We extensively test and research all services we review. Here's why you can trust us.

The Top 5 Martial Arts Schools in Christchurch for Kicking Butt

Searching for the ultimate martial arts dojo in Christchurch turned into my mission after a rather, shall we say, ‘comical’ attempt at self-instruction. There I was in my living room, earnestly mimicking martial arts tutorials from YouTube with all the grace of a giraffe on ice skates. 

My high kick was more ‘high risk,’ and my punch more ‘please munch,’ as I managed to knock over my favourite lamp instead of showcasing any form of technique. Certified, not Bruce Lee. It was then that I realised that some things are best left to the professionals.

So, I researched, gathered some recommendations from others, and compiled a list of the best martial arts schools here in Christchurch. From the polished black belt to the aspiring ninja like myself, these elite martial arts schools are sure to meet your needs.

How much does it cost to go to a martial arts school in Christchurch, NZ? 

If you want to take basic martial arts classes, expect to spend at least 10 NZD per class. However, if you plan on committing to monthly memberships, expect to spend at least 60 NZD per month, depending on the martial arts dojo you choose to take classes. 

How I Chose

Curriculum and Philosophy: I looked at what each school offered in terms of curriculum. I was keen on a school that didn’t just train me to fight but also stressed aspects like mental discipline, self-defence, and overall fitness.
Instructors’ Expertise: I wanted to learn from the best, so I looked for schools with instructors who are not only great martial artists but also great teachers.
Community and Culture: A supportive and inclusive environment can significantly enhance your learning experience. I wanted a place that wasn’t too intense or overly competitive, with family-oriented events and a positive training atmosphere.
Facilities: I looked for well-equipped, clean, and safe schools with spacious training areas, top-quality mats, and modern equipment.

1. Shizoku Martial Arts 

ADDRESS1 Shirley Road, Shirley, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 21 823 857

OPERATING HOURSMonday & Wednesday - 3:50 to 8 PM

Tuesday - 4 PM to 5:30 PM

Thursday - 4 PM to 7:30 PM

Friday - 4 PM to 6 PM

Saturday - 9 AM to 11 AM

Shizoku Martial Arts really resonated with me because it combines traditional karate with real-world self-defence. It prepares you for actual situations you might encounter, which is reassuring.

Sensei Chris has this welcoming vibe that makes every class something to look forward to. His experience shines through, and his patient approach connects with students, young and old.

The dojo’s culture is built around mutual respect, camaraderie, and personal growth. Students not only train together but also support and encourage each other, fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork.

Many frequently commend the positive values emphasised at Shizoku, such as discipline, respect, and perseverance. The school often organises community events, workshops, and family training sessions.

That said, some sessions can feel a bit too family-centric, which might be a downside if you’re a single adult looking for a more focused environment.

But realistically, it’s Sensei Chris’s effective methods and how he inspires personal growth that keep people coming back—despite the occasionally crowded mats.


  • Comprehensive curriculum
  • Expert instruction
  • Positive culture
  • Community activities


  • Sometimes limited focused training for adults
  • Crowded mats

Customer Reviews

The coaches and Sensei are really present and supportive 

“Really recommend Shizoku. My primary age daughters’ behaviour and attitude has improved significantly and noticeably since joining. The coaches, and Sensei are really present and supportive and aside from the physical side of learning self defence and martial arts, the control and character/self esteem developments are really amazing.” 

All round positive, encouraging, professional environment

“Joining SMA was the best decision we have made for my sons confidence, fitness and discipline. They have  fantastic role models and offer an all round positive, encouraging, professional environment. Also the youth leader program is great opportunity for kids to help other members of the club. If your thinking about karate for your son or daughter I would highly recommend SMA.”

2. NZ Seido Karate Shibu

ADDRESSCanterbury Branch - World Seido Karate Organisation NZ Seido Karate Shibu/174 Barbadoes Street, Christchurch Central City, Corner Of Ferry Road 8011, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 3 377 0392

OPERATING HOURSMonday & Tuesday - 4 PM to 8 PM

Wednesday - 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Thursday - 5 PM to 8 PM

Friday - 7 AM to 8 AM, 12 PM to 1 PM, 4 PM to 7 PM

Saturday - 7 AM to 12:30 PM

Sunday - 8 AM to 9 AM, 10 AM to 12:30 PM, 5 PM to 6 PM

I was drawn to NZ Seido Karate Shibu’s strong adherence to traditional values such as discipline and respect. The sessions, infused with meditation and dojo kun (the guiding principles of martial arts) recitals, have greatly influenced many of the students’ daily routines.

