Founded by Sensei Isao Wada in Mountain View in the 1970’s, Satsuma Dojo (www.satsuma dojo.us) has existed in the South Bay for over 50 years. The 2nd and current chief instructor is Jay Castellano, Hanshi and 8th degree black belt.
Wada Sensei (born in the U.S. in 1952) began his karate training at the age of 12 with Soke Isamu Tamotsu, founder of Dai Nippon Renshinkan Karate-Do, while attending school in Kagoshima, Japan. He returned to the U.S. in 1970 to join the Army, where he taught hand-to-hand combat and trained with renowned Shotokan karate master Takayumi Mikami while stationed in New Orleans. Upon leaving the Army, he moved to the Bay Area and founded Satsuma Dojo. In 1983 Satsuma Dojo became one of the first three dojos in the U.S. to join Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa’s Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation (SKIF). Wada Sensei first performed at the Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival in the late 1980’s. Regrettably, he needed to retire from karate in 2000 and passed away in 2018.
Castellano Sensei began his own judo and karate training in 1966 and joined Wada Sensei in 1980. He became Satsuma Dojo’s chief instructor upon Wada Sensei’s retirement in 2000. For the past 17 years, Satsuma Dojo has offered classes through the City of Sunnyvale, always through a team of volunteer instructors, and much of that time providing over $200,000 per year of in-kind service to the community. Satsuma Dojo continues its close affiliations with Renshinkan Karate-Do and SKIF and continues to value its opportunities to provide demonstrations for the Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival. Satsuma Dojo (www.satsuma dojo.us) currently offers classes for ages 7 to 80+ at the Yu-Ai Kai Center in San Jose.
Karate (“empty hand”) is a martial art developed for self-defense in Okinawa in the 1600’s feudal Japan. Its migration to Mainland Japan in 1922 is attributable to Master Gichin Funakoshi. Both Kanazawa Soke and Mikami Sensei trained directly with Funakoshi Sensei in the 1950’s before his passing in 1957. Karate consists of punches, kicks, strikes, and blocks as well as throws and joint locks. Diligently practicing these elements in the forms of basics, kata (pre-arranged fighting forms) and kumite (sparring) allows practitioners to reap the benefits of personal development, sports competition, self defense and fitness.