The History of Liberty's Karate
The History of Liberty's Karate
Liberty’s Karate was founded in 1978 at the Sir Allan MacNab Recreation Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. Sensei John Liberty, a student of Sensei Shintani, was the schools founder and first Head Instructor. It has endured through many years and many difficulties. The Sir Allan MacNab location became a very successful school and grew to be a very good size. Sensei Liberty enjoyed many years of success and was an important figure in many of his students lives.
January 2001 Sensei Liberty had made the decision to retire from Karate, leaving Liberty’s Karate in the hands of his senior student, Sensei Jeff Burroughs. This was a big change for the culture of the school. Sensei Liberty had been there for 23 years and was now going to head down a new path in life. Sensei Jeff was 26 at the time Sensei Liberty retired, his youth was hoped to bring a new life to Liberty’s Karate, while keeping some of the tradition of Liberty’s Alive. The school struggled a little bit as the new Leadership discovered it’s direction. Sensei Jeff looked for some guidance from his top Instructors that were teaching at the time.
September 2002 saw growth for Liberty’s Karate as Sensei Jeff acquired a second location in Waterdown (formerly Bromley’s Martial Arts). This was because of the head Instructors, Sensei Mark and Vickie Bromley, both retiring themselves. Now with two locations, Liberty’s Karate was looking to be a great place to learn Karate.
2004 brought the first year that a member of the school represented Canada at the WKA World Championships. Sensei Jeff had became a member of the Canadian National Karate Team by enduring through a tough try-out. Once making the team he travelled to Switzerland to represent the Canadian Team in September at the World Championships. Sensei Jeff battled through a couple of difficult injuries and at the end of the championships had tied for ninth in the World in the Men’s Light Heavy Weight Sparring Division.
During all this time Sensei Jeff’s passion for continuing to learn was being tested. Without an Instructor, Sensei Jeff tried several different organizations in an effort to continue to learn. It is his belief that you should always continue to seek knowledge, and push yourself to that next level mentally. It was in 2005 that he found a solution. Sensei Jeff got involved with the North American Wado Kai Karate Alliance (NAWKKA for short). Sensei Jeff quickly became an important member of NAWKKA and in 2006 was graded. Sensei Jeff received his Fifth Degree Black Belt (Godan).
In 2006, Sensei Jeff started Team NAWKKA and became the first Head Coach of the team. That year saw Sensei Jeff qualify another member of Liberty’s to the Canadian National Team, with many more that were very close. There were two members from Team NAWKKA to represent Canada at the World Championships in Spain that year. The student from Liberty’s Karate went on to become a World Silver Medalist in her First World Championships.
In 2008, Liberty’s Karate had five members (all members of Team NAWKKA) head down to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to compete at the WKA World Championships. These members came back with three Bronze Medals; and a Silver Medal. This performance really showed what students of Liberty’s Karate can accomplish when they put their minds to it.
SEnsei Jeff was elevated to the position of President of The North American Wado Kai Karate Alliance and was awarded the title of Shihan. Shihan Jeff has provided great Leadership training and examples of Leadership for all the Instructors within NAWKKA. Shihan Jeff has since left NAWKKA to pursue other options and organizations.
2010 brought a new chapter to the book of Liberty’s Karate. It was learned in late 2009 that the recreation center that Liberty’s Karate had been running out of for more than thirty years was selected to undergo a huge renovation. The Recreation Center would be closed for more than one year. This forced Shihan Jeff to think of ways to ensure that the school would continue to operate. The decision was made at that time to move into our own building. Shihan Jeff quickly secured a location that was close to the original site. Today, Liberty’s Karate operates out of San Antonio Square, and looks forward to spending many years there.