New Dojo Japanese Name

Sensei Chip Quimby recently unveiled a new Japanese name for the dojo – the meaning of which is a symbol of the dojo’s growth over the last five years. This interview, conducted by Melissa Bach Palladino, explores Sensei Quimby’s thoughts about the background and significance of the dojo’s new Japanese name.

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Dojo Japanese Name

MBP: Sensei, what inspired you to create new kanji to represent our dojo?

SENSEI QUIMBY: The dojo itself inspired me— the people. I think the energy became so pronounced and unique over the course of five years of training that I wanted to acknowledge how special I thought it had become.

When I first named the dojo Authentic Karate Training Center it accurately reflected my vision, which was a place where people could train karate authentically, and at the time I hoped I could find a group of students to share authentic karate with. After five years of doing karate the way I enjoy doing it and sharing it with my students, I discovered that the energy, the school, this body of people, and all that they represent had become something so much greater than my initial vision— I wanted to find a way to capture that, to honor what it had become. Because now it was no longer reflective of just my initial vision… it’s grown to be more. It’s because of you [the students], and everything you do, everything we’ve done together, and how much we love our karate that we’ve really birthed this new thing, and I wanted a new Japanese name to celebrate it. So the kanji is a tribute to the passion, the commitment to excellence, the hard work, and the fullness of sincerity that the students here practice with.

It’s hard to put into words sometimes when you’re training and you’re sweating and you’re giving a hundred percent, and sometimes you’re working with another person who’s challenging you in a way that’s really on the border of what you can handle. But that’s where you really discover who you are – and in a way that’s truly something to cherish.

Training on the edge is really a special thing…it’s a rare place…sometimes an uncomfortable place— it’s a revealing place. Sometimes the truth is a tough thing to see, or hear, or manage. But we’re always trying to be fuller and more whole, or holistic. At the very least be here mentally, physically, and spiritually; just be fully present, that’s a tough thing to do. Never mind that you’re outside your comfort zone and you’re learning something new.

This new Japanese name is essentially a symbol of dojo pride. This is not going to bring in new students. This is not going to improve the speed of our Sanchin arm thrusts. It’s just about celebrating who we are. I’m proud of our dojo family and this is a tribute to you guys, and without everyone it wouldn’t happen. When we’re doing things the way we know how to do them…it creates this extraordinary feeling; it’s pretty special, and it’s something that I’m pretty excited about.

MBP: Could you speak about the selection process that you went through when you were looking at kanji characters and trying to decide how they go together to make a dojo name?

SENSEI QUIMBY: Sure. I worked with family members that speak Chinese, and my tutor who is Japanese, to help me find the right characters that had as their primary meaning the feelings and sentiments that I was trying to capture. At first I wanted the new Japanese name to be a symbol of the importance of being flexible, both physically and in thought. I always want to welcome new, progressive, better, and more effective methods, and I never want to have an attitude where I’m too inflexible to improve. I always want to have that student mindset of maybe there’s a better way. I love the saying “hardness and softness are at the hand”. Openness, truthfulness, sincerity, commitment, flexibility, being both hard and soft—these ideas are important to me.

When I shared those thoughts with my family who were trying to capture my sentiments in a few kanji characters, they were a bit unsure what I wanted. They then began to educate me and explained how there’s no way all those ideas can be conveyed through only three kanji characters. That’s when I realized how tough it was going to be; there was no simple way to encapsulate those things. Kanji are really profound in their meaning—they all have a primary and secondary meaning, and some have up to ten meanings. Sometimes the word in English didn’t necessarily correspond with the kanji, and if it did you couldn’t use it in the name of a school—it didn’t make sense grammatically or the energy “didn’t feel right”.

Here’s a funny story: early on I was looking at the lyrics for one of the Rocky movies, a Survivor song… the lyrics were something like, “though his body says stop, the spirit cries, ‘Never!’” I brought these lyrics to my family and asked them to translate it. They thought it was a Japanese maxim, so they expected there to be a translation already existing, and when they found out they were just lyrics to a song, they just gave them back to me and were like, “you can’t just translate stuff like this; that’s not how it works.” I didn’t get that at all, I thought these lyrics had a great meaning and message behind them and would make for an insightful phrase in kanji. Apparently it was all much more complex than I initially believed.

MBP: What did you finally boil it down to, after this long search?

