History of the Okinawan Karate Do Union
Master Allen Wheeler is well known in the world of Isshinryu Karate. Born October 11, 1919, he has been involved with athletics and martial arts all his life. He played football and baseball in high school and served his country as a Automatic Rifleman and hand-to-hand combat instructor in WW II. Master Wheeler began his study of Isshinryu karate under Isshinryu Master, Harold Long in 1962. Master Long was a student of Isshinryu founder, Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. Master Wheeler began his study of Isshinryu Karate as a way of witnessing for Jesus Christ to the many youths who would otherwise not be reached. He has received numerous civic awards for community service and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Master Wheeler is pioneering pressure point applications in Isshinryu Karate and is hosting the "The Master Series" a 10-year series of seminars providing education in acupuncture theory as it applies to Isshinryu. In addition, he Co-Authored a series of three books titled "Dynamics of Isshinryu Karate" and personally authored three additional books; including his latest, "Allen Wheeler 'In his own words' ". He has also successfully operated Wheeler's School of Karate in Powell Tennessee for over 25 years. He is dedicated to helping others through teaching Isshinryu Karate. He is an icon in the Powell community, and serves as an example and inspiration to the many people whose lives he has touched. Master Wheeler was promoted to ju-dan, 10th degree black belt on July 8, 1995. His promotion certificate was signed by many high ranking black belts from around the nation who all agreed Allen Wheeler's abilities, moral and wisdom were consistent with one of such a prestigious rank.
Some of Master Wheelers' Awards include:
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Joseph Lewis Smith was born in 1944 in the small town of Wesson, Mississippi. He was the son of a Baptist Minister and one of 11 children. By the time he was in high school Joe and his family had moved to the friendly community of Gibson City, Illinois.
Joe was very athletic and played basketball, baseball, track and was the captain of the 1963 championship football team. After graduating in 1963, Joe enlisted in the military. He was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division stationed at Camp Schwab, Okinawa.
From 1963 to 1965 Joe studied Isshinryu Karate under Grandmaster Shimabuku at the Agena Dojo. After re-enlisting, Joe was assigned to the HMM265th Division in Viet Nam. While there he studied under Master Don Bohan. Joe was promoted to Ni-Dan my Master Bohan before leaving Viet Nam.
Joe was honorably discharged in 1967 and returned to Champaign, Illinois. He continued to practice Isshinryu and in 1978 founded the first Isshinryu Karate class in Central Illinois.
Master Smith was a retired twenty year veteran Sergeant of the Champaign Police force, the Training Manager and head of the Control Tactics Division of the Police Training Institute, University of Illinois. He also served on the original Board of the Okinawan Karate Do Union.
Master Smith was promoted to 9th degree Black Belt by the Okinawan Karate-Do Union on June 16, 2001. Master Smith passed away from a rare heart condition on June 19, 2001.
Master Smith first considered himself a student of Grandmaster Shimabuku and then Master Bohan. Master Smith considered Master Wheeler and Master Long to be his adopted instructors. The photo of Master Smith was the last taken of him in his gi.
Sherman Harrill was born on May 11, 1941 in
Lebanon, Missouri. While still a young child, his family moved to Iowa. In
1958, after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States
Marine Corp. In 1959, upon completion of training, Sensei Harrill was
stationed at Camp Courtney near the village of Tengan on the island of
Okinawa. He served on Okinawa for fourteen months. During this time, he
began his training in Isshinryu Karate with Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku.
In the early 1980's, Sensei Harrill began giving instructional seminars all over the United States and quickly became one of the most sought after authorities on Isshinryu Karate. In the mid 1980s he assisted in the formation of the Okinawan Karate Do Union. In 1997, he went International, by traveling to South Africa to give a seminar. Students nationally, as well as instructors, were amazed at his technical, physical, and mental skills. The seminar workout was not only physically taxing, but the abundance of Bunkai and Kata techniques shown were almost too many to gather in just a one day seminar. His technical and execution skills, as well as the demeanor by which he taught was unparalleled.
