Welcome to Kirkwood's Institute of Karate

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Little Dragons

Classes for 3 to 5 year olds

Our Little Dragon’s curriculum was developed by Shihan Peter Kirkwood and contains the most modern teaching principles with the development of the child being of the utmost importance. Our goal through this program is to instil the values of respect and responsibility in all our students.

The curriculum is designed to ease the junior student between the ages of 3yrs-5yrs into Karate training whilst developing their basic learning and Physical Co-Ordination skills. Watch as Shihan Peter and his instructors utilize the equipment that only a full-time studio can offer; Safety Rubber Flooring, Training Equipment for Gymnastic Development, the Little Dragons Obstacle Course, Pool Noodles, Focus Mitts and Shields; teamed together with specially developed programs for the children.

By enrolling your child into the Kirkwoods Institute of Karate’s Little Dragons Early Development class you are committing to the development of your child in a positive environment and implementing the right characteristics into your child before they start school. Your child will gain Discipline, Confidence, Fitness, Flexibility, Co-Ordination, Balance, Self-Control and, YES of course, have fun !

Our aims -

  • To develop an awareness of potentially dangerous situations and to teach protective behaviors and practical self defence.
  • To develop mental qualities of Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem, and Respect for themselves and others.
  • To develop physical skills of Balance, Co-Ordination, Flexibility and Quick Reactions.
  • To help improve their discipline while instilling lifelong anti-bullying & self-defence skills in them.
  • To have fun while learning

Little Ninjas

Classes for 6 to 10 year olds

Shihan Peter has developed the exciting Little Ninja’s program for 6 to 10 year olds. Our children are energetice and full of enthusiasm. We want our Little Ninja’s to empower themselves as individuals as well as the people around them. You will hear the energy as they go through their self defence drills which are a unique feature to the Kirkwoods Institute of Karate’s Little Ninja’s programme.

Due to the enormous success of our Little Ninja’s program our classes now run 4 days a week which we have divided into two levels. The Little Ninja’s class caters for our Beginners whilst the Advanced Ninja class is for the intermediate students with at least two years training. This allows us to cater to individual needs.

Watch as your children develop amazing levels of mental and physical focus, strength, confidence and agility. Parents at times are also asked to join in with the class to hold the strike shields and focus mitts, and even to role play different scenarios where our students use their blocking skills, escape technique and assertive voice commands to remove themselves from danger. This itself is a big confidence builder when your child gets to see you join in on a class. (Not compulsory)

Shihan Peter’s big word is No. Little Ninja’s are taught to say No to outside influences and to only do what is right.

  • NO to Strangers
  • NO to Skipping School
  • NO to Bullying (be proud of yourself and your body)
  • NO to peer pressure

Teenage Warriors

Classes for 11 to 15 year olds

Pre-teens and Teenagers are excited by new challenges. The Warrior’s classes are based on street level self defence which combines elements from a number of different martial arts such as Kickboxing, Boxing, Arnis and Karate in a street effective format.

Continued emphasis is placed upon

  • Learning effective Bully Prevention and Avoidance.
  • Teaching more advanced Traditional karate and self defence techniques.
  • Improving awareness and observations skills.
  • Improving self-confidence, Hand and Eye coordination & Motor Skills.
  • Increasing Overall Health and fitness.
  • Encouraging social interaction as an alternative to anti social behaviour.

You will be amazed as your children, through increased focus and confidence, become unstoppable in their quest for -

  • Greater achievement at school.
  • Unshakeable self respect.
  • Increased strength and fitness in both mind and body.

In addition the Warrior classes offer -

  • High energy classes.
  • Promotes self discipline.
  • Improvements in concentration, which we have found has lead to an improvement in school work and health.
  • Become assertive and controlled through self defence and sparring exercises.
  • Development of rock solid values that will serve our students well as they move to adulthood.

Adult Karate

Ages 15 and over

For over 28 years Shihan Peter Kirkwood has passed on his knowledge of Self-Defence to the residents of Maitland and beyond. Shihan Peter and his Team of highly qualified instructors have taught over a thousand students the art of Self Defence.

Our Street effective self defence combined with reality based Martial Arts and fitness training has made Kirkwood’s Institute of Karate one of the most sort after karate club’s within the Hunter Valley.

