Frequently Asked Questions

What type of karate is Isshin-Ryu?

Isshin-Ryu Karate (one heart method) is a karate style developed by the late Master Tatsuo Shimabuku in the early 1950s on the island of Okinawa, near Japan.  It is a hybrid of the two types of karate that Master Shimabuku studied: Shorin Ryu and Goju Ryu. It has grown tremendously throughout the United States since he began training many US Marines stationed there at the time.  Isshin-Ryu Karate training is directed specifically for self-defense and personal growth, not for sport or recreation.  The philosophy behind this style is that one or two well focused techniques should stop a potential attacker immediately.  The style’s trademarks are kicks below the waist, fast vertical fist punching and close-in self-defense techniques.  The training is rigorous and disciplined, but the personal rewards are many.

How do you advance in the Order of Isshin-Ryu?

When a student demonstrates that they have achieved a specified level of proficiency, a new colored belt or a stripe is awarded. This is an almost universal way that martial arts schools track their students’ progress. Evaluations are held periodically to determine whether a student has reached a higher level of understanding. This occurs when the instructor feels the student is ready, not according to a set time schedule.

How long will it take to advance to black belt?

Advancement to black belt is purely an individual matter and varies from person to person. It depends greatly on the amount of time the student gives to practicing. Most people want to progress as fast as possible and this is only natural, but remember this: Progression is not the belt that you wear around your waist, rather it is the knowledge that you possess and the ability you have to apply that learned knowledge. On average, it takes about 4 months of steady training to get to the next incremental level, and in total anywhere from 3-6 years to achieve a black belt. All students must meet the same standards for each level. Belts are not given, they are earned.

Will I be allowed to train at other OI dojo?

As a fraternal organization, members of an OI dojo may train at any other member school provided they discuss it first with their immediate instructor.

Can I train in another style of martial art?

Every martial system has its own way of doing things, from how the class is conducted down to how basic movements are taught. We find that it is confusing for students who are learning a martial art for the first time to try to train in two different arts. We prefer that you choose one and earn your black belt, then diversify your training. We encourage our black belts to cross train in other arts.

Are there any special rules or etiquette I have to learn?

Your instructor will supply you with a copy of the dojo rules and talk to you about etiquette while in the dojo. True warriors understand the importance and need for good manners and respect for themselves and others. Though some of the rules may at first seem strange to the new student, it should be remembered that these rules have been found to provide the best atmosphere in which to learn the way of Karate. Karate begins and ends with courtesy.

Do you participate in tournaments?

We hold a shiai (pronounced she-eye) for our member schools every few months. This traditional Okinawan event is a gathering of all students to meet, train together, compete, and for the instructors to award promotions. We also encourage members to attend outside events.