About Open Hand

Open Hand is a martial-arts nonprofit for our community. We use the principles and practices of traditional martial arts to develop a stronger, more connected, and empowered community. Values like responsibility, compassion, resilience, connection and confidence guide our work in and out of the dojo.

What We Do

Our goal is to bring the benefits of martial arts to anyone who wants them. We believe it’s not just the practice of karate that helps people be their best selves. It’s also the principles, which help us navigate a rough world and make it better for ourselves and those around us. We believe everyone can benefit from a welcoming place to work hard, strive, and be accepted no matter where you start. Not everyone wants to punch and kick, and we respect that.

Since we’re just getting started, our programming starts with the basics: karate classes through Wa Sen Shi Kan Dojo (Place of the Peaceful Warrior), Open Hand’s affordable after-school program that integrates karate and other activities to engage bodies and minds, and seminars for the public like life protection and how to use nunchucks.

We want to grow. Currently, we have all kinds of kids and adults in our karate classes, but we want to reach out further. We want to offer martial arts and situational awareness classes developed specially for veterans, homeschool kids, neuro-atypical kids and adults, aging populations, domestic abuse survivors, LGBTQ+, ex-offenders, and more. Open Hand participants will be visible in our community, partnering with organizations that need volunteers and connecting our families to existing resources. 

Martial Arts Practice

For people who want to train, Wasenshikan is the martial arts practice arm of Open Hand, using Ryukyu Kempo Karate as a tool to build stronger minds and bodies. We focus on self-improvement and cooperation instead of competition, and real-world application of karate techniques with an emphasis on protection of self and those around you. We believe in conflict avoidance and resolution first. Our karateka are fierce and capable, but you’ll see them stopping fights, not starting them. Our students develop strength, confidence, respect, and awareness. Our fees are low, and scholarships are available through the City of Cedar Rapids. Next year, we hope to offer significant scholarships of our own to make classes accessible to all. Learn more about Wa Sen Shi Kan.

Get Involved

Want to be part of an inclusive group that makes a real difference? Get involved.