Our History

Our club is the oldest established traditional Karate club in Kelowna as well as being one of the original clubs in British Columbia.  It was founded in 1971 by Mr. Warren Maurer who holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt.  We have been part of  the Parkinson Recreation Centre since it’s opening in 1971.  We are members of the provincial governing body Karate BC.

All senior Black Belt instructors possess Black Belt Certificates and N.C.C.P. (National Coaching Certificates Program) Certificates so you can be assured that you are being taught by instructors who are fully qualified and registered to teach in Canada

Karate History- Crash Course

Karate has a long and arduous history, but our club’s approach to this history is best summarized by our founder’s phrase “My style is that I have no style.” The goal of karate is to be a practical and functional way to defend yourself. As such, it must evolve to suit not only the times, but the person practicing it.

Karate was originally a Chinese martial art that travelled to Okinawa. While many people know Okinawa as the tropical southern Isles of Japan, at the time it was an independent nation. For many years, only the royal guard was allowed to learn kara-te (at the time, ‘kara’ meant ‘Chinese,’ and ‘te’ meant ‘hand’). Eventually, the kingdom of Okinawa was conquered by Japan. This brought an end to both the Okinawan royal family, as well as the need for the karate-masters that made up the royal guard.

With the royal guard disbanded, many karate masters were selective about who they would teach their art too. This was until Anko Itosu made a proposition that kara-te be taught in the schools of Okinawa. Feel free to read a more detailed piece on Itosu

Years later, Gichin Funakoshi, a student of Itosu’s brought karate from Okinawa to mainland Japan. It was at this point that the spelling of the name changed. Funakoshi changed the symbol for “kara” from one that meant “Chinese” to one that meant “empty.” Whether he did this for philosophical reasons, or to ease his transition into Japan, which has poor relations with China, is unknown.

In more modern Day, Masami Tsuruoka brought karate from Japan to Canada. There are many stories of his attempts to modernize karate: From him teaching a class above a bakery, to his help in founding Karate Canada, the national governing body of the sport.

This club is also a part of his history. Founded in 1971, Kelowna Tsuruoka Karate club has been located at the Parkinson Rec Center since it was built. Karate has been Chinese, Okinawan, Japanese, and now it is ours. We must do our best to draw on modern ways of learning to nurture the traditonal goal of karate: self defense and betterment of character.