Kitchener-Waterloo Meibukan Karate Dojo


Why are you looking at taking karate? Are you looking to have cool skills? If so, this is not the place for you. Kitchener-Waterloo Meibukan Karate Dojo does not churn out kids and adults who have the "karate chop" skills. Sensei Kao establishes a sense of self, a betterment of the individual with his lessons. His philosophy and methods centre on the growth of the person. He cares for the whole of the student; even his day job reflects that outlook. This dojo is a reflection on his commitment to provide instruction in karate to others, to expand knowledge, to be socially responsible in the community, and to generally be a good, productive member of society. Sensei expects levels of respect and, in turn, you will receive the same. The dojo is not daycare like some others are. You will be expected to work for your belt advancements. Conversely, there are also many fun activities. Games like tag (when not in a pandemic) may seem fun but have ulterior motives such as establishing teamwork, physical endurance, comprehension, and fairness. Sensei Kao kept the dojo operational virtually using Zoom during the pandemic and is now socially distancing at the outdoor venue. Sensei has consistently trained champions at all the competitions using a fair, disciplined approach, encouraging excellence. This testimonial may appear to be an advertisement. It is because I can't say enough good things about the dojo and Sensei. My daughter, now 12, has been with Sensei and the KW Meibukan Karate Dojo for several years now. We did compare two other dojos before deciding to continue with Sensei Kao. While we, at the time, didn't care what style of karate my daughter was involved in, we have determined that Meibukan is a more gentle, peaceful approach to martial arts. It is a defence method. When all other methods of conflict resolution are exhausted, like talking, walking away, then you can use the karate knowledge to defend yourself if warranted. That approach and philosophy works with our family. Tournaments are similar. There is no combat -- fighting others, it's about your kata form. With Sensei's guidance and leadership, my daughter has walked away with many first place finishes in such a short span of time. I would certainly not hesitate to recommend the dojo but you must be in the right mindset to train. If you want a session or two to learn the basics, use a dojo with its own studio space. If you want to better yourself as a person, consider Kitchener Waterloo Meibukan Karate Dojo.

Chris L and family

I'm a 14 year old girl going to high school right now. I started karate just THIS January, that's only 11 months ago and I'm already a yellow belt. THIS January guys. I was in grade 8 and I started karate. You are never too old or late to join. To be honest though, I did kind of felt like I stood out, there's this 5'5 girl who just joined karate wearing her white belt and then there're these little kids, around grade 4-6 who were wearing these orange belts. You know, being older and more mature than them, it felt weird to be the lower rank. But that was okay. Sensei and the rest of the dojo family welcomed me with open hands, there was nothing to be nervous of. Training is hard. But it feels super good. You get a good work out and you learn knew things every day, whether it's a new kata, self-defense move, or just plain, but important, life advice. And all of that learning doesn't come from just the sensei. It also comes from your peers around you, whether they're older or younger, or higher or lower belt rank than you. Whenever I have a bad day and it's a karate night, I go feeling real down, but I come out feeling super good, releasing my stress and emotions out on a good night training the mind, body and spirit. Even as a newbie, you can bring new things to the dojo because you're fresh to the whole karate thing, therefore you look at things differently than everybody else who already has the karate idea implanted in them. You take in every single thing because it's all new to you. I still remember that moment when sensei and two other students were performing a kata and we were supposed to try to spot the mistake the students were making comparing them to sensei's example. And guess who got the answer after many wrong guesses by the other students... The newbie white belt. Come join karate. If you're not sure about it, at least come try it out! I would really appreciate it if another girl my age would join, since I'm currently the only one in the adult class. Gotta represent that girl power ladies! Let's kick butt!! I'm honestly so glad I joined and am looking forward to the many memories I will make with karate ahead! Thank you my dojo family, for making this a wonderful experience for me!

Colleen D.

Sensei Kao has a great way with teenagers and really connects with them. As a parent, I know my teenager doesn’t always listen to me--it’s great to have Sensei Kao as a positive role model in his life. The outside-the-dojo events and BBQs are great for building a community and friendships outside of highschool. His impact and his many memorable sayings are felt outside of class and beyond the dojo walls. Highly recommended!

Dave E.

We are blessed to find a karate teacher like Kao Saechao. Our son enjoys coming to the dojo and learns more than he ever did at any other martial arts dojos we have tried. Here with Kao we feel that our son is part of the dojo family that teaches not only how to perform, but the culture of Japan. Thank you Kao.


I came across Sensei Kao's dojo searching online for somewhere to train in martial arts while in the KW area to do a masters degree. I had no experience in martial arts of any kind, though had a history of meditation and yoga. I wasn't sure which style of martial art would be a good fit for me and I was concerned about getting stuck in a style that wouldn't quite offer the whole fulfillment I was looking for. In my dojo to dojo tour of free introductory classes, I knew I needed to look no further after my trial class with Sensei Kao. He offered what to me was the perfect balance between having fun, training hard, and honouring the 'way of life' that the sacred discipline of karate is. Sensei Kao's warm and friendly personality is reflected in all the students who train at the dojo. I could go on and on about the benefits to my life in many different areas that I received from my training. The two most notable perhaps were a renewed sense of vitality and connection to the natural world through my physicality, something that I was lacking as a city dweller and student. The second, was an increased ability to stand in who I am and what is important to me, in a grounded and respectful way.

Luke Burton

I have been watching my two girls in Karate for the past 5 months and I have seen how much they love it and are having so much fun learning in Sensei Kao's Dojo. Sensei Kao is so comfortable with people so they are drawn to him right away, this was definitely the case with Megan & Courtney. He is an encouraging and positive person not only in the dojo but outside of it as well. Kent & I are so happy that they love it and really feel comfortable learning Karate with someone who has invaluable qualities that will influence the way they grow up.

The more I sat and watched, the more I wanted to learn, and at times sat on the edge of my chair, wanting to do all the things they were learning. I had this feeling that I just couldn't sit and watch anymore, I had to learn it for myself. This past January, after the girls class, with some persuading from my daughters, ( I think they were getting tired of me saying I want to, but I'm not sure...) I told Sensei Kao that I wanted to start Karate. Sensei Kao told me I could start the next class. I was so excited and also relieved that I finally sorted out the debate in my mind, whether or not to join Karate. I think it is something I have needed my whole life but just didn't know it. I was very nervous the first class and it has taken me a bit of time to get over my nervousness, but I love the challenge of learning Karate and the exercise that goes with it is so good for me.

Sensei Kao notices everything, you can't get much by him, so don't even try! He points out what we are doing well but also what we need to work on. He also notices if our hair looks messy or different or if we have tired eyes, and it makes us laugh! Obviously he pays attention to detail so that's a great thing when you are learning Karate. You want to learn everything you can!!

Thank you Sensei Kao for your encouragement, and help to my two girls and to me. We are so happy that we are learning Karate, and are a part of the Karate family! Thank you so much!!

Andrea Taylor, age (I'm not telling!)

I started Karate this past September, and I liked it right away because Sensei Kao is a great teacher and is very helpful. I think that Karate is fun and good to learn. There are many things that you can use in your everyday life and it keeps you healthy and strong. Thank you Sensei for helping me learn Karate, I really love it a lot!!

Megan Taylor, age 11

I really like Karate, it makes you feel more confident in yourself and it makes you stronger. It is really fun to learn about and Sensei Kao is a very good teacher, he helps us do all the proper punches and kicks and other things, like keeping your thumbs tucked in. Thank you Sensei Kao!

Courtney Taylor, age 9

I've been a student training in Sensei Kao's adult class since October 2011. Sensei Kao, as the Chief Instructor at the dojo, makes sure he balances his time between his students. With that said, I have had the pleasure of receiving several one-on-one lessons from Sensei. He brings knowledge he has learned in Okinawa back to his dojo to inform his instruction, which is always up to date, and to help his students' learning. In all of his classes Sensei creates a soothing environment that is still physically challenging (in a good way!).

Since I began training with him, Sensei Kao has shown a genuine enthusiasm and friendliness. He hasn't created "just a dojo," he's helped create a community that is welcoming and inviting for people of all ages. In addition to being trained with him in the adult class, I have had the privilege of working with Sensei while he instructs children/youth between the ages of 3-12. In these classes Sensei is wonderful with kids of all ages and with adults. He is obviously very passionate about working with all people regardless of their age or background.

I recommend that anyone interested in physical fitness and becoming a part of a great community join Sensei Kao's dojo.

David Nunn, age 22

Self-confidence, strength, stamina, and self-awareness. These all describe values that I have felt increase since I started training under Kao Sensei. He instills a sense of unity and enthusiasm among all of us (his students) and it has allowed me to feel a part of the greater Meibukan family. I love the depth of the physical and spiritual training I've experienced through the guidance of Kao Sensei, and I highly recommend this Dojo to any seeking to learn the art of Traditional Karate.

Micah Holden, age 29


Hello, Our son Owen has been a student of Sensei Kao since he began offering classes earlier this year. Although he didn't show much interest in Karate before he joined the class, Owen absolutely enjoys going and is upset when he missed classes after being sick. I attribute this solely 100% to his Sensei Kao and how he is with the children. I watch the lessons and the kids are all fully engaged not only with Sensei Kao, but also with each other. In Owen's class there is a wide range of ages but they all work together and each work at their own level while being a part of the overall group.

Sensei Kao is a wonderful instructor who somehow can keep a group of kids not only engaged in learning Karate but also entertained while doing so. He is very patient with all the kids who are all competing for his attention and to be the best in the class. Our other son took Karate at another place in town and there is no comparison between the two and what the difference is. I would strongly recommend Kao as an instructor to anyone, especially children. I have talked with the other parents and they all say the same thing. We plan to enroll our 3 yr old son Brodie when he is a little older.

Dan & Leanna Dunlop


I first met Sensei Kao in 2007 when he came to train at the Guelph Budokan Centre of Martial Arts where my daughter and I are students. He instantly became a part of our family there. He is so helpful to all students, during and after class, and he even offered classes for anyone wishing to have extra training. I am so excited for Sensei Kao to be opening his own dojo now! He has this passion for karate and love of teaching that creates such a positive learning atmosphere for both children and adults. You can expect your children to gain confidence, self-discipline and respect while learning a valuable martial art. He is a great person to train with, learn from and just be around!

Lisa Fisher-Haworth

‘I think Sensei Kao is an awesome karate teacher because he always makes class fun and you always learn lots in his class. I also think that Sensei Kao is a nice teacher and he is always willing to help you during class and will answer any questions.’

Olivia Haworth, Age 10