Sensei Charles Sweigart
I began training in 1981 after college. It was a late start by today’s standards, but I don’t ever remember seeing a Dojo anywhere in the area back then. I wanted to learn Karate because of my heritage, mental focus, and self-defense. I had no idea what an impact it would have on my life, and eventually others. I earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate and then joined the WKA in 1987. I immediately fell in love with the art because of the explosive but efficient movements.
I became passionate about competing and trained hard enough to win the National Championship in 1995, 96, and 97. Parallel to my competition career, I was selected to become the Sensei at the WKA Lakewood Dojo in 1995. I began to concentrate on developing the school, judging, and refereeing. In 1997 I received National Kumite Referee from the USANKF. I served on the USANKF board of directors as the Shito-ryu representative from 1994-2007.
After attending my first Pan-American championships in the Dominican Republic in 1998, I earned the level of Pan-American Referee. I was told that it was only the second time in the history of the Pan-American Karate Federation that anyone jumped to the top level on the first try. In 2001 I was placed on the USANKF Referee Committee. This has been a tremendous responsibility as this committee is in charge of the testing, educating, and guiding all referees and judges in the USA for both kata and kumite. It also is accountable for insuring that the rules are enforced based on traditional karate concepts.
In 2004 I received the highest kumite referee license from the World Karate Federation. Shortly after, I passed for Kata judge A and became one of only seven Americans to hold the WKF Karate Referee license. One of the highlights along this journey was being selected to referee in the gold medal match, in front of 12,000 spectators, at the World Championships in Mexico.
I recently attended the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan at the famous Budokan. While there, I was able to spend time with my relatives and learned that my Grandmother was “Bushi” or Samurai. Karate has been such a vital part of my life so learning that I had a direct lineage with a Samurai clan made so much sense as to why I had this strong passion and enthusiasm for it. I have always been fascinated with the way of the Samurai and now, with this connection, I feel that it is my destiny to continue and to educate students to be disciplined, respectful, and to be contributing citizens to society and always strive for excellence in every part of their life. This pursuit of excellence is a quality that champions of all walks of life embrace and remember that a black belt is just a white belt that never quit.
I look forward to the future of karate in the United States. The US Olympic Committee’s Youth Development Program for Karate is in place, and I am proud to be its National Referee Coordinator. When Karate becomes an Olympic sport for 2016, developing young athletes here in the Lakewood Dojo might very well lead to a future Olympian.
The Washington Karate Association Lakewood Dojo was opened on October 16, 1995 in the Oakbrook Plaza Shopping Center. Its popularity and student body grew steadily as the word spread that finally Lakewood had a Traditional Karate Dojo. Each year The Lakewood Dojo performed extremely well at local, national, and international competitions.
The Lakewood Dojo has a reputation of producing outstanding competitors as well as having strong spirited karate-ka. This combination helped the student body to continue to grow until we were at capacity and began to look for a bigger location.
Why the Washington Karate Association
There are no short cuts to excellence. While most of us may not achieve our most lofty goals and aspirations, it is nevertheless important to bring our utmost to all of which we are a part.
Harmony and strength are important partners. A balanced character is most often achieved through persistence, consistent practice of correct action and mindfulness toward morality. Karate-do specifically points to Karate as one vehicle for self awareness and personal development. When one understands that character is derived from a series of challenges, the process or path itself becomes enjoyable.
The WKA is successful greatly due to the dedication of its directors, teachers and students who share a common sense of health of mind and body. To do this in such a community is nothing short of stimulating and rewarding.
Hallmarks of Karate-ka (students of Karate-do)
*Academic and/or professional excellence
*Integrity, ethical conduct and willingness to be morally proactive
The Washington Karate Association is founded upon the traditional style of Karate known as Haysahi-ha Shito-ryu, one of the strongest systems of Karate. The WKA is a member of International Hayashi-ha Shito-ryu Federation. We are also associated with following National and International Organizations:
*USA National Karate-do Federation (USA-NKF)
*World Karate Federation (WKF)
*Pan American Karate Federation (PKF)
*Japan Karate Federation (JKF)
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