Saluda Community Center offers White Crane Karate

Published 10:18 am Monday, February 5, 2018

SALUDA – “We’re not really about sparring or competition,” said Sensei Jeff Brooks of Mountain Karate. “We focus more on developing practical self-defense skills and integrating the body and mind.” 

Brooks is offering a class in White Crane style karate at the Saluda Community Center on Greenville St. The form is an Okinawan style that descends directly from Shaolin Kung Fu in China. The style’s name is Shorin Ryu, which is a Japanese word for Shaolin. 

“It’s much closer in many respects to Chinese Kung Fu than modern karate or Kung Fu,” Brooks said. “Much of the modern karate or Kung Fu today has morphed to be more tournament oriented.” 

Mountain Karate owner and instructor Sensei Jeff Brooks awards Kevin Amsellem his RoKyu rank certificate. (photos submitted by Mountain Karate)

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Another example of the difference between what Brooks teaches and many karate schools today are the number of belts. According to Brooks, Mountain Karate uses far fewer belts than most dojos. It takes most students a year to progress from white belt to green and another couple years to move from green to brown and then more time for a black belt.  

“We use belts mostly so the instructor knows what skills the student has,” Brooks said. “This helps us organize the class.”  

Brooks studied both in Okinawa and from Okinawan instructors in the US for more than 20 years. He currently holds the seventh degree black belt he received a few years ago. Though he has not tested for a higher rank since, he believes he has probably advanced beyond that level. Brooks also worked in law enforcement, both in Massachusetts and in Hendersonville, where his wife, Tarleton Brooks, is from. 

Adult classes are Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. and Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Children’s classes are Saturday at 10 a.m. For more information email:, visit or call 828-699-0909.