By Sensei Bobby Quihuis
The Arizona JKA is steeped in tradition, yet has the energy and excitement of a new organization. The Dojo continues to be a cultural blend of the old and the new. As a non-profit organization, we are dedicated to the legacy of the Arizona Karate Association and Master Shojiro Koyama. Master Koyama continues to teach every Friday evening.
Master Koyama has been teaching traditional Japanese Shotokan Karate to generations of Phoenicians. He is one of the original Japan Karate Association (JKA) instructors who moved to the United States in the early 1960’s to spread the art and Japanese culture. Gary and Joan Abbott sponsored Master Koyama, and were instrumental in getting him started at their Phoenix Dojo. The Abbotts had been traveling to Los Angeles to receive instruction from Master Nishiyama, and therefore were excited to bring a talented JKA Instructor to Phoenix. The legacy of Gary and Joan Abbott continues at the Arizona JKA as Gary and Joan’s daughter, Kimi Abbott, both serves on the Board and trains at our Dojo.
Some things Remain the Same, and Some Are Updated
Our Dojo has been in the same location at 7thStreet and Maryland for over 50 years, serving as a vital part of the Phoenix community. We train on the same hardwood floor, polished by countless feet over the years. We have replaced the old evaporative coolers with air conditioning. Our Instructors bring energy and commitment to the classes we teach. All we have learned and continue to learn from Master Koyama guides us in our teaching and training.
The Dojo has always been a place for both old and new friendships, attracting a diverse group of people interested in a common pursuit. This natural diversity allows people to focus on what we have in common, rather than how we are different. In addition, it creates a positive model for our increasingly polarized society.
In this blend of old and new, the ultimate goal continues to be the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of traditional martial arts training for children, adults, and seniors. The tradition continues at the Arizona JKA, with respect for the past and excitement for the future. Our children, through hard work and effort, absorb the energy and culture of a traditional Dojo. Just as Master Koyama came to the United States to spread traditional Shotokan Karate, we look to our youth to carry on that tradition for future generations.