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"It takes
more courage 
to walk
away than
to stay
and fight."

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Traditional Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate

Karate (empty hand) originated in Okinawa, which consists of hundreds of Ryu-kyu islands, about 400 miles south of mainland Japan.

We teach karate as weaponless self-defense, and as a martial art rather than a sport.  It's not about winning tournaments but prevailing over an assailant of any size or strength.  No need to buy protective equipment since you won't likely be wearing pads if attacked.  Safety is paramount!  Achieve confidence and expertise while having fun, without intimidation or hostility.  Attain life skills including respect... for yourself and others. 

Learning from and helping each other, and using skills effectively and with good judgment is the true art of karate.

Neither victory nor defeat but perfection of the character of its participants.  

Skills Taught
Blocks, kicks, strikes, hold breaks, safe falls and throws (take downs) -- with power, efficiency and control.

Specific solo moves combining techniques of defense and offense in sequence, so instant and correct reaction is natural if required to defend yourself.  Complexity increases with rank. 

Partner Drills: 
Practice of learned basic skills with increasing difficulty while cooperating with each other so both partners benefit and improve.

Board Breaks: 
Rather than a specific goal itself, it is more a peripheral benefit -- a symptom of the strength and focus obtained as a result of karate training.

Kick/Punch Padded Targets: 
Kicks and various strikes to perfect accuracy and balance.

Prearranged sparring techniques enhancing timing, reflexes, safe falling and throwing (take-down) skills.  Advanced students engage in monitored free sparring with emphasis on self-control.

Effective application of kata with three or four attackers, including safe falls and throws (take-downs) skills.  Increases agility  (Advanced ranks.)


Makiwara (striking board): 
To condition and strengthen the body while learning how to precisely focus the power of your entire body.  (Advanced ranks.)

Classes are ongoing and students advance at their own pace.  There is potential to reach black belt (or junior black belt under age 14) without "enrolling" in another program. 
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Who Should Take Karate?

Men - providing a sense of true self-assurance, control and calmness while reducing stress and any tendencies toward impatience or aggression

- providing skills and attitude necessary for confidence in and reliance on oneself, not only in the face of danger, but also in other facets of their lives  

- assisting them in building strong, erect bodies, learning patience and respect for others, and gaining a deep-rooted confidence in themselves

The Elderly - maintaining and in most cases restoring agility, vitality and flexibility

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Head Instructor at Karate STL
State of Missouri Shibu Dojo Director
Beikoku Shido-kan Karate-do Association   

SHARON A. BASINGER (left) began training in Shido-kan in 1989, and has been head instructor at Karate STL since its inception in 1995.  She attained the internationally recognized title of Shihan (certified instructor), and rank of 6th Dan (black belt degree), awarded by world-renowned Grand Master Seikichi Iha, Hanshi 10th Dan, and the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association.  Karate STL and Basinger Sensei are under direct supervision & teaching of Iha Sensei, who is the Director of Beikoku (North America) Shido-kan Karate-do Association.  Basinger is the Shibu (branch) Dojo Director of that Association for the state of Missouri.  She also actively oversees two Fuku Shibu (sub-branch) dojos in the St. Louis Area:  The Arch Shido-kan Karate and Gateway Shido-kan Karate.  She is proud to say those dojos were opened by her students who began at Karate STL as white belts.

Continual training:  Basinger Sensei was honored to train with Iha Sensei's teacher, late Grand Master Katsuya Miyahira (1918-2010), during his 1996 Lansing, Michigan visit, and at his dojo
(above right) when competing in the 1997 televised Okinawa Karate & Kobudo World Tournament where she reached the finals in her division.  There were over 2,000 competitors from 50 countries commemorating the grand opening of the Kenritsu Budokan (Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts - left).  She then coached in the 2009 Okinawa Traditional Karate-do World Tournament, and performed in demonstrations and trained in the masters' seminars.  Basinger was also a proud participant in the 2014 Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate & Kobudo (weapons) Seminar & Memorial Demonstration, honoring the life of Katsuya Miyahira.

