Why karate?

Karate is a complete system of mind and body development.  The literal translation of karate is "empty hand".  "Kara" is empty and "te" is hand.  On the surface,  karate is a martial art employing the use of the body, without the aid of weapons.  It is a system of self defence, physical exercise and as a fighting method.  Just as important as the physical training, karate is the development of the mind and character.   For students, karate will assist you in your studies, increase concentration and manage your stress.  Our homepage  logo is Mushin or "Clear Mind". Clearing your mind is the true meaning of "kara"; empty your mind so you can learn, absorb and adapt. 

We practice traditional karate emphasizing mental and physical discipline and development.  We do not hit or make physical contact with another person with the intent to injure or harm. However, as in any martial or combative art, contact will occur with another person as a part of our normal training regime or in a tournament, e.g. by blocking, holding or otherwise, and injury may occur unintentionally or by accident. We stress control of techniques. While we offer the opportunity to participate in tournaments, competition is not required or mandatory as a part of belt advancement.


Head instructor, Sensei Tony Tam, ISKF Certified 8th degree black belt and Dal alumnus ('82 BComm/'85 LLB), founded the non profit school (dojo) in 1979 and started the dojo in the Studley Gym on campus. It is now located in the King's College gym building. The dojo is dedicated to promoting karate to students, faculty, and staff. Vice Head Instructor is Dal alumnus Sensei Danny Tam('85 DDS), and also an ISKF Certified 8th degree black belt. Sensei Tams and many others can attest to the benefits of karate to university and post-university life. We have had students and faculty from nearly all departments and disciplines, trained thousands of students, and graduated hundreds of black belts over the past 39 years. While we do not pressure students to compete, we also provide the opportunity to compete at all levels. Dal almunus Sensei Andy Allen, 7th degree black belt is the current ISKF World Senior Kata Champion.

Here are just a few comments from the Dal community:

      "I have been training with this organization for over  three years. The instruction is great, physically and mentally. Classes are year-round,  which is great for people who are looking for non-stop training. And the rates are excellent considering the great instructions and the facility they provide.

      Definitely recommend this non-profit organization to all levels, absolute beginners who want to try something new (they have a beginner class) or karatekas who are looking forward to sharpen their skills further

            Chenlu Shao (grad student)

      "I joined this club in 2006 on the suggestion of a classmate. What started as a way to get fit and embrace my interest in Asian culture and martial arts has turned into a way of life. You don't just learn physical techniques, but life principles and practices that reach outside the club. The folks in the club are amazing and many have become close, life-long friends. And the price, especially as a student, cannot be beat in the city."

             Phil O'Brien ( BSc. computer science)

      "I joined the club on January 2012 at the time when I started my master’s degree. My goal when I first joined the club was to keep myself active to be productive at school; but what I found was great instructors and trainees who provided and still providing all kind of supports to help you to improve yourself. And now I have my third black belt degree and a number of medals and trophies (provincially and nationally). Training karate helped me as a graduate student (master & PhD) to have active body and sharp mind. Great classes from great instructors. You should try it , you won’t regret!"

            Mohammed Alnusayri (Phd candidate)

       "I have been practicing Karate in Germany, Japan, England and Canada, and this club is as good as it gets. We practice Karate-do, an art to seek perfection of character, and we are so lucky to have such true high-level instructors who lead by example. So it is no surprise that we have a large and awesome membership who respect each other and welcomes everyone with a true heart. This is not a fighting school for  wannabe ninjas or showoffs, but where we all work hard to try our best to find the perfect form. I highly recommend this club if you are interested in true karate-do."

              Dr. Thomas Trappenberg ( Professor, Dept. of Math)

The Class

Our beginner non-contact karate class is dedicated to new members only, so you are not mixed with regular members. This allows for specific instruction and you learn as a group.  You will start with fundamental basics (kihon), followed by prearranged forms (kata) and prearranged sparring drills ( kumite). Self defense will be taught throughout.  

We offer the  beginner class for students, faculty, and staff  of Dalhousie University and to all universities in the Halifax area at the special rate of $65 for the entire term. Following the initial beginner session, students will be integrated into our regular classes on Saturdays and Mondays, still at the university student rate of $65 per 4 month session. Faculty and staff will be at the community rate of $110 per 4 month session.

Interested in trying classes?

  • Saturdays, 11:30 am -12:30 pm. Next session starts Jan. 19, 2019 and accepting members till Feb. 2, 2019. Term ends April 20, 2019

  • $65 per term (Jan.-April).

  • First two (2) classes are free to try.

  • Come wearing comfortable workout clothing.

  • Send us an e-mail to let us know that you are planning to try the class or ask any questions at dalkarate@bellaliant.net.

  • Registration: You can print and complete by hand this Registration Form [PDF] and bring it to class or we can give you one at the class to complete. You cannot train unless you complete form.

  • Classes take place at the King's College gymnasium building, off Coburg Road, Halifax, downstairs in the Aerobic/Fitness Centre.

  • The uniform (gi) may be purchased through the dojo, usually after a month of classes.

  • When you are ready to test, the fee is at the student rate of $25 including the belt.

  • Membership in the dojo gives you access to train at any ISKF club (see www.iskf.com) in the world upon payment of the applicable dojo fee.


    King's College gymnasium, downstairs in the Aerobic Centre. Come off 6350 Coburg Road through the main stone gates of Dalhousie University onto Lord Dalhousie Drive. The King's College Gym building is the second building on the right, after the King's College Library. Parking is available in the lot between the Gym and the Dal Life Science Building. Go to the entrance of the building that faces the King's College Library. Go downstairs and you will see the dojo. Please do not leave your belongings in the change rooms and bring them into the dojo. 


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