Mind Over Matter Karate is a dojo in North York, Toronto.

Meet Mind Over Matter Karate’s Team

Neil Linsdell
sensei & founder

As a young boy through to the mid teenage years, I was constantly bullied at school and on the streets of England. This occurred to the point that I was forced to skip school just to avoid the bullies. This involuntarily caused me to be placed into the lowest status classes in school with all of the bullies and a teacher who told me that I was not going to amount to anything.

In my mid teenage years I was so sick and tired of being bullied that I started body building – thinking my size would deter bullies. Unfortunately, that had the opposite effect and even though it gave me some confidence and much strength, I was still intimidated. Eventually, I sustained a major injury during a bodybuilding session and had to stop.

Being depressed and bored, I developed poor habits and climbed to an unhealthy three hundred pounds. At this point my friends started making fun of me. Some of them were Karate-Ka who challenged me by saying that I would never survive a night’s training. To prove them wrong, I attended a training session... I vowed never to return again. Fortunately, my first Sensei, David Hutchinson, convinced me to continue. He had a way of coaching me though the process by making it exciting and interesting. After the three hour training session, even though you were total spent, you knew you had not wasted a single minute.

Today, Sensei David Hutchinson is one of my best friends. Dave was always there to help keep me motivated and on the right path not just in Karate but in life. This is what I try to emulate through my Karate school and through my teachings. I think it was fate that led me to Kagami Shin Kai because all of the Sensei there were excellent instructors: Rob, Dennis, Frank and Dave.

It’s hard to believe that a bored three hundred pound nineteen year old man, who was intimidated by most people, could end up becoming a proud father of two with many accomplishments. One of my proudest accomplishments is being the only Sensei of Kagami Shin Kai still teaching anywhere in the world. Many former instructors have since retired in England but train with us in spirit.

Sensei Neil

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombardi

“Show me your friends I’ll show you the person you’ll become” – My Father

Ip Yam

I began my training with Mind Over Matter Karate under Sensei Neil Linsdell at the age of 10 as a means to learn to defend myself against bullies. At the time, I was an extremely scared, self-conscious, and unassertive child. 

Thanks in large part to Sensei Neil and to his Karate style, I was introduce to my fullest potential. I quickly discovered that Karate is not only a sport or an art form, but that it could be a way of life... a mindset. That mindset carried me through many personal, academic and professional journeys. Today (2016), I've completed my Master's Degree and two post graduate certificates and I work as a leadership educator and University administrator.

Although I've trained in other forms of martial arts and continue to do so, Mind Over Matter remains my home because it offers me the whole package for the mind, the body, and the soul. To me, Mind Over Matter Karate is a bottomless gift: the more energy I put into it, the more meaningful the gifts. Mind Over Matter also allows me to share these gifts with my students and fellow Karate-Ka.

I like to think of my teaching style as serious and challenging, yet motivating and holistic. I like to provide purpose to everything I teach because without purpose, one is lost and unmotivated. My students also notice that I bring new knowledge to class every few weeks. This is because I’m constantly learning and I love to coach! After all, the best teacher is also the best student.

My piece of advice to students is to be the best you can be, at any given moment and in all areas of life. I’ll help you do it. Hope to see you in the dojo.

David Ip Yam

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
– Tao Te Ching

Iliana sergeev

Leading my own design studio, I have realized that even in my strategic, visual and interactive world a holistic approach is the key to success. Every day of my life, I carry with me an appreciation of the fact that all the little elements around us are connected to form the world and tie together a life philosophy. Mind Over Matter has been my consistent support throughout my formative years and, as I have grown, I learned to continue deepening my understanding of self, others and our lives through it. 

I have many interests outside of Karate, but somehow, they all end up relating and feeding off of one another, thus making the impact ever more powerful. All of that builds on something I have learned through Sensei Neil and the holistic style of Kagami Shin Kai: all aspects in life are interconnected.

I started karate when I was 13. Stepping into Sensei Neil’s Dojo was one of the best decisions in my life. Perfecting the basics, improving focus and sculpting a strong body, mind and spirit are some of the toughest and most essential things in life, and Karate lends a helping hand. 

Slowly progressing through the belts, I learned the importance of doing my best, pushing hard, and not giving up, regardless of my level. Discipline and hard work are the building blocks of the entire Mind Over Matter experience.

Little by little, I learned not only how to defend myself and fight, but I grew in other ways. I expanded the understanding and improved the control of my body and muscles. I gained more self-confidence in our community where I met and grew with numerous like-minded people and taught many others joining in. Most importantly, I gleaned beyond our training and uncovered ways in which our martial art teaches us how to think and improve our everyday lives. 

Iliana Sergeev

"The first place we lose the battle is within ourselves." Sun Tzu