Age is not a barrier to becoming a black belt. You will be pleasantly surprised by the mix of ages from 15 to mid 50’s in our Adult class, and by the gender balance. Karate is attractive to people who want to:

  • Get fit, tone up and lose weight
  • Learn decisive and street smart self defence
  • Enjoy the grace and beauty of traditional karate forms
  • Enjoy a training atmosphere of enthusiasm, non-judgement and camaraderie

In our Adult Class you will start off by learning the basic movements and skills that you need to form the foundation for your journey towards a black belt. Shihan Peter invites you to come join our club with the other students who are currently enjoying the journey towards a realization of a lifelong goal.

This class combines techniques from a wide variety of martial arts that have been 'field tested' and will work in a street situation. Kirkwood’s Institute of Karate teaches Kaizen Ryu Freestyle Karate which has influences from Japan, the Philippines and Australia, all adding together to give you the perfect martial arts principles.

Karate is a great individual pursuit, but is also a great family activity. It is where all members can enjoy a common interest with values and beliefs that reinforce the kinds of family values you promote. You will have a lot of fun and meet likeminded people, forming lifelong friendships along the way.

This is a class that is suitable for beginner to advanced level participants.

Join now and become the next BLACK BELT in Maitland.

Fight like Girls Program

Ages 12 and Over

This is a program the Shihan Peter truly believes in. The program is designed to break down the barriers for Women and Girls who would like to start up in Martial Arts. What better way is there but to join a Girls only class? get fit and learn how to protect yourself at the same time.

The Fight like Girls class is a proven program of unique techniques and skills developed by Shihan Peter to teach women and girls to think smarter and get away from an attacker, abductor or abuser.  Our mission is to make a difference in the horrendous statistics of violence and abuse around the world through the teaching of self defence, life skills and the techniques of Kaizen Ryu Freestlye Karate.


The program encompasses on-going classes that empower women and kids to have greater self-esteem through knowledge of these physical and mental life skills so they can grow to their full potential.


Fight like Girls is fun, always active and creates a vibrant community of people who can make a difference through personal violence prevention.

  • Empowering Women
  • Saving Lives
  • Avoid/Reduce Workplace Bulling
  • Gain Confidence

Let’s get together and STOP THE VIOLENCE


Ages 12 and Over

KICK-N-FIT Kickboxing

This program was first invented by Shihan Peter way back in 1995 and has been running ever since. It’s a workout that will leave you wanting more instead of being bored. Not only will you learn some Great Self Defence moves, but also there is NO better way to get in shape then KICK-N-FIT.

KICK-N-FIT is a combination of Kickboxing techniques, Boot camp strategies and X-Fit workouts. This is defiantly not going to be a boring class. With morning and evening classes on offer why not come along and give KICK-N-FIT ago. I’m sure that you will leave thinking why did I not start this up before.


It is a complete workout program that is designed to cater to people at all levels of fitness. KIRKWOOD’S CAGE FITNESS is based on the structure of a championship MMA match. KIRKWOOD’S CAGE FITNESS will give you a total body workout.

There are four key elements that are focused on:

  • endurance
  • strength
  • power
  • core

This is accomplished through our 5 round fitness system which is broken up into the following categories:

  • Warm Up
  • Upper Body
  • Lower Body
  • Combo Round
  • Cool Down/Core

The best part about KIRKWOOD’S CAGE FITNESS is that an individual can customize their workout by adjusting their intensity level to best suit their personal fitness goals. Each 5 minute round incorporates both aerobic and anaerobic exercises that will help maximize burning fat while also gaining muscle. This system of training allows the participant to burn more calories while increasing ones metabolism.

The Benefits of the two above programs are:

  • A fun way to get into shape
  • You’ll burn up to 8oo calories a class
  • No physical contact
  • No experience required
  • Improves balance and posture
  • Increases endurance and agility

Classes include the use of such things like: Hanging Bags – Kettle Bells – Medicine Balls


AGES 3yrs & Over

This is a class all about the whole family getting together for fitness and fun. You will be working as a team or on an individual basis to reach the same goals. Age will be no barrier as it is designed with children and adults in mind.

Come along with your children and join in our Family Fitness class.

You must come along as a family to be able to train in this class.


12yrs & Over

Kaizen M.M.A, (Mixed Martial Arts) or better known as Pankration Martial Arts.

Here at KIRKWOODS INSTITUTE of KARATE we have taken on the teaching of Pankration as our favored M.M.A style.

