White Tiger Martial Arts | About US
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Introduction to Karate!

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"If you can change the way you see the world, the world will be different. This is a lot easier than changing the world." - O'Sensei Richard Kim

About White Tiger

We believe in whole body wellness, and our classes reflect this. Our goal is to provide self-defense training and physical conditioning in a focused and disciplined environment, while ensuring our training strategy is applicable to the age group we are training.

Our Style Gōjū-ryū 剛柔流, (Japanese for "hard-soft style") is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Go which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques such as punching and kicks and linear movements; Ju which means soft refers to circular techniques for blocking and controlling the opponent, including locks, grappling, takedowns and throws.

Major emphasis is given to breathing correctly with deep breathing from the stomach (hara). Goju-Ryu combines hard striking attacks with softer open hand circular techniques.




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White Tiger Martial Arts | History

GoJu Ryu

Gōjū-ryū 剛柔流, (Japanese for "hard-soft style") is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Go which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques such as punching and kicks and linear movements; Ju which means soft refers to circular techniques for blocking and controlling the opponent, including locks, grappling, takedowns and throws.

Major emphasis is given to breathing correctly with deep breathing from the stomach (hara). Goju-Ryu combines hard striking attacks with softer open hand circular techniques.

Chōjun Miyagi (宮城 長順)
(April 25, 1888—October 8, 1953)

Miyagi was born in Higashimachi, Naha, Okinawa on April 25, 1888. Miyagi began his study in Karate-do at the age of nine (or fourteen). He first learned martial arts from Ryuko Aragaki,who then introduced him to Kanryo Higashionna (Higaonna Kanryō) when Miyagi was 14. Under his tutelage, Miyagi underwent a very long and arduous period of training. His training with Higaonna was interrupted for a two-year period while Miyagi completed his military service, 1910–1912, in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki.

In May 1915, before the death of Higaonna, Miyagi travelled to Fujian Province. In China he visited the grave of Higaonna's teacher, Ryu Ryu Ko. In this first trip he travelled with Eisho Nakamoto. After Kanryo Higaonna's death ( in Oct, 1915) he made a second trip to Foochow with Gokenki. In this second trip he studied some local Chinese martial arts. (Some sources claim he studied Shaolin Kung Fu in Fuzhou, although historical records indicate that Southern Shaolin was razed to the ground by Qing government forces more than 300 years prior to his visit, and the modern day Fuzhou Shaolin Temple is a recent reconstruction based on a popular movie). It was in this second trip that he observed the Rokkishu (a set of hand exercises rather than a formal kata, which emphasizes the rotation of the forearms and wrists to execute offensive and defensive techniques), which he then adapted into the Tensho Kata. From the blending of these systems, and his native Naha-Te, a new system emerged. However, it was not until 1929 that Chojun Miyagi named the system Goju-ryu, meaning "hard soft style".

Jitsumi Gōgen Yamaguchi (山口剛玄)
(January 20, 1909 – May 20, 1989)

Known as Gōgen Yamaguchi, was a Japanese martial artist and student of Gōjū-ryū Karate under Chōjun Miyagi.He was one of the most well-known karate-dō masters from Japan and he founded the International Karate-dō Gōjū Kai Association.

Prior to his death, Yamaguchi was decorated by the Emperor of Japan in 1968 with the Ranjū-Hōshō, らんじゅほうしょう(藍綬褒章), the Blue Ribbon Medal of the fifth order of merit, for his enormous contribution to the spread world wide of the Japanese martial arts. For many years he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records regarding his rank and achievements. According an obituary:

His name was a household word in Karate circles, and he appeared in all the major Martial Arts magazines and publications, both in Japan and the western world.

Gōgen Yamaguchi was also famously known in the world of karate-dō as ‘the Cat’; he was a very small man, just over five feet (1.52 meters) and a mere 160 pounds (73 kg); however, he projected the impression of great bulk and an aura reminiscent of the samurai era. He was first dubbed 'the Cat' by American GI’s for his gliding walk and flowing hair. He alone was primarily responsible for the spread of Gōjū-ryū throughout the world today whereby hundreds of thousands of practitioners have experienced some form of training within traditional and non-traditional karate dojo.

According to Gōgen Yamaguchi himself when interviewed by French magazine Karate journalist Rolland Gaillac, April 1977 edition, he stated: "Even today, young man, if you were to face me in combat, I would be able to determine in a second the strength of your Ki. Immediately I would know if you were a good opponent. It is this quality, and no other, which has given me the name of The Cat."

Chōjun Miyagi visited the university dojo of Kansai, Osaka, Ritsumeikan, Kyoto, and Doshisha Universities, whilst Gōgen was attending Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. There he studied Law and in 1930 Yogi together with Gōgen Yamaguchi co-founded the Ritsumeikan daigaku karate kenkyū-kai (立命館大学空手研究会?, lit. Ritsumeikan University Karate Research Association), the first karate club at Ritsumeikan University. The Ritsumeikan Karate-dō Kenkyū-kai was the first university karate club in western Japan and was infamous for its hard style training and fierce karate fighters. Both Yogi and Yamaguchi attended Ritsumeikan University during the time Chōjun Miyagi visited, and Chōjun Miyagi stayed in Yogi’s apartment.

