Featured Karate Instructors
Below we highlight instructors our dojo(s) interact with due to their like minded approach to the traditional & cultural aspects of karate-do
Uetake Hanshi: 8th Dan, Shito-ryu Japan
Master Uetake (pictured with Jason Sensei in '95) holds an 8th Dan in Shito-ryu and Studied Shorinji Kenpo to Nidan in his early years.
He is currently Chairman of the Himeji Karate Federation (which oversees about 40 dojo from different Japanese Karate styles). He trained for decades in the Renbukan Shito-Ryu system under Master Sotokawa and Master Iba.
He has named his current honbu dojo Kenjufduokai which translates to "Enjoying the way of studying the fist and an immvoable mind".
John Sells Hanshi: 8th Dan, Shito-Ryu California
In 1999 Kenzo Mabuni Soke (son of Kenwa Mabuni) elevated John to eighth dan in 2001 in Osaka, Japan. At that special celebration, John was honored and awarded the title of Hanshi, for his diligent efforts in promoting the true spirit of karate-do and his technical excellence.
He is also ranked 6th degree black belt in Okinawan Kobudo and is founder of both the United States Kobudo Association and co-founder of the Shindokai Karatedo (with Ben Otake).
Since 1976, John has published many articles in several martial arts magazines including "Black Belt", "Karate Illustrated" and "Dojo Magazine". These articles have all focused on historical aspects of karatedo with the aim of bringing to light the details of karate's past so long hidden and overlooked. As an instructor of karate and kobudo, Sells teaches and lectures throughout the United States.
Victor Young Shihan: 8th Dan Shotokan California
Since the 1950's Young Sensei has been practicing Japanese martial arts. Kanazawa Sensei was one of his early instructors. He now resides in California and has had a tournament career that spanned over 35 years. He won competitions in Hawaii, California, Colorado and Mexico. He looks forward to sharing these experiences with his students.
The excellence of his students continue to reflect his knowledge and teachings, not only in the dojo, but also in competition, sports and academics. His dojo is called the Camarillo Shotokan Dojo. he has supported our "Traditional Japanese Karate" network's activities in the USA as well as visiting the Australian dojo(s).
See Sensei Young's lineage in the "Karate family tree"
John Bartholomay Hanshi: 8th dan, Shito-ryu California
John Bartholomay Kyoshi was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Training started early in life with formal martial arts training as a child in after-school Aikido with Ota Sensei. Then Tani Shito-ryu after that.
1995 marked a change in Johns training, shifting his focus from Kotaka-Ha Shito-Ryu to Kenzo Mabuni Sokes Seito Shito-Ryu, and passing on the teachings of his new Sensei to his students at the very YMCA where he trained as a child.
In 2005 after numerous trips to Japan and an ongoing close relationship with Kenzo Mabuni (son of Kenwa Mabuni), at the 5th Taikai of Seito Shito-Ryu held in Osaka, Japan, sensei John was awarded the rank of 7th dan, and the title of Kyoshi. 8th Dan was issued in 2015.
Vern Vaden Sensei: 7th Dan, Shotokan California
Vern Vaden Sensei began his Shotokan study in the early 1960s under Shihan Teriyuki Okazaki in Philadelphia, Pa. Sensei Vaden moved to Los Angeles in 1972 where he continued his training under Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama, and from that year through 1985, competed each year on the US National Team in numerous International championships (and captained that team).
In 1980, Vern Vaden Sensei opened his own Karate -Do Academy. Over his many years of training and study, Sensei Vaden has trained with many of the greatest Shotokan Masters, such as Shihans Enoeda, Kisaka, Yaguchi, Oishi, Shirai, and Yamaguchi.