SENSEI QUIMBY: Ultimately, I wanted to find a character to express the fullness of a person’s effort. The word “sincerity” just kept coming back to me. I didn’t know another word in English that spoke to one’s ability to use all of themselves…to bring all of themselves to their practice. The Japanese use the proverb “shin gi tai” (that comes close to this idea)—that’s translated literally as “mind, technique, body” but most people consider it to mean “mind, body and spirit”. It means taking your mental capacities, your body and its physical abilities, and your spirit that allows you to achieve extraordinary feats, and then harmonizing those to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. “Sincerity” was the only word, after searching for over a year, that honestly reflected how I feel. It’s a powerful word.

MBP: All right. Time for the big reveal. Would you explain what the new kanji is, and what it signifies?

SENSEI QUIMBY: Sure. The new Japanese name has seven characters. In English, it’s written Shiseikan Karate Dojo, (pronounced “shee say kahn”). “Shi” means “very”; “sei” has a number of meanings, but it means “sincere”, “truth”, and “openness”; “kan” means “house” or home; “karate” obviously means “empty hand”, and “dojo” means “way place”.

When you put the word “shi” in front of the word “sei”, you’re pretty much saying: this is the most of that character—you’re amplifying it. You’re saying it’s “an extreme version” of it, or “the highest”, or “very”, or “perfect”. I don’t want to use the word “perfect”, but you could say, “a perfect example of that sincerity”. When you put these two characters together what you’re saying is “this is the most intense version of genuine intent”.

A literal translation of the characters would be “very sincere house empty-hand way place” but that really doesn’t capture the essence of it, so I think if you translated it as “the karate school of the genuinely sincere” or “the karate house of the most fervently committed” that would be more reflective of the energy and spirit that I identify the dojo with.

This name captures for me the feeling that I often have when the class is working hard and everyone’s cooperating and everyone’s giving all that they have. We’re all charging up these mountains that represent ourselves, learning more about ourselves, overcoming our limitations and accepting who we are, all while trying to improve ourselves together in our own unique way—that was what I felt was extraordinary and warranted a special name, because not all dojos have that and we’ve created something really unique.

MBP: Let’s talk a little bit about where the new kanji will be used.

SENSEI QUIMBY: The new kanji will be used on the right sleeve of our karate uniforms, and will replace the kanji that currently says half hard-soft, which is the translation for Paingainoon, the original name of the style of Chinese Boxing that Master Uechi learned in southern China. The front of our uniform on the left chest has the organization we belong to which is called the Okinawan Karate Association along with the symbol on top. So on our gis we’ll have our organizational crest on the front and our dojo name in kanji on the right sleeve. Of course we’ll still continue to use our original name of Authentic Karate Training Center, but now we’ll also have another name for the students and families inside the dojo who helped create what it is today.

We’ll also have a wooden sign that we’re making that will hang in the dojo. But unlike our uniforms, on the sign the kanji will run horizontally rather than vertically.

MP: And that sign is called a kanban?

SENSEI QUIMBY: Yes. Pronounced kan-bahnm. It’s a dojo placard or sign, often made from an ornate piece of wood; for ours I’ve chosen a rustic hickory. The kanji that will be carved on it was created by Sensei Eri Takasai from New York. She’s a calligraphy master and she and I worked together to create the style of calligraphy for the name. Then I was able to pass it on to the kanban artisan who said he could capture some of that with his carving. This sign will hang in the dojo for teachers, students and families to see.

MBP: What else will you be doing to roll this out?

SENSEI QUIMBY: We’ll have a chart or poster board to illustrate with very simple visual images what each character means and how they come together. I think only the people who have been on the floor and have built something special, with both their classmates and myself, will find deeper meaning in this name.

I think we have some extraordinary people endeavoring to make extraordinary effort to be the best they can. None of us are perfect but we’re all working hard to be the best we can. We’re turning it all on, and we’re giving it everything we’ve got, and I think that makes something really special. That’s something I love being a part of.

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Melissa Bach Palladino is a second-degree black belt and an assistant instructor at Authentic Karate Training Center (Shiseikan Karate Dojo).