Though the rituals sometimes felt a bit stringent, the life lessons were certainly tangible.

The instructors here sincerely dedicate themselves to helping people grasp Seido Karate’s core principles. Their expertise shines when teaching self-defence. I learned many practical skills, from effective blocks to skilful takedowns, thanks to them.

Admittedly, the progressive learning curve can be steep for beginners, yet personalised attention helps overcome initial hurdles.

This dojo also stands out as a family haven, offering classes for every age, which allows many families to train as a unit. Many I spoke with said this has improved their overall family dynamics, although the scheduling of classes can be a bit tricky at times.


  • Incorporates meditation and dojo kun
  • Learn core principles and self-defence
  • Comprehensive skill set (blocks, takedowns, etc.)
  • Provides personalised attention
  • Family-friendly environment


  • Rituals may feel too strict
  • A steep learning curve
  • Class schedules can be challenging

Customer Reviews

Great kids program 

“Have been going with my daughter for 3 years soon. Great kids program, excellent teachers and awesome family like atmosphere. A great place to gain new skills and make new friends”

Family friendly with lots of adults and children training

“Traditional Japanese karate style. Very open and welcoming. Family-friendly, with lots of adults and children training. Has been operating in for more than 50 years. Recommended.”

3. Chans Martial Arts International Headquarters

ADDRESS14 Iversen Terrace, Waltham, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 3 366 0791

OPERATING HOURSMonday - 12 PM to 1 PM, 5 PM to 8:30 PM

Tuesday & Thursday - 11:30 AM to 2 PM, 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Wednesday - 9:30 AM to 1 PM, 5 PM to 8:30 PM

Friday - 5 to 9 PM

Saturday - 10 AM to 1 PM

Chans Martial Arts is where martial arts meet fitness goals, confidence, and mental clarity. Walking into Chans Martial Arts International Headquarters, you’re met with an invigorating and calming energy. 

People can’t stop raving about the Kung Fu and Tai Chi classes, which they say are not just workouts but gateways to mastering self-discipline and finding a slice of zen in a busy world.

The dojo itself is a cut above. Pristine mats and state-of-the-art equipment meet you at every turn. It’s clear that this place takes martial arts seriously.

The instructors also have a knack for making everyone, from newbies to pros, feel like they belong. They push them just enough to do better in class.

However, some have mentioned that the school’s rigorous training can be intimidating at first, but honestly, I think that’s part of the charm—it’s a real test of spirit as much as skill.


  • Energising yet serene atmosphere
  • Offers in-depth Kung Fu and Tai Chi classes
  • Welcoming to all skill levels
  • Enhances fitness, confidence, and mental well-being


  • Pretty intense training

Customer Reviews

They have enabled me to transition from an unskilled factory worker to a professional

“I trained under Grand Master Chan from 1991 through to 2006. I had previous experience with combat sports but Grand Master Chan educated me on what true martial arts is and the what real “training” is. Not only were a lot of these lessons valuable for martial arts, but they also enabled me to transition from an unskilled factory worker to a professional who skills are used around the world. The sole reason why I had to cease training there was due to moving halfway around the world. Since then I have been competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Pan American and World Masters level. Although the style is completely different from what I had learnt here many of the very valuable lessons have been transferable. The “how to train”, “harder and faster are of no use without skill”, what the true warrior spirit is. I will always be in debt to Grand Master Chan.”

Chan’s Kung Fu is both gentle on the body but highly effective

“Excellent place to train.  Really supportive and welcoming instructors, as well as friendly people that train. In terms of the style of training Chan’s Kung Fu is both gentle on the body but but highly effective. – kids can do it, as well as someone in their 70s (so there’s hope for us all!).  Highly recommend trying it out if you are looking for a martial art, self defence or just a way to keep active (body and mind).    While I don’t personally do Tai Chi – it’s also known as one of the very best around.”