Dr Jason Armstrong Shihan: 7th Dan, Shito-Ryu Australia
Jason Armstrong Shihan lived with a karate master in Japan and was awarded the title of Shihan in Shito-ryu in 2007. He has studied Japanese martial arts since 1983 and in 1987 was passed Sensei Greg Story's personal black belt (Greg lives in Japan & is featured on this page). He has worked at Corporate CEO levels in Japan & understands the Japanese culture well. Jason has had a good deal of exposure to various 8th degree Shotokan, Shito-ryu and Goju Sensei through actively traveling the world and training in Japan, Okinawa, Hong Kong & the USA. He has competed at international levels in kata and kumite in the USA, Japan and Australia & Asia. Jason has received Dan ranks while living inside Japan (from Sotokawa, an 8th Dan who gained his 3rd Dan from Kenwa Mabuni) and received a 6th Dan in Shito-ryu in 2007 from Hanshi Sells and a 7th dan seven years later in 2014.
Valentino Cox Kyoshi: 7th Dan USA Urban Goju Ryu & Shorinji Kempo Australia
Valentino’s journey in karate also started that year, under the instruction of Shihan Michael Zwerdling (5th dan in Uechi Ryu). Shihan Zwerdling placed great emphasis on patience, self-control and respect for the tradition of Uechi-Ryu. His belief in the style was so strong and strict, that he did not generally take on students under the age of 18. However, Valentino was truly insistent and eager to learn the art, and so Shihan Zwerdling agreed to make an exception to this rule, allowing Valentino to join the dojo at the age of 10. At the age of 16, and with the consent of Shihan Zwerdling, Valentino also began to study USA Urban Goju Ryu and Shorinji Kempo under the instruction of Master (Hanshi-Shihan) David Shim. Valentino is proud to have achieved his Shodan at the age of 16 under Master Shim. Valentino continues to study under Master Shim (a 10th degree blackbelt in Urban Goju Ryu and Shorinji Kempo), who awarded him with his 7th Degree black belt, along with the title of Kyoshi, in USA Urban Goju Ryu and Shorinji Kempo.in 2014.
Valentino relocated to Adelaide, Australia, in 2007, and in the same year established his own style of martial arts (Karate) called Uechi-Go-Ryu. This style is a synthesis of the traditional Okinawan / Japanese styles of Uechi Ryu, Goju-Ryu and Shorinji Kempo, and emphasizes the traditional Japanese karate principles of patience, and courtesy, in addition the practical application of kata techniques to bunkai and kumite.
Dr Greg Story Shihan: 6th Dan Shito-ryu Japan
Greg Story Sensei has lived most of his adult life in Japan and holds a 5th Dan in Shito-Ryu. Sensei Greg achieved 5th Dan in 1986 inside Japan. He gained his Ph.D. through study done inside Japan and today is the General Manager of Shinsei Bank in Tokyo. He competed annually in Australian and Japanese tournaments very successfully over a 17 year period in the 1970s and 80s. And was the Sensei under which Sensei jason Armstrong gained his Shodan.
Sinn Chew Sensei, 6th dan Queesnalnd, UQ Dojo
Sensei Sinn commenced his karate journey over 45 years ago. He has trained in Shotokan Karate, switching to Goju-Ryu in 1990. In 2004, he commenced training in Judo and BJJ
His devotion to deepen his understanding in GojuRyu is matched only with a long standing commitment to demonstrate the essence of the style, and to bring about the very best in each and every student. His teaching style undoubtedly optimises the body, strengthen the mind and encourage the fighting spirit.
The mindset for developing Karate and life skills are parallel. Sensei Sinn is unique in that he continually de-mystifies the ancient martial arts, and demonstrates the relationship between the traditional basics and modern fighting methodologies.
Penny Ringwood Sensei: Shotokan 5th dan California
Penny Ringwood Sensei has 28 years experience in the traditional style of Japanese Shotokan Karate-do. Her primary tuteledge under the direction of world renowned instructor, Master Hidetaka Nishiyama, 9th Dan. She received 5th Dan in January 2006 from Sensei Ray Dalke.
She is one of the foremost senior female instructors of J.K.A. Style Karate-do in the United States, established and operating independently in Marina Del Rey/Playa Del area for the past eightteen years.
She is four time AAKF National Individual Kata Champion 1989, 1990, 1995, and 1996 (1st in individual and team Kata). Silver Medalist (Enbu) at the ITKF 6th World Karate Championships held in Montreal, Canada, November, 1992. And posses many other international competition titles.
