The ancient teachings of the Samurai warrior live on in a martial arts studio on Quadra Street where local karate expert Ken Marchtaler conducts his classes.
Already holding a fifth degree black belt and more than 20 years experience in the martial arts Marchtaler was recently awarded the title of Renshi, or Polished Master, one of three Samurai warrior titles.
Marchtaler underwent a five hour test in California in December, a test that included a grueling one hour crossfit session to start, to achieve his title.
Asked how important the title was to him personally Marchtaler said “I wasn’t aware of how important it would be for me. But it has made me realize how significant it is, not only in Japanese Society, but to my students, my teacher, and to our Grandmaster Shugoro Nakazato, Intangible Cultural Asset Japan (not to mention my wife who posted it to Facebook only minutes after I told her).”
He also said that “As for the title of Renshi, what I can say is that about one in every 100 students that starts martial arts makes it to Black Belt. There are no statistics beyond that, but very few make it to 2nd degree and even less beyond that. The title of Renshi is only applicable to those Japanese Martial Arts registered in the Martial Arts registry in Japan. That means Taekwondo, Kung Fu, etc have different titles, etc. So it is very rare.”
The former banker was introduced to the karate shortly before moving to Victoria and his passion for the sport gradually evolved from being a student into teaching as well.
He now runs the Warrior Martial Wellness Centre #1 and has developed a variety of programs that provide traditional martial arts training that take into account Western needs.
His workshops include programs for men and women but he is particularly concerned with children developing proper wellness and fitness habits.
Marchtaler has written a book for kids Little Warriors: The Book of One, that incorporates his teachings. That novel has already been optioned for a movie.