Bellevue Koei-Kan new “Torii”. What is the story and meaning behind it?

20 May

Bellevue Koei-Kan new entry gate “Torii“.  What is the story and meaning behind it?

by Tiffany Roblessymbolic Torii in  dojo

The Bellevue Academy of Koei-Kan Karate-Do has added some Japanese inspired aesthetic elements to our training hall entry, with purpose. The intention is to draw attention to the threshold from the foyer to the training hall and ease transition to training.

Martial Arts Training Halls or “Dojo” of many styles use the symbolic representation of the “Torii” gate to help mark the significance of transitioning between our outside world and the inner training space of the dojo.  At the Academy, our first lesson involves the significance of how we enter into the training space. We do this by pausing, finding recognition to enter from the head instructor, bowing and entering into the training hall. We all know that it is more than a physical transition from one area to another. With the added symbolic trim of a Torii gate, we have a visual reminder to generate a mindset for sincere training. It reinforces the opportunity to quiet the mind and to leave behind any judgement or preconceptions of the days practice. Once we have entered the gate, we pay the closest attention to our dojo etiquette and engage our practice within the walls of the dojo.

How the entry gate came to life.

Torii sketching: before picture

Over the past 23 years, the Bellevue Academy of Koei-Kan Karate-Do has been built out from the talents and generous offering of labor, time, and often materials that gives us our space today. The entry gate and the new door trims through the facility came to life in this same fashion, and has a story of it own to tell.

painted cedar
reclaimed cedar used for Torii

Mr. Tim McGrath has been a woodworking hobbyist for a few years now.  When he heard about our remodel & expansion he offered to use some of his skills to add a natural and traditional form to unify different areas of the Dojo together.  Working from a favored style and picture from his teacher “Sensei” Sharif Robles, Mr.McGrath put into motion his creativity and delivered a well executed gate. He brought this project to life with the ability to connect the student experience with the purpose and intent of the gate. He said he was especially excited about the form because it allowed him to use some materials he had stored away.  The wood is Western Red Cedar and Mr. McGrath liberated it from a neighbors home that was about to be razed.  The wood was cut from old growth trees and had been siding on the home for approx. 40 years.  The many layers of paint were left intact and he simply used the other side as out gate faces.  If you look closely at some ends of the wood you might see some staining from the board ends that were near the ground and splashed on for 40 years.  Additionally, old nail holes can be seen throughout from it’s original installation.

We sincerely hope all who enter through the new entry gate can appreciate its significance and pass along it’s meaning to others who visit here.


Aim for Peace

03 Sep

The 2013-2014 student initiative is AIM for PEACE  through karate practice and study.

A. awareness

I. in

M. motion


P. participation


A. appreciation

C. courtesy

E. equality


Koei-Kan Grading System

23 Nov

Koei-Kan Grading System

The belt system serves as an incentive for the student to set goals and achieve proficiency as he or she progresses through the desired stages of development. The time needed to qualify for an earned rank is relative to a students performance.

White Belt: 1st, 2nd and 3rd rank.

Green Belt: 1st, 2nd and 3rd rank.

Brown Belt: 1st, 2nd and 3rd rank.

Black Belt: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grade.

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Bellevue Karate Kids: Testimonials

08 Oct


Posted by: Angelaraught, 9/28/2010 

Academy of Koei-Kan Karate-Do is an amazing Karate Dojo. Not only does it offer a kids program that teaches kids respect and responsibility for their self and others, it also offers a woman’s program. The woman’s program provides a woman’s only class that teaches Karate in a nom-intimidating and safe environment. I highly recommend all programs that are offered through Koei-Kan.


Posted by Jen F., 9/28/2010

My children have been attending Koei-Kan for just 2 months now but absolutely love it! They can’t wait to go each week–they practice on their own throughout the week and love to share what they’ve learned with others. They truly feel valued and a part of the family at Koei-Kan. They work so well with children, but do great work with everyone across the lifespan.


Posted by Susank, 9/28/2010

Training for the body, mind, and soul. Physically challenging, mentally rewarding. The Dojo has it all. My kids (5 & 7) train at Koei-Kan as do I, we all absolutely love it!


Posted by JayH, 9/27/2010

Koei-Kan Karate-Do – Has a wonderful family spirit to it. The Sensei are genuine people who make you feel like family. They have a woman’s Koei-Kan just for women on Fridays. They have an excellent children’s class which my two sons have been attending for the last 5 years. They are a very multi cultural group that attend. Every race, religion, age, and gender are welcomed.


Posted by: AzueaNervosa, 9/27/2010

My oldest has been attending for almost 9 years, my youngest for almost 5. Both have learned a lot about respect. It has been helpful in sports too! This is a great place for young kids to learn karate!


Posted by: Hernan A. 10/15/2009

Koei-Kan is simply a great place for adults and kids alike. The owners really do care about the students growth, in Karate and life. They have fostered a positive environment where you can grow and connect with others. The Students are reflection of that, a truly great group that are always supportive and there to help.


Posted by: Tim M, 10/1/2010

A great place for youngsters to begin learning a new skill and getting exercise in a very positive, non-aggressive and upbeat environment.


Posted by: Danielle J., 9/26/2010

Koei-Kan and Sensei Robles have completely changed my life. The dojo has given me family and friends, strength and courage, and the confidence to walk by myself at night, which I believe is SO important for woman.

I highly recommend it for children, adults, woman and men!


Posted by Mariah S., 9/25/2009

Koei-Kan Karate-Do has a rare combination of easygoing, accepting atmosphere and strong commitment to discipline. It is a home away from home, like a dojo should be, and Sensei pays attention to the needs of each student like they are family.


Recommendations from Best of Western Washington


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