Granite Forest Dojo

Perkasie-based Granite Forest Dojo is more than just a place where people learn to practice the art of karate. Under the leadership of Sensei Bruce Costa, its members participate in many different community-oriented events that benefit worthy organizations, such as the Christopher Court Foundation.

Granite Forest Dojo is a member of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF). Shotokan Karate is renowned for its five basic principles: seek perfection of character; be faithful; endeavor to excel; respect others; and refrain from violent behavior. These values came from Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan. Sensei Costa, the founder of Granite Forest Dojo, with his four decades of experience, never thought he would have his own karate school. “I didn’t believe that I was going to have a dojo of my own,” Costa said during an interview. His wisdom is shared with all his students that come to his dojo. He also published a book in September titled, “Welcome to Karate: Unlocking the Wisdom of the Beginner’s Mind.” The book discusses the principles, traditions, techniques, etiquette, and support for beginner martial artists. Sensei Costa trained under the Grandmaster Teruyuki Okazaki, who was a tenth-degree black belt and founder and chief of the ISKF.

Costa said karate is a valuable skill for people of all ages to learn. “It shows there is more to someone than what’s on the outside.” But his role as a sensei did not come easy. He stated, “it took decades of talking with other senseis and endless willingness to get up and never to quit.”
The dojo offers classes such as Ninjas, ShotoKids, and Shotokan classes. Each class is geared towards a different age group, catering to the needs of the students. They also produce videos for the students and the public to utilize.

Ethan Kim, a member at GFD, said his greatest motivation was getting his black belt. He is now reaching for a second-degree black belt. “Karate established a foundation for fundamental rules to follow in my daily life,” he said. Kim also mentioned he understands the importance of taking an oath at the end of each class. He stated, “Shotokan is a balance of physical, mental, and meditational exercises. It’s a mix of self-defense and an art form.” Based on his experience with martial arts, Kim knows that anyone starting out will have a long way to go before they are able to master difficult skills and precise techniques. He added, “it takes time to show results; your body has to get used to difficult moves and memorize sequences.”

GFD also supports organizations like the Christopher Court Foundation. Christopher Court was a youngster who passed away from brain cancer when he was seven. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor while he was taking classes at Granite Forest Dojo. Christopher was a gifted student; as Sensei Costa stated, “he had exceptional talent on the scale of most 7-year-olds. “He received a lot of support from family and friends, and [GFD] continues to support the foundation. Dojo students also participate in a number of community activities, such as the Pennridge Community Day and Perkasie Fall Festival, putting on a demonstration so other people can see the benefits of learning karate.