American Isshinryu looks to provide assistance to any dojo that looks to grow its understanding of bunkai, kumite, weapons, self defense and better business procedures. One major difference in our approach is that we do not look to interfere between you and your sensei. We do not look to become your sensei. That bond is a special dynamic that we respect and honor. We offer direction without prejudice; we offer focus by setting new standards. We welcome you to AMERICAN ISSHINRYU, INC.

Panther Valley Village Square (mall)
1581 County Road 517 (off exit 19 on Route 80)
Hackettstown, NJ 07840

TIME:1 pm to 3:30 pm (1 hour seminars with a break)

COST: $20.00 for current AI members
$45.00 for non-members, which includes a lifetime membership

MASTER DONALD NASH, 8th Degree Black Belt

Topic: self-defense moves taken for our kata’s.
Bio: I was exposed to Martial Arts in 1964 with a good friend teaching me Judo. I started training in Isshinryu in the late 60’s, received my Sho-Dan on Janurary 22, 1970 from Sensei John Hendrickson.
Opened the Isshinyu Karate Klub at the age of seventeen – 1982 Hosted Master Kichiro Shimabuku Seminar
– 1984 Travel to Okinawa to train with Master Shimabuku and other first generation students – 1988 winner of the IWKA grand champion Kata – 1988 Isshinryu Spirit award from IIKA – 1993 Received Hachi-Dan from Master Don Nagle

MASTER DENNIS HOARE, 8th Degree Black Belt

Topic: The seminar will be an overview of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and how they locate pressure points and hit them. We will demonstrate how nerve strikes and pressure points will aid in making our Isshinryu self defense and fighting more effective. I will do some explanation and then hands on so it is can be retained. I will also try to back the techniques into our basics or kata so they become more personalized to our style. I do not plan on doing any knockouts or anything like that. All should have a good time
Bio: Began Isshinryu Karate training in the Mercer Street Dojo in Jersey City in about 1963 under Sensei Don Nagle. He was Master Nagle’s second in command, was in charge of running the Central Avenue Dojo. The school was officially handed over to Master Hoare in about 1997 and is still operating today attempting to carry on Sensei Nagle’s teachings


While we’re all together, let’s to something good for those suffering from diabetes. We’ll kick for 5 minutes to raise money for diabetes research through the “Martial Arts for St. Jude” program. Get sponsors to donate to the cause. They can sponsor you per kick or just donate a fixed amount for your participation.

  1. Download a sponsor packet.
  2. Find generous friends and family to sponsor you.
  3. Bring your completed form and donations the day of the event.

ANY QUESTIONS CALL MY CELL 908-797-0087 – John E. Hughes


It is our belief that children and adults need structure in their lives and a strong support system of family, friends and mentors to encourage and enable them.

Our goal is to help define this structure in a way that provides our younger students with well-defined guidelines, equipping them morally, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually for the everyday challenges of growing up.

Having structure allows the child to focus on improving themselves within acceptable guidelines, reaping the rewards of good behavior and understanding the consequences of inappropriate conduct. Structure provides a foundation for growth allowing children to become strong, self-disciplined, self-confident and self-reliant as they become young adults. We have been very successful in helping children become responsible young adults, and this is only achieved with your help and support.

We ask you to support our teaching when it comes to consistency. Only when an individual fully applies himself or herself to a particular pursuit, can he or she reap all the benefits and rewards it offers.

1. We ask our students to be consistent with training, often two days a week is best because it gives the student time to practice in the dojo and on his or her own. Inconsistent attendance sometimes causes a child to feel embarrassed when he or she cannot remember the skills that are being learned. Many children will want to give up rather than be embarrassed in any way.
2. When a child says “I don’t want to do this anymore”, we do not simply say “okay.” We believe we are not helping the child by doing this. We will quickly try to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes, the only issue is a lack of confidence, which can easily be overcome. We ask the parent to help support us in this way as well.
3. We realize that karate is not a quick fix. If we do not see immediate improvement, we do not give up. We are patient. It is the reinforcement of the all the positive character traits over time as well as the child’s gradual physical and emotional development that builds him or her into leaders as young adults.
4. We do not criticize a child or compare them to others in the school. Growth in the Martial Arts comes at different times and at a different pace for each individual. Isshin-ryu becomes a way of life.
5. We ask that parents inform us of changes in their children, positive or negative, as they occur so that we can respond accordingly. We try hard never to be in conflict with any of your family values or teachings.