Summer Club – August

Dear Parents,

I wanted to quickly touch base with you about our Summer Club starting Monday, August 10th at 9:00 am. We’re super excited and looking forward to a great week filled with fun and excitement. Below are some final details that I wanted to make sure you were aware of. Please let me know if you have any questions or if we can assist you with anything.
We will begin each morning promptly at 9:00 am – Let the FUN begin!
Kids should wear comfortable clothing and do not have to bring their uniform or equipment bag.
We will be going outside each morning for a while (weather permitting of course) so please make sure your child comes prepared with sneakers. Our goal is to be outside early to avoid the hot sun, so I don’t think that over-exposure will be an issue for anyone. That being said, please feel free to apply sunblock to your child if you would prefer before they arrive.
Kids should all come prepared with a lunch and snack along with a water bottle. We’ll be taking a break mid-way through each day for a little ‘energy refueling’ – and as with most school policies, please refrain from bringing any peanut or tree​-​nut products so we can avoid any potential allergy sensitive situations.
Pick-up for our summer club members will be at 1:00 pm each day unless otherwise plans have been worked out.
Family’s who have not yet paid for their child’s participation can do so​ this week.
We are ready to
​ ​REALLY​ ​have a great time with the kids, so I hope their excited to be part of our summer club here at the dojo.​ We’re gonna have a ​BLAST!!!​

Best regards,
Chip Quimby

New Adult Beginner Class

Dear Students and Families,

I am very pleased to announce that beginning next Tuesday, July 28th, the dojo will be offering a new class targeted towards beginner and teen students in the adult program. The class will run from 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. each Tuesday night and will be very similar to our existing Thursday adult beginner class. Tuesday’s class will be open to all ranks, however the primary focus will be on traditional Uechi-Ryu curriculum, covering material specific to all adult students below the rank of brown belt.

Leading the new Tuesday class will be Sempai Melissa Palladino, who has been my formal assistant in the Thursday adult class for nearly three years. During that time, Melissa has been actively working towards earning her Shidoin, or Apprentice Instructor certification.

With the dojo growing and the adult program blooming, we are thrilled to be able to offer adult students yet another opportunity to train. I truly believe our collection of adult students is a special one and I am very excited to have the opportunity to further serve those who train here at AKTC. Thank you to everyone for the contributions of spirit and hard work over the years and for helping to make our adult student body feel like a dojo family. I’m looking forward to making Tuesday evenings another great class here at the dojo. We hope to see you Tuesday, July 28th @ 7pm!

Best regards,
Sensei Chip Quimby

Special Announcement

Dear Students and Families,

I am pleased to announce that Miss Kimberlie Forsberg has accepted a full-time position here at Authentic Karate Training Center as the school’s new Program Director effective June 1st.  Many of you know Miss Kimberlie as an instructor in our Children’s Program in addition to her involvement in our monthly children’s belt testing.  Kimberlie began her study of karate with me at the age of 12 and currently holds the rank of 3rd degree black belt.  She is also the first student at Authentic Karate Training Center to apprentice as an instructor and receive her Instructor Certification Certificate (Shidoin) from the Okinawan Karate-Do Association in Okinawa, Japan.  For the past five years, Kimberlie studied at Northeastern University where she earned her B.S. in Industrial Engineering and fortunately for all of us, has decided to follow her passion by bringing her many talents to our dojo, which will undoubtedly be a great benefit for us all.

My vision has always been and will continue to be, providing the most authentic and enriching martial arts experience possible for my students.  I have recently expanded the dojo in order to provide a more comfortable and inviting atmosphere in which to train, while still maintaining an intimate and personal level of interaction with all who study under me.  And it is because of my unbridled enthusiasm and passion for what we have built together, that I am grateful to have Kimberlie aboard as a full-time member of our family.  Kimberlie’s role will be multi-faceted and her presence will free me up to focus more on my single most important responsibility, which is of course, teaching, inspiring and mentoring those who wish to learn and improve.

I would like to thank you all, for it is because of you that we have a living, breathing and vibrant safe-haven to call our own.  Your membership in our dojo validates all I have ever believed to be true, which is if you cherish the art above all else, the business side will take care of itself.  Kimberlie’s contributions will allow me to continue to stay true to my vision as we continue to grow both in numbers and in spirit.

Sincerely yours,

Sensei Chip Quimby

Kids Summer Club – Update

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re getting a chance to enjoy this beautiful day we’re having.

I’m really looking forward to a great Summer Club this year.  Our August session is already completely FULL, however we still have space available for our July 13th session.  If you’re interested, please let me know.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have or add your child’s name to the list.  There’s been lots of interest this year which is very exciting.  Please remember though that space is limited and registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis.  So please don’t wait if you’re thinking of signing up you child.  I do expect both the sessions to fill up shortly.  Thanks and have a wonderful day!

