About Us

First started out as Zen-Do-Kai karate it operated part time in 1987 in Bolwarra then Largs within Maitland and stayed that way till 1995. In 1995 (now) Shihan Peter left a full time job to pursue a career in full time teaching. The business has had one name change first trading as, ASFITAS Self Defence Centre then 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 today. In 2016 we purchased the venue at Rutherford so securing the future of the business.

Our training complex includes over 250 Square Meters if matted floor, Hanging bags, all types of martial arts training equipment, toilets, showers and a full kitchen for birthday parties or functions.

The business has also been awarded the B.E.C RECREATION / HEALTH Business of the year 4 times as well as awards from Members Solution and P.P.S.

Shihan Peter

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 boys all having gained black belts and his youngest a daughter is currently a Blue belt in the Warrior 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.


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.

Shihan holds a:
6thDan Black Belt in Kaizen Ryu
3rdDan Black Belt in Zen-Do-Kai
1st Dan Black Belt in BJCArnes
Level 5 Referee

2004 I.S.K.A Karate Instructor of the Year
2005 I.S.K.A. Referee of the Year
2007 I.S.K.A. Lifetime Achievement Award
5th in the World Titles in Florida in 2017

(also in the past has been a Personal Body Guard and Security Guard)


  • Kylie
    My son Harry commenced with Kirkwoods Institute of Karate in 2014. I have found both students and instructors al the centre very pleasant. My son loves coming to his karate classes.
  • Mrs F
    I have a 5 year old son and a 3 year year old daughter in the Little Dragons program and both love coming to karate each week. They have both improved social skills, firness, discipline and have more conifidence in themselves and in certin situations from coming. The staff are very patient and caring especially with my 3yr old. I highly recommend and will be srating my youngest son when he’s old enough.
    Mrs F
    (Little Dragons Class)
  • Cindy
    KIRKWOOD’S KARATE has had a amazing impact on our two children, enrolling them into weekly lesson’s was the best decision. We always feel welcome into the lessons. The staff are all very friendly and have excellent skills in teaching the kid’s self defence and encouraging character development. The 3-5 year program is constructive, supportive and encouraging for all ages. Our children not only have a great foundation for their own self protection but they have learnt how to deal with conflict. I would highly recommend K.I.K. to anyone wanting to put their child into a sport, they go above and beyond.
    (Little Dragon’s class)
  • Amanda
    We have been attending Kirkwoods Institute of Karate for 1.5yrs and have to say that we love it there. Myself and 4 of my kids do lessons (soon to be the 7 of us) and I have seen my kids grow so much since being there. Their strength, gross motor skills, self defense, discipline and confidence have soared and they love entering the tournaments available to them and feeling like they are champions whether they win or lose
    (Dragon’s & Ninja classes)
  • Kevin
    As far as I am concerned, this is the only martial arts place to be! Great people, great classes & a great environment. Dedicated people who are professional, friendly and only too willing to help you out and make you feel comfortable. I checked out all other places in the area and outside the area and none of them even come close. KIK is the only place for me
    (Adult class)