Pankration comes from the Greek Pan and Kratos, depending on who you believe this means;

“All Power” / “The One who Has Power” or “One who wins with Power”.

It is also the only Martial Art sport still going since being introduced into the Ancient Olympic Games between 648 BC and 393 AD.

Kaizen M.M.A can be practiced for fitness, fun or sport depending on the student’s desires. Our classes are at the cutting edge of technology including teaching that consists of; Ju-Jitsu, Ground fighting, Grappling, Muay Thai, Submissions and Bag Work.

Our classes are over seen by Kon Pappy from THE FIGHT LAB in Sydney, where he is a U.F.C. Judge and former World Champion.


6yrs & Over

What is HYPER Training?

HYPER is a gymnastic form of martial arts. Within this class you will be taught Hand Stands, Cart Wheels and all forms of tricking.

HYPER Training uses a martial arts curriculum with weekly classes, cool contests, challenges and special events. The curriculum is intended to create martial arts athletes with modern drills, kicks, acrobatics, extreme forms and the Pro Athlete Mindset.

The HYPER program’s main target is aimed at children ageing from 6 years to teens. Although there is a large emphasis on the kicks, acrobatics and extreme forms, adults are more than welcome to partake in any HYPER class or event. The weapons and open forms are certainly something that any adult student could adapt to fit their own personal needs.

HYPER is a fun class full of energy and excitement. Come along and learn the same tricks and flips that you see in the movies.

This class is overseen by 4 times Australian Champion and HYPER PRO Athlete Alex KIRKWOOD, from Sydney.


Welcome to the latest technology in sparring and self Defence. This class is where a team of Coaches and World Champion fighters have released all their knowledge for you to learn and put into practice. You will be learning the best of combo’s while you are getting fit and having fun.

This class gives you the knowledge to ward of BULLIES, learn great Self Defence moves and fighting techniques that really do work.

This class caters for students from approx. 8yrs and above. This is a class that would defiantly suit Adults.

By attending HYPER and FIGHT CLUB you will be part of a Team that is worldwide, with everyone training for the one common goal.

Shihan Peter first started out in 1993 doing karate as a part time venture before leaving a full time job in 1995 to pursue a career in full time teaching. The business has had one name change first trading as, ASFITAS Self Defence Centre. In 2006 the name changed to KIRKWOODS INSTITUTE of KARATE (K.I.K). The business traded out of the Maitland P.C.Y.C. up until 2009. After a stint of 18 Months trading out of the Rugby Club at Marcellin Park, Lorn, the business found its home at 315 New England Hwy, Rutherford where it remains tody.

The business has also entered the RECREATION / HEALTH B.E.C. Business awards (Hunter) and has been lucky enough to pick up a few accolades along the way.

Our club is currently located at -

315 New England Hwy Rutherford. 2320.
Ph: 4932 0880
Mob: 0414 694537
Email: info@kik.net.au


Chief Instructor

Shihan Peter was born in Maitland and has remained in town all his life. He has always supported the local community by running free Women’s Self Defence classes and Anti Bulling classes for the kids. Shihan Peter has 4 children (The oldest three all having black belts and the youngest is currently a brown belt in the Advanced Ninja’s class). He lives in Maitland with his fiancée Maria (an active member of the Family Fitness class).

Shihan Peter started his Martial Arts training in 1985. He first started off in ZEN-DO-KAI freestyle karate in Banks Street, East Maitland and kept training within that style up till 1992 where he had gained his 3rd Degree Black Belt. In 1993 Kaizen Ryu was born and saw Shihan Peter as a Co-Developer of this style. In 1994 Shihan Peter took over control of Kaizen Ryu and he has remained as its Chief instructor ever since.

The drive behind his teaching is to prevent Bulling in Children, prevent violence and to offer a better lifestyle through Martial Arts training.

KIRKWOOD’S INSTITUTE of KARATE’S Mission statement is to:


This is exactly what Shihan Peter endeavors to teach to every student and Instructor.

He has trained with many great Australian and Overseas martial arts and travels regularly to America to gain the latest technology within the martial arts industry, to bring back to the students of Kaizen Ryu.

In 2013 Shihan was lucky enough to travel to Japan to obtain his 6th Degree Black Belt in front of his peers and Grand Master Yoshitugu Suzuki.

banner © Kirkwoods Institute of Karate, 315 New England Hwy, Rutherford NSW 2320 ABN: 38 016 057 996