A Brief History of Sensei Joël’s Journey in Karate

The Early Days

Sensei Joël Larose has had two run-ins with karate. Like many martial arts students, he first started practicing at age 11. He studied Wado-Kai karate under Sensei Denis Ayotte for two years in his home town of Hearst, ON, progressing through the first half of the colour belt ranks. Unfortunately, the dojo closed down, and the young Joël did not pursue karate at another dojo until much later.

Start Over

Years later, after graduating from high school, and then university (BMath, Computer Science, University of Waterloo), Sensei Joël restarted his martial arts career. He started again as a White Belt in 2005 in a new style, Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan, at Bonsai Martial Arts Waterloo under the tutelage of Sensei Tammy Milne. Sensei Larose earned his Shodan rank (1st degree Black Belt) in June 2011 and was promoted to Nidan (2nd degree Black Belt) one year later.

Okinawa 2013

During the summer of 2013, Sensei Larose had the privilege of going to Okinawa to train under Shorinkan’s grand master, Hanshi Minoru Nakazato (10th Degree Black Belt) and his North American representative Kyoshi Pat Haley (8th Degree Black Belt). There he met other members of the extended Shorinkan family from around the world, including the United States, South Africa, Australia, Viêt-Nam and of course Canada.

It was a fantastic trip, full of memorable experiences. It’s the kind of pilgrimage every karateka should aspire to do at least once in their lifetime, preferably more.

Birth of a New Dojo

In Fall of 2013, we received the sad news that Bonsai Martial Arts was closing. Sensei Joël was compelled to open a new karate school in Waterloo by his need to continue practicing, and the duty he felt towards his students who lost their dojo. February 24, 2014, was the first class at Larose Karate, a proud moment to be sure.

New Opportunities to Progress

Sensei Larose continued his training under Kyoshi Rick Roberts, teaching at both Larose Karate and Roberts Karate.  On June 12, 2015, Sensei Joël had the honour and privilege of testing in front of a panel of judges which included Nakazato Sensei and a few Hachidan (8th degree black belts). They promoted him to Sandan (3rd degree black belt).

The Journey Continues

Since Kyoshi Rick Roberts’ retirement, Sensei Joël continues his training under the supervision of Renshi Stephen Ferraro. In February 2019, Larose Karate celebrated it’s 5 year anniversary. On June 7, 2019, Sensei Larose humbly accepted his promotion to Yondan (4th degree black belt) presented by Renshi Ferraro and Kyoshi Haley.

Joël’s Life Outside the Dojo

Outside the world of martial arts, Sensei Joël works as a computer technician in Kitchener-Waterloo. You’ll often see him out and about on his bicycle. He enjoys playing board games with good company. He also likes training in the gym, swimming, and the occasional yoga class.

Sensei Larose is an out and proud gay man. He lives with his partner, Anthony Moore, and their two teenage sons. Together, they’ve been known to play Pokémon Go, and do other fun and sometimes geeky stuff.

Want to Learn from Sensei Joël?

If you live in Waterloo Region (Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo), come to our dojo and try a free lesson. We’ll show you the benefits of training in the martial arts, and how Larose Karate can give you those skills.