Cold weather and the pandemic haven't slowed down a school of self-defence in Whitehorse.
The Makoto Shōri Ryū (Truth Victory School of Thought) continues to hold youth and adult self-defence classes.
The school has been operating in the city for six years.
The Star dropped in on the school during the kids' MSR Karate class (which
combines American Karate from Joe Lewis Fighting Systems (JLFS) founder
Joe Lewis with Kodokan judo), where they were starting a six-week sparring
The coach/sensei and owner, Graeme Campbell, taught a variety of sports in
Scotland, including swimming, gymnastics, personal training. He explained
how the school came about.
"I was teaching (a) fitness kickboxing class, which is completely different to
teaching martial arts. I just got asked 'can you do a self-defence class for the
kids?' and at first I said no, just because they are so different – teaching fitness
and teaching self-defence. I was only asked because I do have experience in
martial arts already, so as soon as the students found that out, they wanted me
to increase the fitness and they wanted to learn martial arts instead of the
fitness kickboxing stuff. Eventually I just said 'cool!" So I took some time and
upgraded my qualifications to get some proper self-defence and
kickboxing(certifications) and started the club. And we're still going – six,
seven years later," related Campbell.
He explained one of the reasons he's still running the school.
"Let's just say I had a college student write a paper maybe two or three weeks
ago about the biggest, most positive influence on their life. One of the things
they put down was the gym. They mentioned a couple of guys from the gym
... he said he mentioned me, and that's why we do it, because it gives folk a
place to come and they can develop personally, they can develop physically,
mentally ... even guys have their own personal life philosophies that they go
by, so you can say they develop spiritually as well.
"Then there's the self-defence aspect. You want people to know how to stand
up for themselves and feel like they're safe."
Campbell said the students get a lot out of the classes.
"They get discipline, they get encouragement, they get physical fitness, they
get a place to come and release that natural tension, maybe, is a good word,
where they maybe just want to go and spar and punch a pad and wrestle to the
ground. These places where they can do that are getting less and less. You
can't do it at school anymore – not like you used to be able to. Some kids
aren't allowed to do it at home, for whatever home reason, I don't know. But
this gives them a place where they can do that.
"They have to wear their uniform. Their uniform has to be clean. It's their
responsibility. They have to train for gradings and exams. So there's a lot of
discipline and I think they like that. I know the parents do."
COVID-19 protocols include ages 12 and up must be double-vaccinated,
spectators must wear masks, long sleeve rashguards top and bottom are worn
for no gi grappling classes, use of hand sanitizer, no sharing of gloves and
equipment, staying home if feeling unwell, and respecting fellow students
right to train in a safe environment.
• Kids' ages 5-10: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday
• Ages 10-16: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday Wednesday, Friday, and a Saturday class at 11:30 a.m.
• Adult age 16+: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Tuesday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Campbell can be contacted by cell at (867) 689-5307 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Makoto Shōri Ryū Humbu Dojo is located at 166 Titanium Way in Whitehorse.