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David Seljak

3rd Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association 


First trained in Shōrinjiryū Kenkōkan Karate in Montreal from 1987-1990 achieving the rank of 1st kyu.Started training with Grand River Karate in 2003

Achieved Shodan in November 2011

Achieved Nidan in November 2013


I have been an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo since 1996.

Why I started

I joined Grand River Karate as part of the parents’ group after having enrolled my daughter Michaela (10-years-old at the time) in the kids’ class. She loved it and so did I! I loved sharing the classes, tournaments and trips to Michigan with my daughter as I watched her grow through her training and experience as a volunteer instructor. For a number of years, my son Gregory also participated. Michaela achieved 1st Kyu but then university studies put her karate on hold. Basically I joined in order to get some exercise while spending time with my kids.

Why I like Shidokan

I love Grand River Karate’s community-focus. It is a family club where individual members feel like family and where families are welcomed and respected. I loved that I was welcomed and encouraged not just as a student, but as a student with children and commitments outside of karate. I felt I was honoured as a whole person. This spirit is found throughout the Shidokan community and the Shidokan Karatedo Beikoku Association. At the National Training Seminars, Iha Sensei always reminds us that karate is about “friendship, cooperation and learning.” This is the spirit I have found to be at the heart of Shidokan and Grand River Karate.

What I Enjoy About Teaching

At the university, we often say that, like students, professors should be dedicated to learning—except more so! At Grand River Karate, the chief instructors model the “beginner’s mind.” Despite their advanced skills and virtuosity, they act like white belts—always eager to learn more and improve on what they have learned. I try to adopt that attitude when I teach. When teaching I often focus on something I am working on myself (balance, hip action, proper form, etc.). That way I learn from the students even as I teach them.

Other Interests

Alpine skiing, cooking, reading, and community work.

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