We take our role as instructors, mentors and an extended family support group very seriously. Let us know how we are doing and please give us suggestions on how to improve our service to you and your child.


A Brief Study of the Kinesthetics of Karate – Understanding Movements of Karate Strikes
DISCOVER – Vol 21 No. 5 – May 2000
THE PHYSICS OF KARATE – Michael Felt, et al

A person’s body is the sum of all its parts. When the parts work together properly, then the whole becomes greater than the parts. A simple example is the difference in power found when punching with one arm only, or doing the same punch, and having it start at the hip, with a strong stance and also retracting the opposite arm.

A properly delivered punch reaches its maximum velocity when the arm is about 80 percent extended. A student is taught to focus the punch using imagination so that it terminates approximately two inches inside the opponent’s body, rather than on the surface. A peak velocity of 10 to 14 meters per second will produce more than 3,000 newtons. The karate student focuses his blow in a small area. Thus a large amount of momentum is exerted through a small area. The effect of the strike is intensified because the time of focus is extremely short, especially at higher levels of capability. The closer one is to the target the more force that one may create. This applies where the arm or leg reaches the target just before the peak of its travel arc. Once beyond that peak, the limb starts to lose power as potential energy starts to turn into kinetic energy. To deliver the maximum power, one must make contact before the slowdown begins. The concept of slowdown occurs after the punch reaches its optimum distance about 20 percent before full extension.

Michael Felt in his article states bone can withstand 40 times more force than concrete, a bone less than an inch in diameter can withstand a force of more than 25,000 newtons. (A Newton is about the weight of an apple.) Hands and feet can withstand even more than that, because their skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage absorb a great deal of impact. As a result, a well-kicked foot can absorb about 2,000 times as much force as concrete before breaking. f = m x a – – – (force = mass x acceleration)

Success of a strike also depends on more subtle forces. Because of the numerous factors in delivering an effective punch or kick, the more perfect the technique is, the more power that will be developed and delivered to the target. A punch or kick uses many parts of the body. Each demands that a stable stance is crucial. The better one’s balance the more power that will be developed. The use of the proper technique to strike the proper point of the opponent is also necessary. Generally, the larger the target, the smaller the weapon used.



Over the years I’ve been teaching children about a simple but powerful concept – the ant philosophy. I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four- part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit. That’s a good philosophy. If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them; they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they’ll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer. That’s an important perspective. You can’t be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants are gathering in their winter food in the middle of summer.

An ancient story says, “Don’t build your house on the sand in the summer.” Why do we need that advice? Because it is important to be realistic. In the summer, you’ve got to think storm. You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun. Think ahead.

The third part of the ant philosophy is that ants think summer all winter. That is so important. During the winter, ants remind themselves, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.” And the first warm day, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day. They can’t wait to get out.

And here’s the last part of the ant philosophy. How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter? All that he possibly can. What an incredible philosophy, the “all-that-you-possibly-can” philosophy.

Wow, what a great seminar to attend – the ant seminar. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can.

This philosophy works wonderfully with our karate training, studies in school and what must be done once we are in the work-a-day world.

1. Never quit – Traditional Isshin-ryu Karate is a life-long journey. We never learn everything that there is to know. We realize that there are four levels of study and mastery requires commitment to study the art, diligent training and the desire to investigate the depth of knowledge found in the basics, kata, weapons and kumite aspects of the art.

2. Perspective – In our training we know there are soft and hard techniques. Soft techniques are not weak techniques. With these we use another person’s strength against the individual when confronted by a stronger opponent. We meet force with force only when it is necessary. We train today because we must be prepared before our efforts are needed to protect ourselves, or our families or friends.

3. Think summer – Use the warmth of the sun’s energy to inspire positive action. Know that the struggles of winter make us stronger when our bodies need energy and action. Focus on the good times knowing each season has good and bad qualities. Positive thought is the best way to develop the attitude and the type of personality with which other people like to associate. As positive thought becomes the guiding force in one’s life, success will become a normal part of life. Set backs will become a challenge to grow and advance one’s abilities.

4. Do all you can (inspired effort) – This is what traditional martial arts strives to impart to each student. Karate is an individual, thought oriented, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual pursuit. It is intended to be a life-long endeavor applying the four stages mentioned in number one above. Though one stirves to make each move and combination of moves second nature; rushing to try to achieve perfection only slows the process. One must be open to learn using the concept of “mushin” (the empty mind where one does not challenge or resist what is taught) and “the beginner’s mind” (the mind that is always seeking to learn, without changing form or kata, to advance one’s skill and understanding.

