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Hidden Gems: Meet Daniel McCloud of Original Okinawan Karate of Holt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel McCloud. 

Hi Daniel, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Daniel McCloud, lead instructor of the Youth Program at Original Okinawan Karate of Holt. Our Dojo opened on November 3rd, 2003, under my father and teacher, Mark McCloud. I was the first…and only student on our grand opening all those years ago, and now invest my time and lessons learned into our 200+ students each day. 

Since 2003, the Holt Dojo has provided quality Traditional Okinawan Karate training to the Holt Community and beyond. Owner and head instructor, Sensei Mark McCloud, has been training and studying the art of Okinawan Karate for over 35 years and holds an 8th-degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu Shidokan under his Sensei, Seikichi Iha. 

The Holt Dojo is family owned and operated by Sensei Mark McCloud and his son, Daniel. Through their combined 50+ years of Karate training, worldwide competition experience, and decades of teaching, the Holt Dojo provides the best in traditional martial arts training to both adult and youth students alike. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like any small business, there are ebbs and flows to adapt to. This has never been more than true during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to shift from 100% in-person Karate training to learning the ways of the virtual world from scratch. We were able to provide online training resources, 1-on-1 video calls, online group classes, and virtual events to stay afloat. Since the start of 2020, our Dojo has hosted more than 30 online seminars with thousands of Karate practitioners from around the world and even have full-time virtual students that train with us from out of state. We believe that struggles are an opportunity to grow and be better, one of the many lessons we teach to our students each day. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Original Okinawan Karate of Holt?
The Holt Dojo, led by head instructor Sensei Mark McCloud, has offered the best in traditional martial arts training since 2003. Traditional Okinawan Karate emphasizes the betterment of one’s self both inside and out. As a student’s body becomes stronger, so too does their discipline, focus, confidence, and respect for others. 

Classes include traditional self-defense, point-sparring (youth), full-contact sparring (teens+), Kobudo (weapons training), Kata, fitness, and more! With a curriculum passed down from his teacher, Sensei Seikichi Iha, Hanshi, 10th Dan, Sensei Mark, and the Holt Dojo provides true Okinawan Karate training dating back hundreds of years. 

Our Dojo is unlike any other martial arts facility or the gym you will find. We take pride in cultivating positive relationships with each and every one of our students and supporting them every step of their journey. Karate is not a sport in the McCloud family, it is a lifestyle, and we believe in its benefits wholeheartedly. 

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
“Nana korobi ya oki” 

“Fall down 7 times, get up 8” 

This is an old Japanese proverb that proved as our Motto throughout the pandemic and even after. 


  • 6-week Introductory Program for $99 (includes FREE uniform)

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