Karate was originally envisioned as a method of self-protection, and is rooted in the martial traditions of Okinawa, China, India, Thailand, and Japan.   As a self-defense method, the practice of karate included various methods of striking, throwing, joint locks, and grappling.  These methods are recorded in karate’s forms, or kata.   When practicing kata, the student seeks to perfect these fighting movements.

Sport karate involves performance of kata and kumite.  In the kata contest, participants are judged on the quality of the performed kata movements.  Kumite is a form of fighting in which the combatants attempt to win the bout by scoring points using punches and kicks.  A point results when a blow is delivered to the target area.   In most types of kumite, fighters are expected to control the level of contact to avoid producing injury.  Some types of kumite contests allow throws and takedowns, and others do not.

The study of kata bunkai, or interpretation, is yet another facet of karate.  The katas contain a wealth of practical knowledge for self-protection and must be studied in detail for maximum benefit.

At Synthesis Martial Arts, we believe that the study of kata, bunkai, and kumite are excellent tools for the development of sporting and self-defence skills.



Judo is a Japanese martial art that specializes in throwing and ground grappling techniques.  Heavily devoted to competition, judo has been an Olympic sport since 1961.  Matches begin with contestants attempting to apply techniques to throw each other to the mat.  On the mat, players attempt to apply a pin, armbar, or strangling technique to make their opponent submit.

As in karate, the study of kata is an important part of judo practice.


What is Hajime?

The Japanese word ‘hajime’ (ha-jee-MAY) is the verbal command issued at the start of a karate or judo match to begin the match.  Some incorrectly assume that the word means “fight!” when actually it means  “to begin, or start”.   I have adopted the word into the Synthesis logo to remind us that, like a karate or judo match, many things in life are challenging…to achieve, the first step is simply ‘to begin’.


The Martial Arts as a Cross-Training Tool

Training in the martial arts promotes the development of speed, agility, balance, flexibility, strength, and power, as well as aerobic and anaerobic endurance.   These attributes make martial arts training an effective off-season cross-training tool for athletes who are primarily focused on other sports. Former NCAA Division 1 baseball player Patrick Vandoorne says,

“Synthesis Martial Arts offers a humbling, positive learning experience for all skill levels in an accepting friendly environment.  My balance, confidence, focus and discipline soared while my stress disappeared allowing me to achieve more success in every aspect of my life.”


Karate and Judo for MMA

MMA athletes require excellent striking, takedown, and grappling skills to be successful.  Karate fighters like Stephen Thompson and Lyoto Machida have proven that the techniques and footwork of karate are formidable weapons in the cage.  Similarly, Karo Parisyan and Ronda Rousey have shown that the throws and submissions of judo are highly effective.  Because karate and judo are not used commonly by MMA fighters, the addition of these techniques into a fighter’s arsenal provide an element of unpredictability.  MMA fighter Josh Goodheart says,

“Synthesis Martial Arts has helped me in my M.M.A. career in a variety of ways.  I began cross-training at Synthesis as a person with significant experience in kickboxing and jiu-jitsu.  My training at Synthesis has helped me with timing of opponents, striking accuracy, and getting used to competing against different styles in live sparring-type drills.  As well, Sensei Jeff Gervin is very knowledgeable in regards to helping me work on different styles of kicks, judo throws, and different angles to attack from both standing and on the ground.  I would strongly recommend Synthesis Martial Arts to anyone regardless of experience and future goals.”