4. Proactive Martial Arts Cashmere

ADDRESSCashmere Club 88 Hunter Terrace, Cashmere, Christchurch 8022, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 3 385 7642

OPERATING HOURSMonday to Thursday - 12:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Friday - 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Saturday - 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

If you’re on the hunt for a martial arts spot that really ‘gets’ you, Proactive Martial Arts Cashmere is like finding your tribe. BTW, the first class is free.

They’ve got this super personal touch where the instructors genuinely want to know your goals—whether that’s nailing self-defence moves, upping your fitness game, or gearing up for competitions. Every class feels crafted just for you, which is pretty awesome.

The vibe here is welcoming to the max, perfect for families wanting to bond over some high kicks and punches. Little ones start at age four and have special martial arts classes just for them.

Even the older ones can find just the right level of challenge in their freestyle martial arts class. 

The only thing is their class variety doesn’t include popular forms of martial arts. Many I spoke to wished they would’ve had classes in judo, and jiu-jitsu alongside the eskrima (Filipino marital arts) class they offer. 


  • Family-friendly atmosphere for all ages and skills.
  • Basic martial arts classes for ages 4+
  • Free first class


  • No judo or jiu-jitsu classes

Customer Reviews

If you or your child are contemplating Martial Arts, don’t hesitate

Yesterday, we graded for the first time and moved up a level to the next belt. Who would have thought that would happen to a boy who wanted to learn but was too shy to actually get on the mat! Three weeks of turning up and nothing happening, even with the lovely younger instructors urging him on, and I was ready to give up. It took Matt one conversation and showing him a few moves to have him gingerly joining the group and he hasn’t looked back. Over the past year and a half, it has been lovely to see him blossom to be a self-confident child who understands the importance of learning and hard work. A special mention to Noah – who is wonderful with the first timers and such a lovely mentor. Thank you, Matt, Noah and the rest of the team for the time, effort and dedication you all put into each child and session.

If you or your child are contemplating Martial Arts, don’t hesitate- Proactive Martial Arts, Cashmere is the team you want to join!”

There are students of all levels

“Really well run class, the beginners session is perfectly catered for young kids. Keeps them interested and engaged through out. Minimal talking, maximal activity. The staff are really enthusiastic and make the kids feel really welcome. There are students of all levels and they are all enjoying themselves. I’d recommend to anyone, especially for young children interested in giving it a go”

5. Inception Academy of Martial Arts

ADDRESSHalswell Domain Halswell Rugby League Clubrooms, Halswell, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 3 366 5154

OPERATING HOURSMonday & Thursday - 3:20 PM to 7 PM

At Inception Academy of Martial Arts, you can learn a blend of Karate, Krav Maga, and Thai Kickboxing. The training is highly progressive, with each class building on what you learned in the previous one.

The coaches here? They won’t just show you moves. They’ll actively guide you in applying them in real-life situations. It’s like you’re prepping for a movie role in an action-packed flick. 

The personal attention you get is unparalleled. They’ve genuinely helped me make progress in ways I didn’t think possible.

While the vibe is definitely encouraging, the hard work might catch you off guard if you’re a beginner. Some felt a bit overwhelmed initially, but they stuck with it because the breakthrough moments were worth it. 

The school, though, is only open two days a week, so it might not be the best choice if you’re busy on Mondays and Thursdays.


  • Karate, Krav Maga, and Thai Kickboxing
  • Real-world application of martial arts techniques
  • Individualised coaching fosters personal breakthroughs


  • Intensity may initially surprise newcomers
  • Not for people who are busy on Mondays and Thursdays

Customer Reviews

The classes are very organised and teach good values and skills

“Our son started to attend martial arts classes in the Proactive Martial Arts – Halswell this term. He was already training gymnastics and swimming but the Proactive classes become his favorite very soon. The classes are very organized and teach good values and skills to kids. Thank you.”

Martial classes are fun and a highlight of the week

Adam is absolutely amazing with my kids.  They have grown in self confidence, control and discipline in the 3 months they have been attending. Adam is very approachable, highly skilled and genuine in wanting to see children learn and grow.  Martial classes are fun and a highlight of the week for the kids.