On November 4, 2002 at 10 AM Central time, Sensei Harrill passed away.
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Roberts began his
study of the martial arts in 1959 in Knoxville, Tenn. As a 13-year-old son of a United States Marine Corps
Reservist, Don was permitted to participate in a class for Marines conducted by
Sergeant Harold Long, who had recently returned from Okinawa.
At that time the art was called Isshin-do karate.
As no giís were available, Mr. Long allowed one of his giís to be
disassembled and used as a pattern. Wives,
mothers, and girl friends sewed uniforms of unbleached domestic cotton, brown in
color. Those with brown giís were
rookies: white giís indicated an old hand.
Rank structure was white, green, and black.
a student of history at North Carolina State University, Don was a member of the
fencing team, finishing 4th in the Atlantic Coast Conference
Tournament. Don left NCSU with a BA
in History and went on to garner a Masterís degree in history from UNC, Chapel
passing of years saw training in Gensei-ryu karate, Shito-ryu karate,
Togakure-ryu Ninpo, and jujitsu. As
a student of Master Allen Wheeler for over 20 years, Don has served on the Board
of Directors of the Okinawa Karate-do Union including a term as President.
competition, Don has been a member of the U.S. Jujitsu team and has won five
gold medals, as well as,
silver, and bronze medals at the AAU National Karate Championships.
In 1997 Don was inducted into the Karate and Kickboxing Hall of Fame. Don also received the Outstanding Executive Award from the OKU in 1988. In 1990 Don, along with his wife Jan, were awarded the O.K.U.s highest honor the Shimabuku Award. Don is also the author of a series of books detailing bunkai of Isshin-Ryu Karate Do kata, three of which have been released. See the products page for details.
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Sensei Jones began his study of the martial arts in 1971 when he was only 11 years old. Sensei Jones studied Shoto-Kan for only a short time before he was introduced to Tae Kwon Do. At this same time Dan was also heavily involved in sports. In high school in Gibson City, Illinois, he was a state qualifying pole-vaulter, wrestled at the 105 pound weight division and started varsity as a defensive corner back on the football team. His high school football coach was quoted as saying, "Not only was Dan the smallest player in the conference but also one of the toughest." All teams were conference champions.
In 1978, while attending Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, Sensei Jones joined Master Smith's first class, it consisted of only six students. Dan knew right away that this was the style he was going to dedicate his life to studying and began working out seven days a week; two to four hours a day.
Dan was a full-time Police Officer for thirteen years. Most of that time was spent with the Addison Police Department on the West side of Chicago. In 1997 he was hired as the Practical Training Manager, a curriculum developer and control tactics instructor for the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois. Dan is a state certified Field Training Officer, Crime Scene Investigator, Master Control Tactics Instructor, Police Firearms Instructor and Master Law Enforcement Trainer.
In 1997 Jones was named "Executive of the Year" by the O.K.U. and in 1999 he was inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame. In 2003 he was named "International Martial Arts Master of the Year" and inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Jones has given presentations on control tactics and training methodology to several Illinois State Agencies, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada and the Russian Police in St. Petersburg, Vladimir and Moscow.
In 2002 Sensei Jones' book "Karate - The Isshinryu Way" was released by National Paperback Books. In the widely acclaimed book Jones provides examples of his philosophy utilizing incidents from his years on the street as a police officer, law enforcement trainer and karate instructor. "A must buy", "New required reading for my students.", "Insight to real techniques", "Educated, motivated and emotional", are just some of the comments provided by readers. ISBN 0-89826-105-8
Sensei Jones was Master Smith's senior student at the time of Master Smith's passing. Sensei Jones is married and has two daughters and although he will always consider himself Master Smith's student, in December of 2003 Master Allen Wheeler formally accepted Sensei Jones as his new student.
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