For over twenty years the senior blackbelts of this dojo talked and dreamed about owning our own building in this area. We investigated many locations and it just never seemed to work out for us. That all changed when we found out that the two buildings located at 879 & 895 Arcade Avenue in Seekonk, Massachusetts were for sale in the fall of 2001. The thought of purchasing this property was presented to the senior members of our Karate group. When enough senior members expressed interest in attempting to buy this property a plan was developed and executed. There were many obstacles to overcome (such as financing, zoning, renovations, etc.), yet one by one they were solved.We officially took ownership of this property in June 2002. We immediately began renovations to the large red building so that it could become our new Dojo. The red building, at 879 Arcade Avenue officially opened as our new Dojo in September 2002. At that time we combined the students of the Riverside, Rhode Island and Rehoboth Massachusetts Shotokan Karate-Do Dojos into one new Dojo. The new name for this new Dojo was now the “New England Martial Arts Dojo” (a.k.a. NEMAD). This new name was chosen because we were offering classes in Shotokan karate, Aiki-jutsu, Kendo and Tai Chi.
Our dream and hope had become a reality! We now owned our own waterfront Dojo (our “clubhouse”) on over one acre of land. Our building has two floors that are completely utilized for martial arts related activities. The ground floor features a small dojo area with a heavily matted floor. This area is used for Aiki-jutsu classes and as a second Shotokan class area (primarily for beginners). This area also features numerous hanging bags of different sizes and an area devoted to striking wall-mounted targets (maki-wara). The rest of the ground floor area contains a fully equipped weight room, a bathroom/locker room and a front entrance with a waiting area. The second floor of the Dojo features our largest classroom area. This is where the Shotokan classes are located. The ceilings are very high which allows us to do our weapons training indoors all year long. The second floor also contains men’s and women’s locker rooms, a bathroom, an office and a waiting area. Our property is fenced and we do outdoor classes when the weather permits. The other building on our property, the white building at 895 Arcade Avenue, has been leased to Applied Chiropractic since March 2003. Doctor Ned Jastram is the Chiropractor there and both he and his family are students (brown and black belts) of ours.
There are currently six owners, Shotokan Associates Ltd, of these two buildings. All of these people work together to ensure that traditional martial arts continue to have a permanent home in this area. We also rent our building to other like-minded artists who need affordable teaching space. In this way we are able to share our Dojo with other deserving groups and give something back in return for our good fortune in finally owning our own “home”. In addition to Aiki-jutsu, Kendo and Tai Chi we have also provided teaching space for classes in All Range Combat, Yoga, Belly Dancing and Meditation.
“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” ~ Chinese Proverb