Karate-Do Kenwakan

After a number of years as a member of a large karate organization, Karate-Do Kenwakan has emerged as a unique combination of traditional Japanese karate and modern Western somatic movement science. We have done away with the traditional one-size-fits-all training methods many other schools rely upon and, instead, offer a comprehensive program that is personalized, professional and rewarding at every level.




Shihan Michelle Gay is a martial artist, Laban Certified Movement Analyst, Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist. She is a uniquely qualified instructor devoted to uncovering the natural athlete in everyone while developing martial artists’ strength and compassion. Along with her regular SFMAI schedule of classes and special workshops, she teaches Anatomy and Kinesiology at the Manhattan Center for Alexander Technique, and guest teaches for the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, Dalton HS, and Broadway Dance Center. Her first book, Brain Breaks, Movements for the Classroom, was published in 2009.

A 5th degree Black Belt and 5-time World Oyama Knockdown Champion, Shihan holds many North American Open Tournament Championship titles in kata and kumite. In 2004 she completed a 50-woman kumite at the historic “A Woman’s Right To Fight” in NYC. The event, created to showcase the fighting spirit of the extraordinary women who practice full-contact karate, drew participants from the US, Japan and Canada. She won the Canadian Kyokushin Knockdown Division in 2001. In 2002 she took 2nd place and the Fighting Spirit Award at the Seidokaikan “Knockdown Kings” tournament in NYC. I

Her other studies have included AUSKF Iaido (Nidan), Yang Style Tai Chi with the late Grandmaster Cheng Hsiang Yu, BJJ with Equipe Jucao, Embodied Anatomy and Kinesiology with Amy Mathews, Anatomy and Kinesiology with Irene Dowd, Integral Anatomy (cadaver dissection) with Gil Headley, PHD, Experiential Anatomy, Embryology, with Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen.