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Pathway Karate Academy is a family centered Karate school located in the Smith Hill section of Providence, RI.  We are the Hombu (Home) Dojo of the martial arts style of Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu the only US practicing location under Sensei Mark Mason, 5th Dan Black Belt and Master So-Shihan Felton Messina, 10th Dan Black Belt US, 7th Dan Black Belt Japan. We are members of the USA National Karate Federation, and our students are eligible to participate in regional, national competitions and even the Olympics!  Our staff are SafeSport Trained and Certified providing you with environment safe for all students. We are also recognized under the World Karate Federation.

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Grand Master Hiroyuki Hamada, (1925-2003)


Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu (日本古伝神道流) is a style of Karatedo that literally means "The Traditional Japanese Style of the Path to God". The style was created by Hiroyuki Hamada, the "So Shihan" (Grandmaster) on the morning of March 28, 1964, in the Isekotaigingie temple in the Prefecture of Mie, Japan.

Hiroyuki Hamada was Born in Sendai, Kagoshima October 29 1925. He was the creator of the Karate style called Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu and mentor of Felton Messina. At the age of 15, he began to take Karate classes in the style of Okinawa Tomari-Ha in 1939. In March of 1943, he finally graduated from high school, after lost 2 years due to the World War period, the time he used to concentrate on his studies of karate. In that year he began to study others styles from Okinawa, named Shuri-Te and To-Te (a Chinese style of Karate). Between April 1943 and March 1944 he dedicated himself totally to the perfection of Karate.

In April 1944 he joined the Japanese Marines at 18 years old. At the end of the war, he was part of one of the squads of the Air Force from Kurashiki. When he knows that Japan was defeated, he spends 10 days of uncertainty whether to choose to commit Seppuku. After that time day, he decides firmly to live and to help others through Karate-Do. In August 1945, he returns to the city of Senday.


Creation of the style.

He intensified his practices of karate during the years 1945 to 1952, traveling through Japan in total dedication and study of Nihon Shindo Karate-Do and Nihon-Den Karate-Do, acquiring in these travels a rich experience in competitions. In 1952, he joined the Fire Department in his hometown and for the first time trained students in Karate. On the morning of March 28, 1964, in a temple called Isekotaigingie situated in the province of MIE, Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu born. This style is based on the modifications made by Hamada to all the karate that he learned seeking higher effectiveness in those movements.


In the following years, he devotes himself to spread, through all of Japan the new style of Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu. In the year 1975, he travels to the Dominican Republic with Professor Jamaguchi (6th Dan of Judo) and Kenji Morillama (5th Dan) to give Karate-Do classes. In a month, he performs exhibitions throughout the whole island and he leaves the main branch of Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu Karate-Do in the Dominican Republic directed by Felton Messina. In the month of April of 1980, he retires from being the Chief of the Fire Department in Sendai. He dedicated his whole life to Karate and was the So-Shihan (Supreme Master) of Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu until his death in Senday on September 16th, 2003.

The maximum authority in the style outside Japan is Felton Messina, who possesses the rank of "So Shihan" which was given to him by Master Hiroyuki Hamada on June of 1999 during a visit to Japan. This degree is valid in every country around the world except Japan, where specified in the certificate given to him, he possesses 7th degree black belt. The World Karate Federation (WKF) of which he is member certifies and recognizes his 7th degree black belt. [ [ Nihon Koden Shindo in America] ]



The fundamental basis of this style is speed, which is obtained by knowing and dominating the principle that is called in the style "loose-tight-loose" or "soft-hard-soft". Practitioners believe that this rhythm helps maintain the body's muscle's totally relaxed for most of the time, only hardening the body at the moment of impact with the opponent. At this moment when the body hardens and impacts the opponent, it vibrates (like when an arrow hits its target) transmitting the energy of the speed developed when the body was loose. After the impact the body then returns to its original state of relaxation. This rhythm aims to save energy as the body is relaxed for most of the time and also increases speed drastically. This is one of the main concepts that the style defends. [ [ The Physics of Karatedo by Eng. Felton Messina] ] Like many other styles Kihon (basics), Kata (forms), Bunkai (forms practiced with a partner, one attacking and the other defending with the movements of the kata), and Kumite (sparring) are part of the day to day training. The style also incorporates stand-up grappling techniques, Aikido-like techniques and pre arranged forms of Kumite called Ippon Kumite, Sanbon Kumite, and Jakusoku Kumite. 



# The Physics of Karatedo by Felton Messina ISBN 1419694596

So-Shihan Felton Messina (1946-2021)

7th Dan


So-Shihan Messina started practicing Karatedo in 1966 while studying at the University of Puerto Rico, the city of Mayagüez, supervised by his first teacher, the Puerto Rican Edwin Hernández in a style called Okinawan Kenpo Karatedo. In 1968 he was promoted to black belt 1st Degree and received the grade certificate from Hernández. In 1969, Felton Messina returned to the Dominican Republic and graduated as an engineer. When he arrived in Santo Domingo he saw that the only martial arts practiced there were Judo and Taekwondo. A group of young people heard of his arrival, they asked him to teach them his style of Karatedo that he had practiced in Puerto Rico.


In 1969 the Kenpo Karatedo Association was founded by Felton Messina and was spread throughout the whole nation While being president of the Dominican Judo Federation, Messina, with the assessment from the president of the Dominican Olympic Committee forms, what to this day is known as the Dominican Karate Federation (DOKAFE), which was recognized as well by the Dominican Olympic Committee.


Messina possessed the Rank of Soshihan (10th-degree black belt) for all the world except Japan where he held the rank of 7th-degree black belt. The World Karate Federation (WKF) recognized his rank as a 7th-degree black belt.  He also possessed the rank of 1st-degree black belt in the style of Iaido, Muso Shinden Ryu. This rank was given to him, in Japan, by Iwagoro Setoguchi in 1977. Messina was the first Dominican to write a book about Karatedo (specifically about the style Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu), published in 1979. Messina in addition finished his second Karatedo book titled "The Physics of Karatedo and the Unanswered questions about this art".

So-Shihan trained Shihan Mark Mason for over 10 years and in 2016 So-Shihan officially passed down the style and blessed Shihan Mason to open Pathway Karate Academy to continue the style in the US.

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Shihan Mark Mason,

Pathway Karate Academy, Founder

Sensei Mark Mason started Karate at age 16 studying in New Haven CT.  He continued to study in his adult life under Shihan Ignacio Arias in the art of Nihon Kodon Shindo Ryu at Christian Karate Academy (CKA) from 2004 through 2010.  During this time, Mark worked his way up to his Black belt and began teaching at the CKA Afterschool program for many years.  While at CKA he competed at various regional and national competitions. He holds several National titles and is a gold mentalist competing in the USANKF Men’s Class in 2005 and 2006. After the closure of CKA Mark moved on to train with Style Master So-Shihan Felton Messina and has continues to train with him to the present.


Sensei Mark has a passion for the community and wants to strengthen the Providence community by offering family centered Karate instruction teaching the “Pathway” to God (Nihon Koden Shindo Ryu) through physical discipline, hard work and strong core values.  In 2016 Sensei Mark under the blessing of So-Shihan Messina founded Pathway Karate Academy where he has started to teach students from all walks of life.


Mark has currently holds the rank of 5th degree Black Belt (Go-Dan) as of September 2016.

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