Instructors (師範 & 先生)
Dr. Mark Weingarden, Shihan
Dr. Mark Weingarden, Godan, began his karate practice in 1971 as an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh training directly under Mr. Sadaharu Honda.
Senior Mr. Tsutomu Ohshima awarded Mark his Shodan (1st Degree) and Nidan (2nd Degree) ranks. Mark was awarded his Sandan (3rd Degree), Yodan (4th Degree) and Godan (5th Degree) rank from Sadaharu Honda, Bob Bakos, and Paul Kovacs.
Mark Weingarden received a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D) from the University of Pittsburgh and specialized in Oral Surgery.
Mark is the Chief Instructor of the Carnegie Mellon University Mumon Karate Club.
Dr Mark Weingarden, Godan, began my karate training in 1971 at Carnegie Mellon University under the instruction of Mr Sadaharu Honda and passed my first black belt exam in 1975 at a test held in Delaware. Training was intense, serious, and I benefited broadly as an individual by becoming focused, responsible, and more mature. There is so much in my life that karate practice has given me that I feel compelled to explain more fully.
My initial obvious benefits were greater confidence and academic success as I exercised the karate tenant of always doing one’s best regardless of activity, which for me involved my studies. I credit karate for getting exemplary grades in college, then for getting admitted to dental school at the U. of Pittsburgh where I completed my requirements a year early, in 3 years rather than the normal 4, and graduating with many honors. Following this graduation, I attended the University of Pennsylvania, for a post doctorate degree in interdisciplinary periodontics. Upon my completion at Penn, I started my professional practice on September 8, 1981 in Allison Park, Pa. My team and I became area leaders and recognized nationally for innovative and effective preventive periodontal therapy, comprehensive diagnostics and advanced needs planning, extensive dental implant care, and periodontal plastic surgery. Due to local and tri state need, two other professionals and I assumed responsibility for organizing, and providing most continuing education for the Greater Pittsburgh dentist community for 30+ years. We offered monthly cutting-edge instruction from top national and international educators in all areas of care. Our budget was considerably larger than the universities and attendance for our sponsored seminars was greater.
I continued my karate journey during this period by getting my second blackbelt in early July, 1979 while testing at Hampshire college. Mr Tsutomu Ohshima, one of the very first Japanese teachers, the first Godan (5th degree- our highest), to teach karate in America, awarded both my first and second degree blackbelts. His guidance and instruction were life shaping and invaluable. Mr. Ohshima is now retired and lives near Los Angeles.
I continued to practice karate at a lessor intensity and generally on my own during years of professional practice development and parenting and did not test again until over 30 years later. I missed the regular group trainings and measurable progress when Mr Honda contacted myself and others around 2014 with an offer to teach us for our next levels. Mr Honda, 5th degree and like Mr Ohshima, was captain of the renowned Waseda University karate club and is presently the senior advisor to Waseda’s club. Mr Honda’s mentors were of the most notably accomplished leaders and pioneers of advanced karate understanding. During Mr Honda’s college years, their inspiring influences and encompassing instruction have catapulted Mr Honda’s lifelong pursuit to explore and incorporate their lessons and vast knowledge. Lineage is of supreme importance to any serious karate person. Following his mentor’s suggestions and Mr Honda’s recognized attainment, he was prompted to start Mumon Karate, which means: “Open Gate.” Being “Open Gate,” learning without restriction was our philosophy which led Mr Honda to introduce us during trips to Japan in 2017 and 2019, to a senior that he greatly respected as one of the few true karate geniuses, Master Kenjirou Kawanabe. He suggested that I also learn from Kawanabe Sensei and his top student, Mr Eli Curiel. Master Kawanabe sadly, has recently passed (Summer of 2022). I have followed Mr Honda’s suggestion and presently train avidly both in Honda Sensei’s Mumon and in Kawanabe's art of Hachiriki under the guidance of Mr Curiel. (Important to note is that both of these arts have similar origins or lineage)
Under Mr Honda’s direct and sometimes personalized guidance, I have accomplished my 3rd, 4th, and our highest blackbelt, 5th in May, 2022 after 50 years of training. Importantly, karate is an art, and as an art, there is always more to explore, to learn, and more to accomplish. Honda Sensei names levels of attainment beyond the highest blackbelt, 5th, as mastery level, then master. He has been training a few of us for the mastery level. Being an effective teacher, he periodically and sometimes as a surprise or like the planting of a seed, demonstrates an ability that is still far beyond my present capability. It is inspiring to experience and influences me to want more.
Karate is truly a beautiful art of endless possibility, with no limits to what a student can learn. We all remain students in search of more knowledge even after decades since no matter what one has accomplished, there is always so much more. Karate is an art for very effective self-defense but additionally is training and preparation for a better and more effective life. Karate training teaches discipline, to accept responsibility, to breathe well and to be relaxed, to learn how to be calmer when facing turmoil, it can enhance character, serious practitioners tend to be increasingly humble but assertive, and to learn the joy of being able to express sincere graciousness. It builds leadership, concentration, and a mind body relatedness. These are all qualities that any long-term practitioner should expect to incorporate into their lives. In my opinion, these are the most important reasons for continued practice.
Most long-term practitioners love the art and have benefited to such a degree that we commonly choose to pass the art forward by teaching others, so they too will experience karate as an art of endless benefits, and then they in turn also choose to teach the next generation. I am so appreciative of my teachers, Mr Ohshima, Mr Honda, Mr Curiel and Kawanabe Sensei. Lineage is critically important. The deep, perhaps ancient, and often hidden knowledge of past mentors, are passed thru these present-day masters to us, if we remain curious, available, and adequately sensitive to learn. I am the next generation and this is why I now teach at CMU or wherever I am asked.
I am now a retired husband of a wonderful and supportive wife, the proud father of two grown children, both in professions of their choosing, and a loving grandfather and frequent babysitter to two local grandchildren and one in Lexington Massachusetts - with one more on the way. We have a loving dog, Lucy.
Thank You, my teachers.