In 1969, Kyoshi Robert Herten brought the art of Shorin Ryu karate to Northern New Jersey. The Okinawan Karate Institute occupied a modest space in Totowa, NJ. It was so small the students nicknamed it the "Naihanchin dojo" because the side-to-side movement of the Naihanchin katas were the only ones the whole class could practice together. Teaching the traditional karate he learned in Okinawa, he expanded the school from 20 to more than 40 students. Soon it was bursting at the seams. It was time to move to larger quarters.
Although his second dojo in West Paterson was a great success, constant flooding whenever it rained forced him to retreat to higher ground in Paterson four years later. The second floor facility on a side street was dry, but the saying "location is everything" is true. Diminished but not defeated, Kyoshi moved OKI around the corner to a smaller space on the main street and began to rebuild. Five years later, with a strong student base, it was on to Little Falls. There, Kyoshi Herten decided to bring ancient tradition into the twentieth century.
After only three years of successfully applying modern business practices to the running of the dojo, Kyoshi Herten again sought larger quarters. And, typical of Martial Art's circular path, in 1988 OKI moved back to Totowa.
OKI soon boasted a large enrollment. But bigger is not always better and Kyoshi Herten became disappointed with the quality of his students. It was time to downsize. "I wanted to create an exclusive school that would become the Harvard of the Martial Arts," he explains.
Today, Kyoshi Herten's newest OKI Totowa location bears testimonial to his traditional roots in Okinawan Karate. Everything from the inviting waiting room to the beautifully detailed matted training area tells you that serious martial arts are practiced there. Kyoshi Herten has adopted the philosophy that it's not the quantity of students but the quality of students that counts.
|The United Shorin-Ryu Karate Association (USA) welcomes new members. Students and instructors now practicing Shorin-Ryu Karate should contact Kyoshi Herten for information on Association membership, winter and summer training camps, seminars, and special weapons camps.You do not have to practice Shorin-Ryu Karate to be a Kobudo member.|