Welcome to Ed Docherty and His ICKF Dojo

Ed Dochterty with his family.

In December 2023, we were proud to accept Ed Docherty-Sensei and his International Chito-Ryu Karate & Fitness (ICKF) dojo as members of Ryusei Karate-Do Canada. Ed is a sixth dan who runs a strong school in Whitby, Ontario, and maintains a deep relationship with his own sensei, Art Bellhouse, one of the pioneers of Chito-Ryu karate in Canada.

A former Chito-Ryu Soke Cup champion, Ed is a full-time instructor whose dojo produces both successful competitors and serious students of traditional Chito-Ryu karate. Below, he answers a few questions to introduce himself to the larger Ryusei community.

Question: How did you start karate?

Answer: I started at seven. An older boy pushed me down at school and I wanted to learn how to fight. When I joined my first karate class, my hair stood up on my arms and on the back of my neck. I loved it. And then my dad [George Docherty] thought it was just too interesting, so two weeks later he joined as well.

Ed with his teacher, Art Bellhouse

Q:  You seem to combine a love of traditional Chito-Ryu karate with a highly successful competitive dojo, with students competing provincially, nationally and internationally. Was this mix intentional?

A: Yes, 100 percent. I believe when someone starts their karate journey when they’re young, they have that fire and want to fight and compete. And then as they grow, they should want to become an excellent martial artist. I believe karate has two peaks: One when you’re an athlete in your 20s and a peak later as a martial artist. I heard that O-Sensei was at his strongest when he was in his 60s.

I know that some clubs only have athletes. They don’t know any kata, bunkai or real karate. I think their teachers are doing them a disservice. When they are done competing, they probably won’t continue in their training. They only know a small piece of karate and will miss out on the lifetime practice.

Young Ed Docherty with his father, George, and the second-generation Chito-Ryu Soke.

Q: What was the highlight of your own competitive career?

A: When I won the [Chito-Ryu] Soke Cup in Norway in 2007. I had wanted to win that competition since I was little, so it was a thrill to stand on the podium finally.

Q: What attracted you to Ryusei karate?

A: I believe that Sakamoto-Sensei is the only one teaching [Dr. Chitose’s] koryu kata. I appreciate the open way he shares knowledge. There is a massive amount that I can learn from him. He can help me make my karate a lifelong study. He can open the door for me and my students to gain a much deeper appreciation of Chito-Ryu karate.