Maine Traditional Karate (MTK) is a chartered member of the Okinawan Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito Karate and Kobudo Federation (OSMKKF). Headed by Okinawan Grandmaster, Fusei Kise, and his son, Kaicho (federation president) Isao Kise, OSMKKF dojos can be found throughout the world. Eighth degree black belt and OSMKKF United States Director, Hanshi John Shipes serves as Sensei to MTK Head Instructor, Steve Apsega, Godan (5th degree black belt). Sensei Apsega regularly travels to train with Hanshi Shipes as well as to assist in hosting annual visits made to the US by Master Kise and Kaicho Isao Kise. In August 2016, MTK provided its youth and adult students direct access to the OSMKKF lineage by co-hosting a 5 day training seminar led by Kaicho Isao Kise and the United States senior OSMKKF leadership. MTK adult classes provide students aged 13 and up instruction in the empty hand self-defense techniques, traditional weaponry (kobudo), and tuite (joint manipulation techniques) associated with the 300-year-old system of Shorin Ryu karate-do. Lessons involving Okinawan culture, customs, and language round out instruction by providing a larger framework within which to understand, interpret, and apply the material being taught.

Periodic advancement testing allows assessment of each student’s mastery of kata, ippon kumite (one-step sparring), the 25 basic exercises, joint lock techniques, weaponry, kumite (sparring) and Okinawan culture and customs. Those able to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum appropriate for their rank are promoted. Promotion unlocks access to instruction to the next level of techniques in the formal curriculum offered.

Adult classes are currently held two times per week, with the option of attending a third combined child/adult/family class.

Adult Class At A Glance

Basic Exercises

involve 25 techniques generally performed in sets of 10 or 20. The techniques practiced form the building blocks of our art (e.g., different types of kicks, blocks, and strikes). Performed at a brisk pace during the first part of most classes, the basic exercises provide an excellent cardiovascular workout.


is a series of fighting movements combining breathing, striking, and defensive techniques to suit innumerable situations. These fighting movements are manifested in the form of choreography, which allows the student to fully express the four basic tenets of Karate: speed, strength, technique, and esthetic value (beauty). Each kata has a particular rhythmical sequence (without which it would be mere movement)


is the study of weaponry. Beginning at blue belt, karateka receive training in use pf the bo (staff), sai, kama (sickle), tonfa, nunchaku, nitan bo, eku, teko, and nunti bo


is the art of joint manipulation. Specific tuite sets must be mastered at each rank of 6 kyu and above. Students progress from wrist locks and arm bars up through goosenecks and ultimately on to advance techniques of gun, knife, and strangulation defense.

Ippon Kumite

involves a series of predefined attack/defend scenarios. Sets associated with each rank provide a controlled setting for partners to practice and refine techniques as well as to build muscle memory to help defense/counter-attacks to become nearly reflexive.


or sparring involves actual empty hand combat against single or multiple attackers. Kumite occurs within the safety of the dojo and under the strict supervision of our Sensei. Protective gear and safety protocols are employed. The pace or intensity of sparring matches are driven by the lowest rank in the encounter.