House of the Samurai

House of the Samurai, located on Buttrick Road, works with children and adults of all ages and abilities while teaching discipline, confidence and respect through two different styles of karate. The school has been owner-operated since its establishment in 1974 by tenth-degree black belt, Richard Bernard.

Bernard has more than 40 years of experience in karate and has achieved the highest attainable level in both teaching and rank. He currently holds the teaching title “Hanshi”, meaning Chief Grand Master Instructor, as well as tenth degree black belt in two different styles, Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu. He is President and one of the founding members of the New Hampshire Professional Martial Arts Association, an organization that works with representatives from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office to ensure that martial arts schools are registered and adhere to ethical business practices.

House of the Samurai teaches both Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu styles of karate, which originated in Okinawa. Goju-Ryu, translated to hard-soft style, means “as hard as you need to be but as soft as the world will allow you to be,” explained Bernard. Shorin-Ryu, translated to small pine forest style, comes from the Shaolin Temple, which is located in a pine forest.

The school believes that these styles have a wonderful system that will teach the student in nine progressive steps. The goal is to give students the ability to obtain the self-confidence and self-esteem to be able to address or walk away from any situation that arises. The school does not condone Mixed Martial Arts or cage fighting. Students train together and exchange techniques in a safe manner.

Under Bernard’s guidance, House of the Samurai received a Ryu-Ha license from Shidokan International, a karate and kobudo (weaponry) training and research federation. Shidokan International works with affiliated schools to ensure they adhere to the standards of instructions established by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

First time students meet with the instructors in a one-on-one introduction to become comfortable at the school. This also allows the instructors a chance to evaluate the new student’s abilities. Upon enrollment, House of the Samurai asks for a six-month commitment from children and a year commitment from adults. It is recommended that students train at least two days per week to progress through the program.

“Achieving black belt takes patience,” stated Bernard. “When you make a new rank you go from the best to the lowest level of the next rank. Attaining the next rank is an ongoing process and once you get to the point when you are close to moving to the next rank, you will be assessed and determined if you should move forward. A final test is given and it is taken with other students.”

Bernard explained that the average time it takes to go from white to black belt is four years. He has been responsible for promoting more than 500 students to black belt but has recently stepped back from promoting anymore.

To learn more about House of the Samurai or Richard Bernard, visit them at 28 Buttrick Road or call 603-434-2265.