You may know it as the giant of the GTA’s martial arts scene, but Northern Karate isn’t just a local favourite: it’s known Canada-wide for its by-the-book teachings and kick-butt client transformations.
Since its founding in 1972, Northern Karate has blossomed into 10 locations across the Greater Toronto Area and now instructs over 8,000 students, young and old.
“We have kids starting from the age of three and a half, all the way up,” says Cos Vona, a director at Northern Karate Schools. “My eldest student started at 62. He was retired and decided to take up martial arts. He got his black belt at 69, and now even his grandkids are training!”
It’s no surprise that the 42-year-old company is receiving such love: it’s even earned recognition in Okinawa, Japan — the birthplace of karate — for its craft, which strives to never stray from karate’s original meaning, teachings and benefits. According to Vona, this means guiding students to help them build not only physical strength and stamina but also emotional confidence.
“A lot of parents are concerned with their kids’ confidence — you can’t buy it off a shelf,” says Vona, who equates karate to a life skill, like swimming. “After 42 years, Northern Karate has confidence-boosting down to a science; whether they’re kids or adults, we instill self-esteem in our students that they can use in all areas of their lives.”
Students can expect to have their self-esteem engines revved even further in 2014, when Northern Karate plans to fly in some friends from Japan as special guest trainers.
“We’re very tied to our roots in Okinawa,” says Vona. “I’ve trained there, and so have many of our senior instructors. The schools there recognize us and respect us, and not a lot of places have that connection.”
Indeed, the company has left the industry so starry-eyed that it has been selected to host this year’s Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame awards banquet on May 31, 2014, an event that celebrates those who have helped develop the country’s martial arts landscape.
“It’s an honour to be hosting the event this year,” says Vona. “We’re just thrilled to have been serving people for this long — and hopefully for many years to come.”
Call or click to discover Northern Karate’s array of enriching programs for students of all walks of life, as well as location information and pricing details.
Northern Karate Schools — Woodbridge Location
3883 Rutherford Rd., Unit 8 & 9
For other school locations,