January, 2010: Karate Speed Zones

Karate Speed Zones is a topic mentioned by Hanshi Duessel during his last visit in Hackettstown during our seminars. I had heard him talk about his concept previously on a number of occasions. After he returned to Pittsburgh, I decided to investigate this principle further (there is nothing like an idea who’s time has come). We must understand this critical concept, if we are going to advance in Isshin-ryu Karate. The same holds true in the way we learn as we progress from one grade in school to another (ranks white belt through green belt in the dojo), through high school (ranks purple belt through brown belt levels in the dojo), into college (ranks Sho Dan through San Dan in the dojo) and beyond (instructor’s and master’s titles awarded because of ability and dedication Renshi-go, Kyoshi-go & Hanshi-go).

We are aware of Hanshi’s quotation: “Speed+Form = Power”. As we think about it and the speed zones, why does one person learn more easily than another, progressing through the ranks more quickly and why does one person’s technique hit the target during sparring and another’s is blocked? One piece of the puzzle is speed. Another piece of the puzzle is timing. Yet other pieces are using the proper technique with the proper weapon to attack the appropriate target. Would a Pittsburgh Pirate baseball player try to hit a home run using the handle of a broom or a wiffle ball bat? The icing on the cake is developing the ability to use the proper training techniques at each rank, combined with the proper comprehension level and applying all of what has been mentioned with the appropriate speed and form. Trying to learn or advance too quickly generally slows one’s progress, rather than speeding it up.

As the sensei instructs the movements in kihon, kata, kobudo and kumite, remember how each movement and combination of movements is taught. That is the proper beginning learning speed. Do every part of each technique before beginning the next one. Resist the desire to move more quickly that the sensei instructs by trying to imitate the way the more advanced ranks perform the techniques you are learning. Make sure that each stance is set before the technique is delivered. With practice the individual techniques will join into combinations and movements will become more refined. Gradual progress, proper training and time will ultimately create simultaneous blocks and counters with speed, form, balance and focus. At higher levels the student will be able to “see” the opponent and the attack thus making his or her practice and performance “alive”.

Physical strength and conditioning are important as we develop into adulthood. As we condition our bodies, we remain healthy, strong and alert. A thought worth viewing is, what is physically strong for one person is weak for another. At this point in my life, I have not bench pressed 275 pounds in years but I now do more repetitions and sets than I did when I was younger. “Staying” strength is now more important than knowing that I can move a relatively heavy weight a moderately short distance. (But it was impressive, at least to me, then). Emphasize conditioning and flexibility because these qualities are the skills that will help us throughout our entire lives. With time our youth’s strength, speed and quickness refocuses on maturity’s enthusiasm, technique and timing to succeed. As is stated at the end of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses”:

We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

At times illness and injury may limit our physical activity. If this happens we either take time off or we continue to train, doing what we can to advance the capabilities we are able to use. Working through injuries when appropriate, knowing no further injury will occur if we do what is reasonable, is a sign of maturity, dedication and discipline.

So, with all this being said, what must be understood if we are to use the proper speed zone? Strive to follow the direction of the sensei that knows how to best help each of us to improve. Practice daily demonstrating the proper way to do kihon, kata and kobudo and at the appropriate speed. When in the dojo, use the time efficiently; arrive early and be ready to start at the beginning of each training session. Practice what you have been taught and be open to improve when instructed. Lastly, have a beginners mind; be open to learn and review the skills you may feel that you know (perfectly). With this open and willing mind, each person will be able to learn more (happily) and become an exceptional karate student and person.

The first karate tournament of the year is at Warren Hills High School – – Sunday, February 14th.  I hope many of you will be able to attend.  I have pre-registration forms.

Please pay the beginning of each month

If paying monthly with more than one std. per family  – – additional student is a $10 reduction / month.

Those students that have paid for more than one month, the new rates will begin with the next payment.

In Memory of Sensei Dennis Sammartino

dennis_sammartinoIt is with regret that I write about the passing of Sensei Dennis Sammartino (12-7-09) at his home after a prolonged battle with cancer. Dennis and I trained with Sensei Dale Jenkins, starting in about 1973.  He was a fine man who taught Isshinryu for many years at his dojo in Boonton, NJ. His desire to teach his understanding of Isshinryu was passed to his students, whom I hope will continue his legacy.

A viewing will take place this Friday (12-11-09) from 2-4 PM and from 7-9PM at: Iliff-Ruggerio Funeral Home in Newton, NJ. The web site is: for further information