History of Shihan
Shihan began his karate career at age 12 in Peoria, IL with Hanchi Phillip Koeppel in 1972. Shihan quickly adapted to the style of “Shorei-ryu” as it was called at that time. In 1974 Shihan taught private lessons as part of an “introductory package” which was popular at that time and was promoted to Assistant Manager of Hanchi Koeppel’s “Hombu” or home school. Hanchi Koeppel owned 7 schools at that time.
Shihan has traveled extensively throughout the Midwest competing at various tournaments over a 6-year period with Hanchi Koeppel. Mr. Isaak graduated from High School in 1978 and went to work full time at the Koeppel Karate schools. Hanchi Koeppel asked Mr. Isaak to travel to Springfield, IL to work at that location. Shihan worked there for 3 months and was offered his own school to manage in 1979 and took the position in Champaign-Urbana, IL. Shihan worked there for 1 year and decided to move on.
He then joined the United States Air Force in 1981 and was stationed at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, OK. There he studied with Tom Haggerty and studied Seikichi Toguchi Shorei Kan Goju-Ryu. Toguchi was a direct descendant of Chojun Miyagi founder of Goju-Ryu. Isaak trained for 3 years and earned his 1st Degree Black Belt in July of 1985. During this time he met Mike Dillard, owner of Century Martial Art supply and secured a job with Mr. Dillard. Mr. Dillard was expanding his operation and decided on opening a location in Atlanta, Ga. In 1985 Shihan opened the Atlanta location for Century and ran the store there.
Shihan started teaching Shuri-Ryu out of a small gym in 1985 becoming the first person to establish a Shuri-Ryu Karate school in the state of Georgia. He learned and taught Shotokan for a short period under Ren Halverson and earned his Black Belt in Shotokan.
In 1988 the first full time school for Shihan was established out of Golds Gym in Doraville, GA. Shihan taught there for 2 years and moved his established business into a 1500 sq ft. store front in Decatur GA in 1985. That location was moved to the Decatur Toco Hills location and is still open today. (under a different owner). When the Decatur school moved in 1994, Shihan then opened the Peachtree Corners school in Norcross, GA and promoted that school for 6 years. Shihan then sold that school and established the Budokan KarateDojo in 1999 in Cumming, GA.
Shihan has established himself in the community as a strong leader and developer of the community. Shihan’s goals are to give back to the community what he receives from the community.
He has competed in over 200 tournaments and has been nationally ranked in forms, fighting and weapons. He was the 1989 #1 forms and #1 Light Heavyweight fighting champion (Naska) in the Southeast region. He has attended over 70 seminars on the martial arts and is currently active in promoting and teaching seminars. Shihan has won numerous awards for his outstanding achievements from his students, mentors and community. He has a series of 6 DVDs on the system of Shuri-Ryu by CenturyVision.
Shihan’s rank consists of 7th Dan Okinawan Karate, 6th degree Shuri-Ryu karate, 3rd degree Shinto Yoshin Ryu Ju-Jitsu, Gakusha (Black Belt) weapons, Yudansha (black belt) Shorei-Kan Goju-Ryu karate, Yudansha (black belt) Shotokan karate. Shihan is also a member of the Living Legends Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement. Shihan has also produced 6 videos available worldwide on the Shuri system. Shihan was awarded "Master of the Year" 2011 by the AAMA.