Best,
Sensei Chip Quimby

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SUMMER CLUB

Dear Parent,

I am very excited to share with you that the dojo will once again be offering two sessions of it’s Summer Club camp during the months of July and August.  We received some outstanding feedback from the kids and families that attended last year and we’re excited to make this year even better!

Summer Club at the dojo is weeklong event that runs from 9:00 – 1:00 each day and is JAM-PACKED full of karate fun and games for kids ages 6 and up.  We’ve got exciting projects and Asian crafts lined up for each day that will allow the children to explore and express their creativity.  The children will participate in different “theme” classes each morning that explore NEW and exciting aspects of martial arts.  We’ve got games galore, The Karate Olympics, team challenges, obstacle courses, and the list goes on and on.
Just take a look at some of the AWESOME things we have in store for the kids.
• Exciting Karate Workouts with Special “Theme” Classes
• Padded Nun-chuck Training
• Karate Olympics
• Asian Inspired Arts & Crafts
• Karate Board Breaking Seminar
• Dance Party and Competition
• Water Balloon Samurai Challenge
• Obstacle Course Fun
• And MUCH MORE…
We will again be offering two different sessions this summer; one the week of July 13th and then a second session August 10th.  The sign-up sheet is at the dojo, but you can call or email me to place your child’s name on the list.  The cost is $210 for the one-week session and sibling discounts are available. Please remember that though space is limited, we will need a minimum of 10 children to run the event, so I hope your child can join us.  Also, if your child has a buddy that you think would like to attend, please feel free to forward their family the information, as the camp is also open to non-karate students as well.
If you have any other questions about Summer Club, please feel free to call the dojo or email me anytime.  We’re really excited about these events and hope that you are too!  It’s going to be the talk of the town.
Sincerely,
Sensei Chip Quimby

May 2015 Kids Belt Grading

Congratulations to all of the kids that attended our very first kids promotion in our new dojo. They all did a wonderful job and made us very proud. Keep up the great work!

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Martial Arts - Authentic Karate Training Center

Kids Belt Test at Authentic Karate Training Center

 

May 2015 Adult Kyu Grading

Congratulations to the adult members of AKTC that participated in our May Belt Grading this evening. It was our first official promotion in the new dojo and we couldn’t have had three more deserving candidates to evaluate. Thank you, gentlemen, for your hard work and preparation over the last few months – it really made the difference. I would also like to thank the many senior members at the dojo who worked with our test candidates in helping them prepare for this special event.

  • Mr. Bryan Muse – Brown Belt
  • Mr. Matt DesRoches – Green Belt
  • Mr. Bob Comito – Green Belt

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Dojo Re-Opening Party – Five Year Anniversary

Thank you to all the students and families who came out tonight to help celebrate our dojo’s five year anniversary and to help kick-off the newest chapter in our dojo’s history. It was so special to see all the students enjoying the new space. Thank you for making the first five years so extraordinary!

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Exciting April News

Here is the April dojo calendar! We have some very exciting construction going on at the dojo right now and will be closing the school in about a week to complete the construction. We expect the dojo will re-open between April 16th – 20th. To celebrate our new facility we will be having a GRAND REOPENING PARTY for all dojo members and families. The date of the re-opening and festivities will be communicated as soon as possible so keep an eye out for dojo announcements.
We will OPEN the week of Peabody Public School’s April vacation so feel free to make up any missed training then!
Happy April everyone, it’s sure going to be a memorable one here at the dojo!

Dojo Expansion

Dear Students, Families and Friends,

I am very excited to be writing to you today to share some GREAT news!

Yesterday morning, the dojo officially began the first stage of its new expansion project. Over the next month and a half, Authentic Karate Training Center will be expanding into the adjacent spaces on the opposite side of the front wall making our a new dojo approximately 4,000 square feet! We’ll be increasing the size of the matted training area, as well as adding a number of new amenities that will help make our dojo more special and enjoyable for all our students and their families.

I am so excited to be finally starting this amazing project and look forward to sharing many of the details with you over the upcoming weeks. Of course, we’ll be working hard to help keep things running as smoothly as possible here during construction, however I’ll be sure to keep you well informed regarding any schedule issues that will affect our regular operations.

Finally, I would like to thank each and every one of you for helping to make this new school (your school) a reality. It’s because of you and your dedication to our dojo that this dream is possible.

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Best regards,

Sensei Chip Quimby