Head Instructor – Sensei Nick Lagrasta, Sandan (3rd Degree) Black Belt Goju Ryu Karate / Shodan (1st Degree) Black Belt Kobudo (weapons) / CPR registered
Head of Administration/Assistant Instructor- Lisa Lagrasta, Shodan (1st Degree) Black Belt Goju Ryu Karate / 2nd Kyu Kobudo (weapons) / CPR registered
Nick Lagrasta was born in Toronto, Ontario and raised in Mississauga, a city he has called home for over 42 years. Being drawn to a rural life, he moved to the Shelburne area in the fall of 2010, where he saw need for a Classical Martial Arts school to serve the community.
His family immigrated to Canada in the 1950’s, where his father worked as a coal miner in British Columbia, then moved to Ontario in 1954.
As a young boy, he was not particularly drawn to team oriented sports, so he looked into training in Judo in 1980 at the age of 16, as what he felt was an alternative. A spark ignited that grew into a deeper interest and passion for the training.
In 1982, he trained in Aiki Kempo, and it was at this point that he began to seriously adhere to training in the martial arts, and was particularly drawn to the mental and spiritual aspects of the training. However, like most young men, he was also drawn to the competitive side of the training, and it wasn’t long before he found himself embracing a more full contact approach.
In 1985 he studied Full Contact Karate under Sensei Geoffrey Horner. He found this intensified level of training was great, but was pulling him away from a deeper side he felt drawn to.
The lesson of the classical martial arts and its philosophy really surfaced again after attending his first competition in 1986. There was a flurry of action and lots of energy, but he noticed the absence of a guiding classical lesson. There was an air of emptiness, bad attitudes, and lack of respect. He remembers approaching a sensei at the time regarding the bad manner in which one of his students was acting—the sensei was rude and nothing of the example he hoped to become.
This image further consolidated his progressive search for the classical example, and it was this early experience that further consolidated his progressive search for that example. However, as life unfolded, so did his responsibilities: managing a job, children, financial obligations, the regular obstacles we all share but often pull us from a higher purpose. This purpose was found through the training and study of Goju Karate in 2007.
Being a parent, and employee, a citizen, the ups and downs and learning from mistakes instead of quick solutions, resulted in a more digestive approach to the lessons he teaches to his students today. It is with the wisdom of living many years, making mistakes, knowing what lies beyond perseverance—the same obstacles parents face today—in tandem with his martial arts history, that he teaches.
In 2008, Mr. Lagrasta walked into the Classical Martial Arts Centre, Yume Da Po Dojo, where he met Sensei Jason Bassels. It was a life-changing experience, and he immiately fell in love with the Go Ju style of karate. After years of diligent training he achieved his Shodan Black Belt and opened his school here in Shelburne Ontario under the Classical Martial Arts banner.
In May of 2018 he renamed the dojo The Shelburne Martial Arts Centre to better reflect the community where he teaches. He continues to train beyond the Sandan level under the tutelage of sensei Jonathan Kenny of Toraguchi Martial Arts in Oakville Ontario. He has also attended numerous seminars under several notable Goju Ryu Karate and Arnis masters
He has also travelled overseas to the Phillipines to train in the art of Arnis under several notable Arnis masters, and has trained under Grand Master Bram Franks in Florida, USA.
He is both proud and deeply honored to have been given an opportunity to open a dojo right in the heart of Shelburne along with his wife Lisa , and it is their goal to bring the classical example of martial arts, and the beauty of GoJu Karate, to his community and those who choose to step on the path of his instruction.