She is fortunate to continually have frequent opportunities to personally study with her teacher, Iha Sensei (below right).  Plus, she has never failed to attend the annual National Training Seminars.  She brings back the priceless benefits of this training to her students.  Iha Sensei also conducts training seminars at Karate STL once or twice a year.

Basinger Sensei previously studied judo, and other styles of karate in the St. Louis area.  She and her late husband* concluded that Shido-kan not only promised but also provided the authentic training and philosophy they had been seeking all along.

Among Basinger Sensei's previous careers:  Licensed Missouri (commercial) real estate broker; commercial and multi-family residential property manager in St. Louis, MO; commercial interior remodeler/designer in Dallas, TX.

*  Further information and news article on Mr. Basinger.
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Karate STL Black Belts/Instructors 
Ameer Syed
(top left), Sensei 3rd Dan, Stephanie Faulkingham  (bottom left), Sensei 3rd Dan, and Tony Bui (top right), 3rd Dan; George Fortier (not pictured), 2nd Dan; Kevin Queen (bottom right), Glenda and Bryan Petrofsky (not pictured) and Kristina Carpenter (not pictured), 1st Dan.   Junior Black Belts are Krystal Carpenter, Tawni Miranda, Laura Jenkins and Candice Turner.  As a supplement to their training, these dedicated students also travel when possible with Basinger Sensei to Lansing, Michigan, for even further instruction from Iha Sensei.  Miranda and Queen also accompanied Basinger on the 2014 Okinawa trip.  They all began as white belts and have since achieved their internationally certified ranks due to diligent training at Karate STL.

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Grand Master CHOSHIN CHIBANA, Hanshi, 10th Dan (1885-1969), born June 5, in Torihori Village, Shuri City, Okinawa, began training in 1900 at the age of 15 with Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu.  Itosu is considered the Father of Okinawan Karate and is the first person responsible for publicly teaching the art.  Chibana was the originator of Okinawan shorin-ryu, loosely translated as "small forest style" or "pine forest style."  He also formed the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association in 1950 and was its first president.  Among Chibana's many awards was the Kunyonto (4th) Order of the Sacred Treasure presented by the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, for his devotion to the study and practice of Okinawan karate-do.  He taught almost until the time he died of cancer at the advanced age of 83.  Most senior student of Grand Master Chibana is Katsuya Miyahira.

Grand Master KATSUYA MIYAHIRA Hanshi, who holds the highest rank of 10th Dan, was born on August 8, 1918 in Kaneku Village, Nishihara City, Okinawa...and, sadly, died on November 29, 2010 in Naha, Okinawa, Japan, at age 92.  He started his training with Chibana Sensei at age 15.  In 1937, Miyahira worked as a school teacher in Manchuria and taught self-defense.  He opened a dojo in Kanehisa, Nishihara, in 1948 naming it "Shido-kan."  After Chibana's death in 1969, Miyahira became the President of the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association.  Miyahira was presented with the 1989 Martial Arts Distinguished Service Award (the highest honor of its kind in the world of Japanese martial arts) by the president of the Japan Martial Arts Council.  Among Miyahira's major contributions has been the introduction of obligatory analytical exercises (bunkai) for each of the kata, and the deepening of the philosophical study of karate-do.  Most senior student of Grand Master Miyahira is Seikichi Iha.

KARATE STL is under the direction of world-renowned Grand Master SEIKICHI IHA, Hanshi, 10th Dan.  He is Grand Master Katsuya Miyahira's (1918-2010) most senior student, United States Branch Chief for the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association, and the director of the Beikoku (North American) Shido-kan Karate-do Association.  A "teacher of teachers," Iha is the highest ranking Okinawan master residing in the United States.  

Iha was born in Tanahara Village, Nishihara City, Okinawa on July 9, 1932.  He began karate training under his uncle but in 1950 he was accepted as a formal student of Shinpan Gusukuma who had been a student of the famous Anko Itosu.  For four years Iha trained with Gusukuma who was a well respected authority of Shuri-te.  After Gusukuma's death in 1954, Iha was introduced to Miyahira by his good friend, Shoei Miyazato.  

