Welcome to JKA Karate East Lothian

Japan Karate Association, East Lothian is a well-established family karate group with dojos in both west and east of the county.



If you are interested in training in a safe friendly atmosphere you are welcome to come along to one of our classes, you can join in or watch on the first evening. All you need is your bare feet, loose clothing and enthusiasm!

We have two dojos in East Lothian, one in the west of the county in Musselburgh and one in the east of the county, in North Berwick.  

As part of the Japan Karate Association,  we practice a refined form of Shotokan, the traditional karate style perfected by Master Funakoshi.  Our karate is not a game of points, weight classes or sport / demonstrations. It is a traditional martial art and way of life that trains our students to be peaceful, but if conflict is unavoidable, our students are trained to take down an opponent with a single blow.  

This requires strength, speed, focus and control, but these physical aspects are only part of the practice; they are just the vehicle, not the journey itself.  Through kihon (basic techniques), kumite (fighting skills) and kata (pre-set sequences of techniques) we learn to control our movements such that we can perform the techniques without conscious thought. 

In essence, the body remembers how to move and the mind remembers how to be still.

Some of the additional benefits of training in karate for people of all ages include:

  • Healthy weight loss.
  • Increased strength and flexibility.
  • Increased self esteem and confidence.
  • Constant learning and personal development.
  • Being able to set and achieve goals.


Tiger Cubs – an ideal way to entertain and educate your child

What is Shotokan Tiger Cub Karate ?

The Shotokan Tiger Cub class is a special class that allows younger children to experience the art of karate in a safer and less disciplined environment than the senior classes.

The accent is on fun, teaching fundamental movement skills and starting the process of helping your child to focus.

The ‘Tiger Cub’ name evolved as a direct result of the influence of the late world-renowned karate master, Sensei K Enoeda, 9th Dan KUGB JKA (Japanese Karate Association), who was nicknamed ‘The Shotokan Tiger’ for his strength, speed, power and fearlessness.

What can I expect my child to learn in this programme?

“Tiger Cubs Karate” is a programme of pre-Karate classes designed specifically for 4 to 6 year olds. We help children develop self-control, balance, co-ordination, flexibility, strength, memory and team work skills (ability to interact with other children in a group setting).

The classes are a mix of traditional Karate techniques, games and activities designed to introduce and reinforce these skills in a fun and exciting atmosphere.

Parents are welcome to stay and watch the classes, which are conducted in adherence with strict teacher to child ratios.

Once the child is confident enough, they can move into our all-grade classes and will have the opportunity to take part in gradings if they would like. This is not mandatory, however, and the children are only invited to grade if their instructor is sure they are ready – there is little benefit in rushing to this stage!

Class Structure

We start with a chat before formally lining up for class. Warmups for this age group are movement-based, like games of tig, before we move into light stretching, laying down patterns we hope will endure for life for our young people.


Tiger cubs go onto Karate Kids at 6, when they can start to do more complicated exercises safely

Self-Control & Discipline

The teachers facilitate the development of self-control in children by using positive guidance techniques such as modelling and encouraging expected behaviour, redirecting children to a more acceptable activity and setting clear limits. Frequent water breaks are taken, respecting the likely concentration span limits for young ones!

The clubs’ most senior instructor is Sensei Bert Stewart 5th Dan Black Belt (JKA), who is qualified and registered with the Scottish Karate Governing Body and approved by Sports Scotland.
Our classes offer training in all aspects of Shotokan Karate and we welcome all age groups, whether beginners, experienced students or those who may be returning to karate after a period of absence.  Training is provided on a personal level with the support and guidance of Sensei Stewart, as well as mentoring from other senior instructors.  

If you would like to learn more about the Japan Karate Association, our club or how to join us, please drop us an email or call us on our contact details.