Sensei Lee-Ann Lainchbury tests student Ava Akeson during five to ten-year-old yellow to green belt class at Shogun Martial Arts.

Passion fuels family-run martial arts business

Senseis Sheldon and Lee-Ann Lainchbury make a career out of Karate

The Lainchbury family of Shogun Martial Arts make their business a family affair, whether that is referring to their own immediate family or the extended dojo family they have built up over the past decade in Williams Lake.

“We are a really close-knit group. Raiden and Macy have lots of dojo brothers and sisters and aunties and uncles,” said Lee-Ann Lainchbury.

Lee-Ann grew up in Telkwa and Smithers, while her husband, Sheldon Lainchbury, was raised in neighbouring Houston.

When the two met in their early twenties they were both already experienced in martial arts.

“He came to my karate class as a date,” she said.

Even before the two married, they worked and started Shogun Dojo with their karate master, Renshi Marwan Abu Khadra, in Houston where they taught classes a couple nights a week, in between having regular jobs and starting their family; first with daughter Macy, now 15, and son Raiden, now 12.

“I taught classes the night before both of them were born and they came with me as babies to the dojo. We call that being a dojo baby.”

Drawn to the Williams Lake area by extended family as well as it being a larger centre, the family moved to the lakecity before the children started school to pursue their dream of owning and operating a larger martial arts training centre.

This past spring the family celebrated 11 years in business with Shogun Martial Arts where they teach more than 165 students five nights a week and see many “dojo babies” being raised in their business.

“It’s my passion,” Sheldon said of what drives him to operate the dojo, himself a fourth degree black belt and nine-time national champion. “And I like working with kids and people.”

To support his family Sheldon works as a mechanic at Kal Tire while Lee-Ann, also a fourth degree black belt and two-time national champion, has anywhere from five to seven part-time jobs. But those responsibilities are all put aside from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday when the family works together at Shogun.

“It’s pretty awesome watching our students progress and achieve their goals,” Sheldon said of why he does it. “That’s a good pay off for us.”

Sheldon believes every child should be in some type of martial arts as it teaches strong work ethic, self-discipline, self-control, self-defense, confidence and character building.

“Character building, that’s a big one,” he said.

Lee-Ann agrees.

“That’s the nice thing about martial arts, it’s a way of life. Whatever you do here, carries on outside. We always tell them they represent themselves first, their family second and then everything they belong to after that –– their schools, sports teams, clubs. They need to set a good example.”

Having Shogun also afforded the couple the lifestyle they wanted to raise their children in, having them learn kadgamala karate and kickboxing and all work together in the business.

Currently Raiden, who has already competed at the provincials, nationals and worlds, helps teach classes while training for his black belt which he hopes to get in July following a five-hour test of his endurance and kata (a pattern of movements) as well as a written exam and nine-kilometre run.

“I’m looking forward to getting it, not doing it,” Raiden said.

Macy has also taught classes, competed in provincials and nationals and achieved her black belt last year, although she is now more focused on her own personal goals of being a professional dancer and choreographer.

“We like that our kids can do it with us but now that they are getting older we let them choose what they would like to pursue.”

Lee-Ann said they have also been very fortunate to have many loyal students who help out in many ways.

“Our brown and black belts help as student instructors in classes allowing us to have more students per class. We also have older students that are Senseis as well and can cover classes if we are unable to be there,” she said. “Many students also help clean up at the end of the night.

“We really feel like a family here and care about all of the students and their individual goals and challenges. It is so rewarding to see them meet their goals whether it be to perfect a technique, do well in a tournament or graduate from school or university. We are excited to be a part of their journey and proud of them.”


Sensei Sheldon Lainchbury works on kata with Jesse Taylor, while student teacher Kaizoe Daniel Rutherford (background from left) works with Brody Nustad and Micah Fehr.

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