The Association for Shotokan Karate of Napa (ASKN) is devoted to the teaching and promotion of the art of Karate. We are part of an international organization, the largest Karate group in the world, the ISKF (International Shotokan Karate Federation). This membership ensures the highest standard and uniformity of teaching, ranking and competition judging.
ASKN was born in May 1985. Founded by Sensei Greg Leonard, Yondan (4th degree Black Belt) and assisted by his wife, Candace Hammond, Nidan (2nd degree Black Belt), they offered classes to the public in various training spaces. In early 1988, they opened their first dojo at 714 First St. in Napa.
After many years of dedicated teaching and leadership, Sensei Leonard retired in May 2001. Instruction continued under the guidance of his most senior student, Chela Morales-Placone, Godan (5th degree Black Belt). She and her husband, Rick Placone, Yondan (4th degree Black Belt) carry on the tradition of Shotokan Karate in Napa adhering to the high standards and excellence in teaching established by their teacher, Sensei Leonard.
Karate training is divided into three categories. The first of these is the practice of “kihon” or basics. These consist of various blocking, punching, kicking and striking techniques and are practiced through repetition of one technique or combinations.
The second category of practice is “kata”, which means form. A kata consists of pre-arranged patterns of defensive and offensive techniques performed against imaginary opponents. By practicing kata, a student is able to develop feeling and concentration for the technique as well as stronger awareness of his or her environment.
“Kumite” or sparring is the third category of karate training, and consists of working with a partner to practice both offensive and defensive techniques. Kumite is practiced at different levels, from prearranged attacks and counter-attacks to free sparring. This type of training helps develop timing, proper distancing, speed, power, control and improved reactions.
The Association for Shotokan Karate of Napa is a member of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) . The Chief Instructor of the ISKF is Shihan Teruyuki Okazaki, 10th Dan a direct student of Master Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan Karate. Shihan Okazaki along with the Chairman of the ISKF Technical Committee Shihan Yutaka Yaguchi, 9th Dan, established the ISKF in 1977. The ISKF is one of the largest Shotokan karate organizations in the world with more than 70 countries and over 75,000 members worldwide. The ISKF continues to grow and countries from all over the world are welcome to join and be part of this prestigious traditional Shotokan karate organization.