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Who we are
Click to see large photo We are located in San Francisco in the Haight Ashbury District. Our school offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for a karate class for your children or yourself, Kickboxing,Yoga, Core fitness to get in shape or if you are seeking mental physical and spiritual development you are at the right place. We want you to come into our facility and forget about your day and focus on Your mind and body. Zanshin Center is an affiliate of the I.O.G.K.F. (The international Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-do Federation) based in Okinawa, Japan. So Karate training with us means that you are part of a large structured organization. As a member of our Dojo, it is possible to train at schools all over the U.S. Our students' training is further legitimized by the fact that they receive internationally recognized belt certification. Being a part of our school also means the opportunity to train with many Karate Masters from Japan, and attend special "Gasshuku"(training camps) all over the world. We have had on separate occasions both the world chief Instructor and his top student teach at our Dojo. These things are important when looking for a dojo, as Martial Arts schools are unregulated by any bigger governing body. Training with us means a solid investment of your time and energy!

What is Goju Ryu Karate?
Goju Ryu – “hard and soft style” in Japanese - is a complete, traditional martial art that can be practiced at any age. Born and developed in Okinawa, the Goju Ryu system incorporates almost every aspect of martial arts training. Close circular blocks, joint manipulations, and low kicks characterize the style. Goju Ryu is excellent for those seeking self-defense and solid physical conditioning.

Goju Ryu karate is one of the only traditional martial arts styles that can be traced back to its origin. It was originally called “Naha Te” (referring to the Okinawan port city), before the various martial arts styles emerging in Okinawa were given formal names. Around 1931 the name Goju Ryu was bestowed by the style’s formal founder, the legendary Miyagi Chojun. Chojun Sensei studied under Higaonna Kanryo Sensei, who had spent 14 years of his life studying martial arts in southern China, which he then brought back with him to Okinawa. From Kanryo Sensei’s teachings and wisdom, Chojun Sensei developed the formal Goju Ryu system, including a complete set of warm up exercises, a systemized order in which to learn all of the existing kata (forms), as well creating as two new kata.

Chojun Sensei dedicated his whole life to Goju Ryu karate. Upon his death he passed the knowledge and spirit of Goju Ryu on to his closest student Miyagi Anichi Sensei. Anichi Sensei was taught the Goju Ryu system in its entirety, and to this day continues to train and teach in Okinawa. His most senior student and the world chief instructor of Goju Ryu is the renowned martial arts master Morio Higaonna, 9th Dan Hanshi. Higaonna Sensei is known throughout the world as the leading authority on Goju Ryu, and is respected not only for his amazing skill and power but also for his humility and humble demeanor. Higaonna Sensei heads one of the largest karate organizations in the world, the I.O.G.K.F, of which the San Francisco Goju Ryu Karate Center is extremely proud to be a part of.

Our Instructors
Sensei Mirko Buchwald - Chief Instructor
Sensei Mirko Buchwald, 5th Degree Black Belt and chief instructor of the San Francisco Zanshin Martial Arts Center, has been studying Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate for over 25 years. Originally from England, Sensei Buchwald came to the United States in 1989 with a team from the U.K. to compete in the international “Miyagi Chojun Festival” karate tournament. (He placed first in men’s advanced fighting) He decided to stay on after the tournament and take the unique opportunity to train with one of the greatest living karate masters, Goju Ryu world chief instructor Sensei Morio Higaonna. Since then Sensei Buchwald has made the U.S. his home, continuing to train directly under Higaonna Sensei. This has taken him not only to the “Honbu Dojo” (world headquarters), located in Okinawa, Japan and also on several occasions to Japan where he has trained privately with Higaonna Sensei as well as with legendary karate master Anichi Miyagi (Higaonna Sensei’s direct teacher), Anichi Sensei is the direct successor of Goju Ryu founder Miyagi Chojun . In 1997 Sensei Buchwald moved to San Francisco. Soon after he discerned a need for a traditional dojo that gave students a solid foundation in the martial arts.

"I couldn’t find a school to train at myself that was consistent in what it taught" he recalls. “Most of them were a very commercialized, people starting out in the martial arts need a good, solid foundation. I feel that people who are investing their time and money in studying a martial art should really be getting what they are paying for.” In June 1998, Sensei Buchwald opened the Zanshin Dojo, giving people in the Bay Area a chance to learn the physical and mental aspects of martial arts, in a traditional environment. “When you walk in to our school I think it’s evident from the technical standard of the students as well as the atmosphere that this is a great place to come in San Francisco if you really want to study martial arts,” he says.

In recent years Sensei Buchwald has frequently served as an assistant to Higaonna Sensei. He has aided Goju Ryu's World Chief Instructor in teaching and demonstrations all over the world - the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival, the Rengokai world Karate championships in Georgia & Okinawa, and most recently the Budokan in Tokyo and Okinawa Japan. Sensei was also selected U.S. team captain for the world I.O.G.K.F karate championships in Orlando, 2001. Most recently he returned to competition when he entered the prestigious Kanazawa Cup Tournament in 2006 where he placed first in men’s black belt fighting and was also the men’s overall black belt grand champion. He was most recently invited to teach at the 2010 Miyagi Chojun Festival in Washington an event that draws students from all of North America. He was also selected to fight on the 2010 IOGKF USA karate team that will be competing in the world championships in South Africa in October 2010.

Mirko is dedicated to helping others achieve their own goals in the martial arts. He is very passionate about teaching children how to use karate, and martial arts as a tool for developing the important life skills that will help them succeed in life. He is also passionate about animal welfare and has been a vegetarian and vegan for over 25 years.

Sensei Eric G. Shingu - Senior Chief Instructor
Sensei Eric G. Shingu, holds a 5th degree black belt in Okinawan Karate and is an executive black belt instructor under Cesar Gracie.

Sensei Shingu is also the former North American Chief Instructor for the IOGKF and has traveled internationally to instruct other schools including Venezuela, Canada and Japan.

A native of Stockton and teaching since 1982, Sensei Shingu has earned his reputation as one of the area’s most practical and knowledgeable martial arts instructors. Shingu Sensei teaches many weekend seminars at our schools dont miss a chance to train with this wolrd class instuctor, also be sure to check out shingufighter.com

  640 Stanyan St., San Francisco, CA 94117 · 415.221.KICK (5425) · info@sfgoju.com