About Us

In November of 2006, a group of concerned adults who were students and parents at a Wakefield, RI karate school, recognized the need for some vehicle for tuition assistance in order to help financially struggling students/families maintain consistent participation in their practice.  


Karate provides many benefits that build confidence and self-esteem, such as physical fitness and healthy competition. Positive role models provide encouragement and teach leadership. This group knew these benefits first-hand and believed them to be essential for the population of lower income kids that have limited opportunities for this type of activity.

The founding group later became the Board of Directors of KIAI when it officially became a nonprofit, charitable organization in 2008 when it received its 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. To date, KIAI has awarded over $100,000 in financial assistance to deserving families in the form of karate scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to applicants based on financial need, as well as their expressed desire and commitment to succeed in karate.


KIAI holds both the student and the dojo accountable by setting guidelines and standards for each. You can learn more about our dojo certification and scholarship recipient requirements by clicking here or on GUIDELINES in the menu above.


KIAI is currently supporting students at three KIAI certified dojos in Southern Rhode Island.


We invite you to consider helping us enable a young person to continue their practice of karate instruction by making a donation, sponsoring or participating in one of our events, or volunteering to support our efforts. Learn more.


   “Thank you KIAI - Karate has reminded me that I can do anything in life if I put my mind to it. I am a more confident person. I wouldn’t feel like this if it wasn’t for karate and KIAI.”

~ Scholarship recipient

   “My son had behavioral problems making him defiant and difficult to manage in school and at home. We got him to take karate classes and something clicked, turning his whole attitude around! When I lost my job I was worried we couldn’t afford the classes anymore. If it wasn’t for the KIAI scholarship program, I’m not sure where my son would be today!”

~ Parent

   “…didn’t appear to have many friends and did not participate in class. He frequently forgot his homework and did poorly on assessments. Since he has been involved with karate, I have seen an improvement in his work, and participation in class. He has started socializing with other children and seems to be gaining more confidence as he progresses.”

~ Teacher


More than an acronym, “KIAI” is a “Spirit yell” you hear shouted as students channel their inner strength and energy while practicing karate. It is also a Japanese word that translates to “warrior or fighting spirit.” Here at KIAI, we know that when kids have the opportunity to benefit from quality karate instruction their spirits are ignited and their energies are channeled in positive ways!