Traditional Karate North Central Region

Regional Representative of the AAKF for clubs in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Shotokan Karate Minnesota – Minneapolis, MN

Shotokan Karate Minnesota (SKM) , formally Midwest karate Association – one of the oldest karate schools in the United States, offers classes for all genders, for all levels of ability, and for ages 7 years and up. Sensei Fusaro’s goal was to teach the art of Karate-do to all willing to learn. Teaching karate has never been an occupation or career to him, it is a way of life.

Fusaro Sensei was posthumously awarded 10th Dan by the boards of the AAKF and WTKF in 2020.

He began his study of Karate-do in 1955 while stationed in Japan during the Korean War. On his first visit to a Karate class at the Japan Karate Association honbu dojo (headquarters), he met Mr. Takagi and the understanding Mr. Ito, who personally sponsored Fusaro during his extended stay in Japan after being discharged. He joined the dojo and participated in the first Japan Karate Association (JKA) tournament held in 1957. While rising through the ranks, he received instruction from members of the famed JKA Instructors’ School including Senseis Kanazawa, Mikami, Mori, Kisaka, and Enoeda, among others.

Fusaro always felt that Karate should be open to all ages and sexes and his goal was to teach the art to all those willing to learn. He was the first to propose that women be allowed to compete in Kumite (sparring) in tournaments. Up until the late 1960s women were only allowed to take classes. Fusaro had the pleasure of having trained the first woman 5th Dan in the United States, Nina Chenault Sensei and the first male 5th Dan in the North Central Region (AAKF), Joel Ertl Sensei. Two of Fusaro’s female students, Anita Bendickson (5th Dan) and Mary Brandl (4th Dan) have gone on to develop and teach self-defense courses at the University of Minnesota and to businesses and universities throughout the region.

In his later years, Fusaro Sensei was the Senior Counsel to the North Central Region of the AAKF and was appointed Chairman of the Technical Development Committee of the National AAKF in May 1999 by Nishiyama Sensei. Sensei taught classes and ran Midwest Karate Association almost until the end of his life, only retiring at age 84 when his health made it impossible to continue to teach.

Shotokan Karate Minnesota is located at 1517 Central Avenue NE Minneapolis, MN 55413. For more information call 612-870-1795 or visit their website.

Midwest Karate Association, St. Paul, MN

Senseis Joel Ertl and Anita Bendickson

The Midwest Karate Association is a traditional Shotokan Karate dojo recognized by the Japan Karate Association and the American Amateur Karate Federation. Our instructors, Sensei Joel Ertl, 6th dan and Sensei Anita Bendickson, 5th dan, are internationally respected instructors. Senseis Ertl and Bendickson have each been teaching karate since the mid-1970s.

Midwest Karate Association of St Paul is affiliated with the former Midwest Karate Association of Minneapolis, now called Shotokan Karate of Minnesota. The Minneapolis school was founded by Sensei Robert Fusaro, 10th Dan, who passed away in 2019. Sensei Ertl and Sensei Bendickson are also well known for their instructional videos produced by E/B Productions.

Midwest Karate Association of St Paul, 762 E 7th Street, St Paul, MN 55106. Phone: 651-771-7901 or visit

Northfield Karate Club

Sensei Tom Meagher

The YMCA of Northfield offers a traditional dojo that promotes the tenets of the founder of Shotokan Karate, Master Gichin Funakoshi:

  • Seek perfection of character;
  • Endeavor to excel;
  • Be honest and forthright;
  • Respect others
  • Develop self control and refrain from violent behavior

As a non-contact style, Shotokan is a perfect martial art for individuals interested in traditional karate training without risk of suffering significant injury.  The YMCA Northfield dojo is an affiliate dojo of the American Amateur Karate Federation and World Traditional Karate Federation. We welcome all to come train with us regardless of skill level, previous martial arts background, or affiliation! For more information.

Northfield YMCA 1501 Honeylocust Dr, Northfield, MN 55057  (507) 645-0088. Instructor Tom Meagher, PhD, Yondan.

Jamestown Karate Association

Sensei Dean Jensen

Gerry Scherbenske founded the Jamestown Karate Club in1973. He was the first North Dakotan to achieve the level of black belt under the Japanese Karate Association (JKA).

Back in 1973, training was difficult for Sensei Scherbenske as he had to travel back and forth to Minneapolis and train under Sensei Robert Fusaro. Among Gerry’s students was Dean Jensen who after training under a different style of karate joined the Jamestown Karate Club in January 1974. In 1977 Dean began teaching class once a week and gradually took over as Chief instructor in the late 1980s.  Currently, Dean teaches almost all adult classes and youth classes.  The Jamestown Karate Association has been a member of the AAKF for over 40 years.

Classes are held at: 116 1st Ave S, Jamestown, ND 58401 Phone: 701-269-3008 or visit jamestownkarateassociation/home

Traditional Karate-Do Academy at UMN

Sensei Trung Le

Traditional Karate-Do Academy at UMN is the only sports club on the campus of University of Minnesota teaching the traditional karate taught by Master Hidetaka Nishiyama and Sensei Robert Fusaro who started the karate club teaching on campus since 1967. The club was created to provide students at the University of Minnesota a resource to learn and train in traditional karate-do. The club is dedicated to provide a safe and nurturing environment for students to develop self confidence and self discipline, learn to manage uncertainty and fear, improve mind and body connection, and continue the study of traditional karate-do based on scientific principles developed by Master Hidetaka Nishiyama. The club sensei and advisor is Trung Le.

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