An interview with Kevin Downard and Jane Curry, owners and instructors at Kensho Traditional Shotokan Karate located in both Fairfield Township and Monroe, Ohio (formerly Indian Springs Family Karate.) Kevin and Jane are full-time instructors teaching both children and adults. Kevin began his training in 2005 and Jane started more recently in 2015. They are avid seminar-goers and maintain a robust online social media presence, often showcasing Jane’s exemplary photography skills, documenting their many travels and insights in addition to the training at their own dojo.
How many kids do you have training at your dojo?
We have about 45 students who attend our two dojo on a regular basis, we also have two after school clubs that average 15-20 students each. Five, out of fourteen, of our own children train karate with us.
How do you balance karate and family?
As far as balancing karate and family, we may not be so good at it, as we are in the dojo seven days a week. Karate is our everyday life. Outside of karate we do take the kids hiking, movies, and the local amusement park almost every other weekend.
Tell us about your recent dojo name change?
We had been thinking of a name change for quite a while, but it never seemed the right time and we were at a loss for ideas. So, as we were in the middle of a Steve Ubl Sensei seminar, he made mention of the concept of Kensho, the initial spark or enlightenment that initiates the process of deeper study. At that moment, even from across the room, we knew that it would be our new dojo name. That completely described where our karate training and our dojo was at that point in time…we had recently been introduced to karateka outside of our small Midwest circle and it was exciting….we wanted to learn more!
Who has influenced your training the most?
Steve Ubl Sensei and Scott Langley Sensei have been most pivitol and influential to us both. We met Scott Langley Sensei and Steve Ubl Sensei in the same year…it was mind blowing to say the least. Not only were these two Sensei some of the most talented present day karateka, they were such genuine and sincere teachers. They always made a point to answer even the most tedious questions. (we all know how endless that can be when it comes to Jane’s technical inquisitions.) It didn’t matter that she was “only a kyu rank”, they would patiently respond to each and every question. In fact, months later, Steve Sensei agreed to come teach at our dojo summer of 2017 and Scott Sensei is teaching at our dojo that year.
How has karate changed you?
It hasn’t really changed us, if anything it’s made us more confident and comfortable in who we already are.
What do you enjoy most about karate?
There are so many things we enjoy about karate. The endless studying and training, yet never reaching perfection. We both love the opportunity it has given us to travel to new places and meet new people.
What’s the best advice you have for improvement in karate?
Take your time. Focus on the fundamentals and enjoy each aspect of the journey. Also, be patient with yourself, all good things take time. Always remember that karate is a lifelong journey.
Any upcoming events at your dojo?
This April we will be hosting a seminar with Scott Langley (HDKI & author of Karate Stupid & Karate Clever), Guy Brodeur (Shotokan Canada), and Wayne Cottle (from Steve Ubl’s dojo). In July we will host Simon Bligh (HDKI) and JD Swanson (author of Karate Science). Like our Facebook Page for a complete rundown of our many upcoming events.
Learn more about Kevin & Jane’s dojo here: Kensho Shotokan
Interview by Margaret Glime | Margaret is a student at Steve Ubl’s dojo in San Diego. She is a regular social media contributor for the Shuhari Institute and is a founding member of the Shuhari Youth Fellowship. Instagram @MergeTheBarge