"Do not seek to follow in the
footsteps of the wise.
Seek what they sought."
- Matsuo Basho
What is Ai-Mute Shotokan Karate?
Ai-Mute Shotokan Karate is an American version of the traditional Japanese Shotokan Karate. Gichin Funakoshi brought Shotokan Karate to Japan from Okinawa. Many called it Shotokan because Funakoshi’s pen name was Shoto. Shotokan can translate to “Shoto’s Place”. For more information about the beginnings of Shotokan Karate and Gichin Funakoshi’s life, read “Karate-Do My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi”.
Sensei Larry Berkley originally developed Ai Mute Shotokan Karate. Sensei Berkley learned Traditional Shotokan from Sante Josol. Sante Josol experienced and ranked in Korean and Chinese arts, had begun the process of breaking away from the traditional Japanese style. Sensei Berkley was interested in exploring movement and worked to make Shotokan’s hard movements softer and more natural. Ai Mute means "natural open hands"; the name reflects Sensei Berley’s early work in soft movement. Sensei Bobby Peeler was Sensei Berley’s top student. He continued developing Ai Mute Shotokan when Sensei Berkley left the Detroit area to pursue other interests. Sensei Peeler added elements of his own style and personality, influence by African-American culture and the tournament circuit. Sensei Jaye Spiro, Sensei Peeler’s ranking student, has been working hard to recover some of our traditional Shotokan roots, particularly in the area of Kata.
Meet Jay Hawkins
Martial Arts Expert, Massage Therapist, & Intuitive Healer
JAY "Hawk" HAWKINS started his martial arts journey at age 13, under the guidance of Sensei Jaye Spiro at Mejishi Martial Arts in Detroit, Michigan. After 10 years of training, teaching, and competition, he attained the rank of Shodan in Ai-Mute Shotokan Karate. Shortly after this event, Jay moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue his career as a Hollywood Stunt Performer. He pursued a specialty in on-screen fighting and had the opportunity to work for AMC's Into the Badlands, Power Rangers, & stunt doubling for musical artist Kendrick Lamar and the late Chadwick Boseman. Continuing his pursuit for knowledge in martial arts, Hawk furthered his training in Karate and attained the rank of Nidan while also training in Bak Fu Pai Kung Fu under Sifu Dennis Wood and attained the rank of black sash. Continuing the pursuit of complete lifestyle practice of martial arts and wellness, Jay attended the National Holistic Institute where he was trained in both Western & Eastern modalities of massage therapy and deepened his passion for Traditional Chinese Medicine.
“I have experienced the transformative powers of martial arts at a young age. Teaching the culture, performance, and practicality of the arts has turned into my life’s work. I aim to translate all that I know to as many as I can; to children and adults alike.”