Lara Chamberlain: Leader, Mentor, Guide....Sensei
Chamberlain Sensei has practiced Matsubayashi Ryu karate since 1985. In 1991 she established her own dojo in Santa Cruz, California. After ten years of training, she went to Okinawa to meet the original source of her inspiration, Grandmaster Shoshin Nagamine. She stayed to train with Grandmaster and his students in the hombu (main dojo) for seven hours each day, studying both karate and zen meditation, for much of 1995 and 1996.
Also beginning with her 1995 stay in Okinawa, Chamberlain Sensei took additional training with Makishi Sensei, one of Grandmaster’s senior students. Since that time, she has gone to Okinawa regularly to train with him. Chamberlain Sensei has become a part of the Makishi family, staying with them during her many visits. When Makishi Sensei came with his family to visit California, his son was so inspired to find the traditional practices and dojo spirit embued in the Chamberlain dojo that he decided to return to karate to support his father's work in training others.
Both Grandmaster Nagamine and Makishi Sensei honored the efforts of westerner Chamberlain by allowing special consideration in her training, such as taking notes and asking questions. Moreover, Soke Nagamine, son of the Grandmaster, recognized the strength of the student/teacher bond between Makishi Sensei and Chamberlain Sensei by putting the Chamberlain dojo formally under the aegis of the Makishi dojo. Such a gesture had never been made before. Since the passing of the late Yasuharu Makishi Sensei, Chamberlain Sensei now falls under his son, Tetsuo Makishi Sensei.
Early in her career as a karate practitioner, Chamberlain Sensei committed herself to a lifetime of studying and teaching. She received her Nidan (2nd degree black belt) from Grandmaster Shoshin Nagamine, Makishi Sensei, and Tamaki Sensei, and her Sandan (3rd degree) from Grandmaster Shoshin Nagamine.
In 2003, Chamberlain Sensei was promoted to Yondan (4th degree) in Okinawa by Soke Nagamine and Makishi Sensei. In 2007 she received her Godan (5th degree) promotion in Okinawa from Soke Nagamine, Makishi Sensei, and a panel of other senior Okinawan sensei. In 2010 Chamberlain Sensei received her Rokudan (6th degree) or “Renshi” promotion in Okinawa from Soke Nagamine and a panel of senior Okinawan sensei.
In November 2017 Chamberlain Sensei went to Okinawa to test in front of a panel comprised of four senior sensei: Taira Sensei, Arakaki Sensei, Higa Sensei, and Tome Sensei. She received her promotion to Nanadan (7th degree).