What Is Enshin Karate?

Kancho Joko Ninomiya… Founder of Enshin Karate

Long before Kancho Ninomiya arrived in the United States in 1974, he had a dream. From the days in his youth when he first began training, Kancho Ninomiya wanted to bring the spirit and technique of real karate to this country.



After devoting himself for many years to reaching the top in competitive karate, Kancho Ninomiya won the All-Japan Tournament in 1978. As one of Japan’s most popular champions, he realized that his life in karate was leading him beyond the mat of tournament competition. He returned to the U.S. and rededicated himself to his art, developing and teaching the strategy and technique he believed in.

In an effort to bring authentic fighting karate to the United States, Kancho Ninomiya established the Sabaki Challenge, which has become one of the world’s premier karate tournament. Because he felt that his training for the All-Japan helped him grow stronger both physically and mentally, Kancho Ninomiya wants to offer this opportunity to other young martial artists.

Today Kancho Ninomiya is the Master of Enshin Karate and its growing network of schools throughout the United States and the world. He feels a strong personal commitment to maintaining a close organization and offering his logical, practical system of karate to anyone who is interested in what it has to offer.

Enshin Karate

Kancho Joko Ninomiya developed Enshin’s unique fighting strategy drawing upon his years of tournament competition and real life confrontations. Enshin’s Circular strategy known as The Sabaki Method makes use of the opponent’s power against them to gain an advantage by breaking the opponent’s balance and creating a strong “blind spot” position. Kancho Joko Ninomiya’s Sabaki Method not only embodies the true spirit, and power of karate it employ’s a method of strategy, which is rarely seen in other forms of martial arts, and is the essence of his Enshin Karate.

The meaning of Enshin…By Kancho Joko Ninomiya

The name ENSHIN KARATE is derived from two Japanese words: en meaning ‘open or unfinished circle,’ and shin meaning ‘heart’ or ‘inner.’ The combination of these two words and their meanings embody the most important aspects of Enshin Karate.

For me, above all else, the ‘inner circle’ of Enshin Karate represents the strong bonds that keep us together. The strength of this organization depends on the ability of each of us to listen to our hearts, and to relate to others through it.
The circle is the essence of the strategy and movement in Enshin Karate. The infinite points on a circle represent the unlimited positions we move to and counter from in meeting an opponent. This circular movement that takes one out of a line of attack and into a position from which he can counter attack is the basis for Enshin Karate technique.

The Enshin circle is an open circle. It is not complete, although it strives to be. It represents the idea that our challenge is never finished, although we are always working towards making it so. This unfinished state is a source of motivation and it reminds us that perfection is to be aimed for even if it cannot be achieved.

The middle ring in our logo represents the cycle that is the essence of our training as well as life. In training we begin as a white belt, and move through the darkening belts before becoming a black belt. When we achieve the black belt we begin a new. So too, in life. Each goal we reach marks a new beginning.
The Enshin Karate-do is not the only Way. But I believe very strongly in it. It is my wish to offer Enshin Karate to anyone whose heart and mind believes with me in this Way. Then, together, we can all work to finish the circle.

Dojo Kun of Enshin Karate

– We will always be courteous and show respect to others
– We will strive to be our best and pursue it with patience
– We will develop the mind and body to enhance the spirit
– We will always keep an open heart and mind
– We will accept the spirit of challenge
– We will follow the meaning of Enshin in both our training and our daily lives