ISKF or WTKO, for example, some subtle differences may emerge, but they rest on the solid foundation of JKA karate and history. Finding a karate instructor with a JKA background is one of the best indicators that you’ll be in good hands.

For advice on training at the JKA headquarters dojo in Tokyo, see Sensei Keeling’s comments about training in Japan in The Instructor’s Corner.