Iha taught for periods of time in Guam, the Philippines, and Okinawa (during the latter part of 1964 he began training U.S. Marines stationed at Futenma, Okinawa.  In 1967 Iha was sent to Los Angeles, California where he taught until 1975.  He moved in 1975 to Lansing, Michigan, where he has resided and taught ever since. 

March 25, 2001, Iha received the title and rank of Hanshi 10th Dan from Grand Master Miyahira.  The following July, upon the announcement of Iha's promotion, the reaction was an immensely enthusiastic standing ovation of friends, family and several hundred of his students who were present at the Beikoku Shido-kan Karate-do 25th Anniversary Celebration in East Lansing, Michigan.  Iha's rank is certified by Miyahira Hanshi and the
Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karate-do Association, Okinawa, Japan.

Iha Sensei focuses on spreading and cultivating the knowledge of Shido-kan Shorin-ryu Karate-do as the ultimate art of self-defense, throughout the United States and the world.  A primary goal is to harmoniously work with all styles of Okinawan karate to provide the general public with a solid understanding and appreciation of this important cultural art.  He frequently tells his students, "Friendship and cooperation are most important in karate."

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In addition to Karate STL and the many other dojos in the United States (including Alaska) and Okinawa, there are dojos elsewhere affiliated with Shido-kan Shorin-ryu Karate-do, among which include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Guam, Israel, mainland Japan, Philippines, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. 


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October 7, 1995 - Six months after returning to St. Louis (after living 11 years in Dallas, TX) Sharon and Gordon Basinger Senseis held a Men and Women's Self-defense seminar at Westport Athletic Club located in St. Louis County, Maryland Heights, Missouri, to determine if there was sufficient local interest to warrant opening a dojo.  Only 5 people enrolled; however, the Basingers were not deterred.  

October 11, 1995
- Authorized and sanctioned by Grand Master
Seikichi Iha, the Basingers opened their Shido-kan dojo at Westport Athletic Club.  In the first 12-week session, a total enrollment of 23 students (15 adults in Wednesday/Saturday classes, and 8 children age 7-11 in the Saturday class).      

September 17, 1996 - Pattonville School District designated Sharon Basinger as its karate instructor.  A total of 14 students (10 children age 7-11,
and 4 adults) enrolled in the first Tuesday/Thursday 6-week session at Pattonville Heights Middle School, Maryland Heights, Missouri.

October 29, 1996 - Basinger Sensei held her first 3-hour Women's Self-defense seminar at Pattonville Learning Center, St. Ann, Missouri.  There were 7 women enrolled. 
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September 17, 1998
- Basinger Sensei began teaching karate to children age 4-6 at Pattonville Heights.  31 were enrolled.

August 25, 2000
- Last karate class at Westport Athletic Club.  Shortly thereafter, WAC closed permanently.

October 22, 2000 - Karate STL was elevated from Fuku Shibu to Shibu dojo status, by Head Master Seikichi Iha during his visit to St. Louis.  Shibu dojos are under the direct supervision, tutelage and guidance of Iha Sensei at the Hombu dojo in Lansing, Michigan.

October 1, 2001 -
At their request, Karate STL's Director and Head Instructor, Sharon Basinger, began teaching karate for the City of Maryland Heights at Maryland Heights Centre.

January 16, 2002 -
Basinger Sensei began teaching karate to children age 4-6 at Maryland Heights Centre.  10 were enrolled in her first class.
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August 12, 2002
- In addition to Basinger Sensei's children's karate classes, the City of Maryland Heights decided to also implement karate classes for adults at Maryland Heights Centre.

December 27, 2002 - Karate STL's Gordon Basinger
* at age 62, died of complications from cancer.

