Welcome to Gulf Coast Shōrin-ryū!

We are a recently-opened traditional karate school located in the Clearwater, FL area, and we offer private and small class lessons. We teach Okinawan Shōrin-ryū Matsumura Seito karate.

Traditional Dojo Features:

Protocol & Respect.

Traditional schools learn and practice Okinawan protocols the same way they are taught and used in Okinawan dojos, including a rigid system centered around respect and humility. Some protocols include bowing to one another, not wearing shoes in a dojo to keep the area of training clean, greeting your teacher when you come to class, and becoming a part of the hierarchy of teachers and students. More Protocols.

History & Lineage. 

The preservation of karate includes understanding why karate was developed, where your style came from and the lineage that allowed it to be handed down. History is both taught and tested in traditional dojos, and it can help in understanding why parts of a kata or style were created. For example, a series of kata, known as the Nihanchi katas, are practiced in a linear configuration because they were originally used in Okinawan rice fields, between the rows of planted rice. Your feet are angled differently to, “grip” the ground of the rice field when fighting in this linear stance. The history enhances your performance through better understanding.

Kata & Bunkai. 

Kata is the soul of each karate style. It was originally created as a way to pass karate to the next generation, at a time when weapons and practicing fighting was banned. The kata hide fighting moves in what is called bunkai, or disassembly, which when performed in a sequence appear like a small dance or routine. Traditional karate-ka (karate students) practice their kata for decades in order to truly learn and understand them. The most common words of our grandmaster, Hanshi Fusei Kise, were, “More practice!”


Our style is focused around practical self-defense, normal stances, lower kicks and maintaining one’s center of balance. Okinawans were smaller in stature and included masters training well into their 90’s, so the art is designed to be practical and utilized by all ages. Although we enjoy and appreciate competition, we like to emphasize the differences, as well.