Tragically, Sensei Penny passed away in 2012, too early for her to go.
Shawn Danaher Sensei: 5th Dan, Shotokan California
Shawn Danaher Sensei began his karate training in 1993 under Marcus Young (Sensei Victor's son). He was promoted to 2nd degree black belt by Sensei Young in ‘03, 3rd degree in ’06 and 4th degree in 2010.
He has worked on several action films, including “The Power Within”, “Tiger Heart”, and recently auditioned for a reality series pilot, “The Next Martial Arts Superstar”. He has experience in national & international competitions, receiving many First Place and Grand Champion Awards.
See Sensei Shawn's karate lineage on the Shotokan family tree....
Tracy Ellis Shihan: 5th Dan Adelaide, Australia
Shihan Tracy is the Chikara Budo dojo senior instructor in Adelaide. Tracy graded early this year with the International Budo Federation to Godan (5th level black belt) which carries the title of Shihan. She has been featured in mainstream media for her work with women and girls.
With over 20 years karate experience which was mostly spent in karate training with the Go Kan Ryu karate club. Tracy also helped setup Yu Ki Do and was the elected secretary of the Australian Martial Arts Association (AMAA) from 2003 to 2005. She has also trained with Aiki Budo.
Larry Daugherty Sensei: 4th Dan, Shito-ryu California
Larry Sensei began training in the 1970s. He earned his black belt degrees in Shotokan karate under Sensei George Takahashi at the West L.A. Karate School and also trained under Sensei Frank Smith (Shotokan), Sensei Victor Young (Shotokan) and Sensei Jason Armstrong (Shito Ryu). He has been a member of the Amgen Karate Club since its inception in 1994.
See Sensei Larry's karate lineage in the "Karate family tree"...
David Lewis Senpai: 4th Dan, Shito-ryu Australia
Starting karate in the 1970s Dave Lewis has more than 30 years of experience. He aids as an instructor and advisor to the University of the Sunshine Caost Karate Dojo in Australia. He has visited and trained in Japan and received his 3rd Dan there in 1986.
Sensei Ed Mundy: 4th dan, Shotokan California
Ed Mundy Sensei got his first taste of Martial Arts in the 1960s at the age of 14 learning White Crane Kung Fu in Texas. While attending UC Irvine, he trained with Sensei Gary Tsutsui of Japan Ryobu Kai Karate who is under Sensei Kiyoshi Yamazaki. He transferred to UC Santa Barbara where he was exposed to Goju Karate under Sensei John Griffin and earned his black belt in that style in 1978.
Mundy Sensei was selected as Team Captain for the UCSB team in 1979 and was able to train with many top Martial Artists from other styles. When the Karate program was disbanded from the college, Ed was asked to continue running the the Team and dojo program. This University dojo was then turned over to Shito Ryu Sensei John Sells. He now trains with Sensei Young at the camarillo Shotokan Karate Dojo.
See Sensei Ed's karate lineage on the Shotokan family tree....
Nick Lukich Sensei: 4th Dan Shito-ryu California
Nick Lukich Sensei began training in Shito-ryu Karate in 1994 under Jason Armstrong Shihan, 7th Dan and has trained in Japan, Australia and the USA. He was an uchi deshi while in Australia and co-founded the University of the Sunshine Coast Karate Dojo. Nick Sensei has competed in the USA and Australia and currently runs the Thousand Oaks Shito-ryu Karate Dojo in California.
Dave Wallace Senpai: 4th Dan, Shotokan California
Dave Wallace Senpai began training in 1977 in JKA and with West Coast Shotokan, he received his Shodan from Shihan Edwin Hamile in 1981. Dave moved to Oahu, Hawaii in 1981 and trained under Sensei Chuzo Kotaka (Shito Ryu) for one year and then joined the Hawaiian Karate Association, training under Sensei Kenneth Funakoshi.
Upon returning to California in 1984, he continued training in Ventura and in Los Angeles under Sensei Hideteka Nishiyama. In 1986 He recieved his JKA Shodan from Sensei Nishiyama. Dave discontinued training in 1990 until 1998 & then re-started with Camarillo Shotokan in 1998.