Chōjun Miyagi later gave Gōgen Yamaguchi the responsibility for spreading Gōjū-ryū in mainland Japan. In the early 1930s, Gōgen designed what would become the legendary signature Gōjū-ryū fist. It is said to be modeled after the right fist of Chōjun Miyagi.

Richard Kim
(November 17, 1917 – November 8, 2001)

Kim was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and began studying judo as a child in the early 1920s, under Kaneko. Around the same time, he also began studying karate under Arakaki Ankichi.Before World War II, his service in the United States Merchant Marine took him to east Asia. He cited many martial artists as his teachers, including Tachibana, Chen Chen Yuan, and Choa Hsu Lai.While in Japan, Kim studied Daito-ryu under Kotaro Yoshida and lived with him for seven years. Kim stated that he had in his possession the Daito-ryu scrolls and had been granted the Daito-ryu menkyo kaiden.Kim also studied and taught Japanese and Okinawan weaponry.

In 1959, Kim began teaching martial arts in San Francisco. He traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe teaching wherever he went. As well as teaching the physical aspects of the martial arts, Kim taught the philosophy, history, strategy, and spiritual aspects. He died on November 8, 2001.

Kim's students continue through a number of organizations: the Kokusai Butokukai is the international organization that Richard Kim started as the Busen Butoku Kai. It is made up of Zen Bei Butoku Kai (founded by Richard Kim in 1959), Butoku Kai Canada, Butoku Kai France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Finland, and Scotland. The Bu Toku Do was founded by Don Warrener, a senior student of Richard Kim. The Zen Bei Butokukai International was also founded by two of Richard Kim's senior students, Brian Ricci and Frank Gaviola.

Don Warrener

Don Warrener began his karate training March 15th 1966 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada under Benny Allen Don Warrener Fightingwho also taught Wally Slocki, Teddy Martin and Tony Faceti.

He was promoted to shodan (1st degree black belt) in 1968 by Benny Allen and the legendary Richard Kim of San Francisco California. He won the Canadian Championship in 1968 and in 1971 won the Eastern Canadian Championships. In 1973 he broke the “Guiness World Book of Records” record for brick breakingDon Warrener Breaking when he broke 3744 bricks in 4 hours and 40 minutes.

In 1978 he was introduced by his then sensei, Richard Kim to Gogen “The Cat” Yamaguichi who asked him to represent the Goju Kai in Canada but he refused as his loyalty remained with Richard Kim. Although he did return to Tokyo on several occasions for training at the dojo of the “The Cat”.

During the late 1970’s Don started the “Voice Of The Martial Arts Magazine” and “Masters Publication” now run by Annette Hellingrath. He also begin the development of a system which would allow for the teaching of large numbers of students and a program for school marketing which eventually developed into over 9000 students by the late 1980’s. He opened over 32 professional schools in Canada and sold 105 franchises. Don was the first person in the world to teach martial arts business seminars.

In 1985 he began the lengthy process of restoring a national monument and with the aid of his students restored the historic Hamilton Custom House (20,000 sq. feet) which was originally built by Queen Victoria. He was presented with the Heritage Award of Canada in 1991 for his efforts and contributions by the Federal Hamilton Custom HouseGovernment. The building was scheduled to become a college for martial arts instructors but due to circumstances beyond his control it was eventually turned The Kata of Business bu Don Warrenerover to the Provincial Government as a museum which it is today.

In 1993 he was asked to become the vice president of the World Karate Organization and eventually held the largest International tournament ever in Canada with over 27 countries, 1200 participants, with 700 Black Belts.

Norman Maher

Norman Maher began his karate training in June of 1986 under the instruction of Sensei Warrener at the Hamilton Don Warrner’s Martial Arts at the age of 26. On September 30 1990, Sensei Maher received his Shodan in GoJu-Ryu and progressed over the following 14 years, in 2004 to Yondon under the continued instruction of Sensei Warrener.

In 1995 Sensei opened his first Dojo in Caledonia, Ontario giving him the opportunity to pass along his knowledge and insights to many, many students over the following 15 years. During that time Sensei contributed to the Jerry Lewis telethon by breaking 147 boards in 47 seconds to help raise money.

In 2015 Sensei Maher move west to Alberta to establish the next White Tiger Martial Arts Dojo in HighRiver, Alberta. Bringing his many years of experience to western Canada. Then in 2017 students of Sensei Maher established the next White Tiger Dojo in Sylvan Lake, and finally in 2018 Sensei Norm opened his second school in Okotoks, Alberta.

Our Trainers


Sensei Norm Maher

Norm Maher

Sensei :.: 5th Dan

Sensei has been training in Goju-Ryu Karate in June of 1986 and has been training for over 32 years.

Senpai Shelly Berresford

Shelly Berresford

Sempai :.: 2nd Dan

Sempai Shelly has been training under Sensei Norm Maher since 1989 at the age of 7, and also has a 1st Dan in Kabudo

Senpai Jason Berresford

Jason Berresford

Sempai :.: 1st Dan

Sempai Jason has been training since 1994, and starting training under Sensei Norm in 1997 at the age of 15.