January, 2003 - After taking some time off due to her husband's death, Basinger
Sensei resumed her position as Karate STL Director and Head Instructor, and continues to hold karate class four to five days per week, as well as conduct periodic self-defense seminars, for Pattonville School District and the City of Maryland Heights.

January 29, 2005 - Upon the recommendation of Jennifer Barnes Van Dyke, who had recently attended a Pattonville School District Women's Self-defense seminar, the City of Maryland Heights held its first such seminar at Maryland Heights Centre.  Both seminars were conducted by Basinger Sensei and her assistants.

November, 2005 - Even though
Basinger Sensei continued with teaching, supervision and rank testing, as Stephanie Faulkingham advanced in rank and became more experienced, Basinger Sensei offered her progressively more teaching opportunities over the years at the Maryland Heights Centre location in order to further her training. 
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September 22, 2007 - Karate STL held its first 3-hour Youth Self-defense seminar at Maryland Heights Centre. 
Basinger Sensei and her assistants taught a class of 13 children ages 8-14.

September 19, 2009 - Karate STL offered its first age 4-7 'stranger danger' seminar at Maryland Heights Centre.  10 children were enrolled with 7 on the waiting list.  The well-received 2-hour class is called Don't Talk To That Stranger.

January 26, 2010 - Basinger Sensei and her assistants began conducting after-school youth self-defense seminars (separately for groups of kindergarten through 2nd grade, and grades 3 through 5) the first of which was held at Pattonville School District's Willow Brook School in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

August 1, 2010 - Karate STL's first annual family picnic at Vago Park in Maryland Heights, Missouri.  About 60 students and their families turned out for an afternoon of summer fun.
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November 13, 2010 - The 15th anniversary of Karate STL was celebrated at Pattonville Heights Middle School gym in Maryland Heights, Missouri.  There was an elaborate student demonstration consisting of 50+ students from both locations, and 100+ spectators.  Grand Master Seikichi Iha, Hanshi 10th Dan, as well as some out-of-town guests, were in attendance.  (Click here for more info.)

June 13, 2011 -  Karate STL held its first afternoon week-long (1 hours per day) youth self-defense seminar for kindergarten through 5th grade at Pattonville School District's Drummond Elementary School in St. Ann, Missouri.  Basinger Sensei and her assistants taught a class of 7 children.

September 10, 2011 - Karate STL's first St. Louis area branch dojo The Arch Shido-kan Karate was opened in St. Peters, Missouri.  Classes are held within Club Fitness.  Instructor is Basinger Sensei's student, Ameer Syed, Sensei 3rd Dan.  He began his training at Karate STL in June of 2003, and over the years taught and assisted in progressively more karate classes.  He eventually advanced in rank and experience in preparation to become instructor at his own branch dojo.

October, 2013 - The Arch Shido-kan Karate, Ameer Syed, Sensei 3rd Dan, Instructor, was elevated from probationary to certified Fuku Shibu dojo by Seikichi Iha, Hanshi 10th Dan.  Fuku Shibu dojos are under the direct supervision of their Shibu dojo director.

January 13, 2014 - Karate STL's second St. Louis area branch dojo,
Gateway Shido-kan Karate reopened at Maryland Heights Centre in Maryland Heights, Missouri - originally Karate STL's second training location.  Instructor is Basinger Sensei's student, Stephanie Faulkingham, Sensei 3rd Dan, who began her training at Karate STL in November of 2003.  Since November, 2005, Basinger Sensei entrusted her with progressively more teaching responsibilities at this location, as she advanced in rank and experience in preparation for this transition to become instructor at her own branch dojo.
January 20, 2014 - Karate STL entered the world of social networking.  Our dojo page can be accessed here: 

April, 2015 -
Gateway Shido-kan Karate, Stephanie Faulkingham, Sensei 3rd Dan, Instructor, was elevated from probationary to certified Fuku Shibu dojo by Seikichi Iha, Hanshi 10th Dan.  Fuku Shibu dojos are under the direct supervision of their Shibu dojo director.

*  Further information and news article on Mr. Basinger.

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