See Sensei Dave's karate lineage on the Shotokan family tree....
Damien Ellis senpai: 4th Dan. Adelaide Australia
Sensei Damien of the Adeliade Chikara budo dojo graded to Sandan in December 2007 and has over 20 years martial arts experience. Most of this (over 10 years) was karate training with the Go Kan Ryu karate club. He then helped to setup a smaller karate club - Yu Ki Do before creating Chikara Budo with Tracy sensei. Damien has also trained with Aiki Budo and been a committee member of the AMAA.
Dr Sarven Mclinton Sensei: 3rd dan Shito-ryu Australia
Sarven McLinton Sensei has lived in Japan and trained in both Shito-ryu Karate and Kyokushin Karate. He currently holds Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in Karate and Shodan (1st degree) in Eishin-ryu Iaido. Sarven has taken Yusho (gold medal) in prefectural championships, and holds a PhD in Psychology, with a research background in aggression and interpersonal anger.
See Sarven's karate lineage in the "Karate family tree"...
Adrian Cartland Senpai: 3rd dan Australia
Adrian Senpai began his training in 1996 in a derivative of Goju Kai, eventually obtaining the rank of Nidan in that style. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge and in 2004 was encouraged to begin running a Dojo in Adelaide. In 2009 his Dojo joined the Traditional Japanese Karate Network and Adrian successfully retested as a Nidan.
Besides Karate Adrian has also trained in western fencing, Iaido and Kendo, obtaining upper Kyu levels in the latter two, and currently trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Adrian works as a Lawyer specialising in Commercial and Taxation law.
See Adrian's karate lineage in the "Karate family tree"...
To be added
Senpai Jonathan Harvey, 2nd Dan
Senpai Grant Ribbink, 2nd Dan Australia
Grant trains at the Fig Tree Pocket dojo under Shihan Jason Armstrong. His karate career began in 1990 and prior to becoming a member of the Shito-ryu and TJKN family, Grant trained in Shotokan, variously under Shihan Stan Schmidt and Sensei Malcolm Dorfmann. Grant’s martial arts journey began with Aikido in the 1980s and living in different regions of the world meant that his karate also includes a few years of Goju-Kai and Goju-Ryu. Like most students of the martial arts, he values sharing knowledge and learning, both in the dojo and beyond.
Senpai Callum Monaghan, 2nd Dan Adelaide, Australia
Callum senpai runs dojos in 2 locations and began his training in 1998 in a variant of Goju-Kai. Obtaining his Nidan in this style, he was asked to take over running the Blackwood Primary School Dojo in 2009 from Adrian Cartland Sempai and the Blackwood Dojo in 2013. In 2015 Callum joined the Traditional Japanese Karate Network moving his classes across to a more Goju-Ryu style. As well as Karate Callum also holds the rank of Shodan in Iaido and trains in Judo with the Adelaide Uni Judo Club.
John Whoriskey Senpai 2nd dan Shito-ryu California
John Whoriskey Senpai began Kenpo in the 1980s and switched to Shito-ryu in 1994 under Shihan Jason Armstrong. he recived his black belt by travelling to Japan in 1998 (where Jason Armstrong was living at the time) and testing under Sotokawa Sensei 8th dan and Iba sensei 8th Dan (of Renbukan). He has continued to be an instructor in Shito-ryu dojo Thousand Oaks (formerly teh Amgen dojo).
John also hold the rank of shodan in kendo.
Dr Pavel Bondarenko Senpai: 2nd dan Shito-ryu California
Pavel Bondarenko Senpai began training Karate in Ukraine during his teenage years. In 2007 he began training again under Nick Lukich Sensei at the Thousand Oaks Shito-ryu Karate Dojo in California. He holds the rank of 2nd Dan and assists in teaching in the dojo.
Dan rank advancement with a link to a Japanese heritage can be seen in the Shito-ryu Mabuni-Himeji line associated the Traditional Japanese Karate Network