The History of Y.I.K.A., Mojave Branch

The history of the Mojave Branch started back in the summer of 1993 when Ray Zaragoza, Jr. opened Mojave's first dojo at the Mojave Movement Arts Center with the assistance of Ray Zaragoza, Sr. During the beginning months, Stephen Ponting enrolled his wife Margaret and son Joshua into the training course. After watching his family week in and week out Stephen was approached to join his family in class by Ray Zaragoza Jr. Learning that the Zaragoza's teacher, Michael Foster, would be teaching a seminar, Stephen joined his family in class, which took place in October 1993. After experiencing the seminar being taught by Michael Foster, Stephen knew he would be in the Yoshukai International Karate Association for life. He had finally found the Martial Art style he had being searching for.

During the later months of 1997 the Mojave Dojo expanded to a neighboring city for a second dojo in California City at the Silver Saddle Ranch Club. A few months later it was relocated to the California City Fitness Center in the Aspen Mall. Ray Zaragoza Jr. asked Stephen Ponting to assist him with the teaching at this dojo. Shortly after opening, Stephen Ponting substituted for Ray Zaragoza Jr., at Ray's request, in teaching the class. These where Ray's first lessons in teaching Stephen on how to instruct classes. Stephen started to instruct more and more classes at the observation of Ray Zaragoza Jr.

Looking for further ways to expand the Yoshukai International Karate Association in the Mojave High Desert, a third dojo was opened by Ray Zaragoza Jr. and Ray Zaragoza's Sr. in the city of Quartz Hill at the end of 1997. In November of 1998 due to a decline in students and the desire to spend more time with their families, the three Mojave High Desert dojo's were slated to be closed by the Zaragoza's. During this process Stephen Ponting asked the Zaragoza's for Michael Foster's permission to take over these classes so that training could continue for the remaining students in these communities.

In December of 1998 Stephen Ponting received the Zaragoza's permission and support to take over the teaching at the three Mojave High Desert dojo's as the newly named Mojave Branch of Yoshukai International Karate Association. In May 2004 Stephen Ponting opened his first dojo in Tehachapi as YIKA, Mojave Branch's fourth dojo at Body Works. In November of 2004 the Tehachapi dojo at Body Works was moved to The Tehachapi Academy of Performing Arts, where it remains today.

In April 2004 the YIKA, Mojave Branch formed a Scholarship fund for Mojave High School students. In June, 2004, Diana Rico was the first recipient to receive the Yoshukai International Karate Association, Mojave Branch Scholarship Fund of $200. In 2005, YIKA MB gave $800 in scholarships to Freddic Gusman and Danielle Moser, receiving $400 each. In 2006 YIKA MB will be giving away over $1000 in new scholarships. In 2007 the scholarship will be renamed after YIKA's Hanshi, ordaining the name "The Mike Foster Yoskukai International Karate Associations Scholarship"

YIKA, Mojave Branch remains active with in the community, involving themselves at the Gold Rush Parades, the Boy's and Girls Club events, volunteering for community clean up with Keep California Clean and the Adopt-A-Highway programs. For further information please visit the Events and Scholarship links.

The Yoshukai International Karate Association, Mojave Branch under the direction of Steve Ponting and Ray Zaragoza Jr. are in agreement with the management and direction by Mike Foster and he has our full support

2007 All Rights Reserved