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Bohan’s Isshin-Ryu Karate Family Patch

by Wayne Wayland




In 1979, Don Bohan, and his senior students formed the Bohan’s Isshin-Ryu Karate Family.   The original Family consisted of Donald Bohan, 7th Dan (Deceased), Wayne Wayland, 4th Dan, Raymond Heberlig, 4th Dan, Gary Bush, 4th Dan, and Arthur Jolly, 2nd Dan (Deceased).   With the help of first generation student and long time friend Rick Niemira, these members designed and officially adopted the Bohan’s Isshin-Ryu Family dojo emblem/patch in early 1980. 



The emblem/patch was to be worn on the left sleeve of the GI and the club jacket.



1.         There were three principle colors of the patch: Red, Black, and White.

            A.        Red:  Represents the common blood shared by the members of the Family. Blood is also                                            symbolic of  our life.
            B.        Black:  Represents the continuance of our lives and the closeness of the Family.
            C.        White:  Represents the purity of death and the oath we took to carry on if any member was to

                        have  fallen. 


2.         2.         The outer red circle represents the Family and students struggling with Karate training.


3.         The three large red interwoven circles represent Gou-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu and Isshin-Ryu.  They are

             interwoven  representing the unity of Martial Arts.


4.         The inter-most circle represents the Family.


5.         The Kanji (Japanese writing) reads: Bohan’s Isshin-Ryu.


6.         The seven stars: (7 Codes of the Bushido)
            Fealty – Unswerving loyalty; obligations binding.
            Frugality – Thriftiness.
            Filial Piety – Devotion to Family.
            Scorning Death


7.         If the seven stars are laid one on top of the other there would by only one star with that star having five

            points.  The five points represent the original five family members. (Donald Bohan (Deceased), Wayne

            Wayland, Raymond Heberlig, Gary Bush, and Arthur Jolly (Deceased).


8.         The three large circles are interwoven creating three triangles.  These three triangles have nine sides.

            A.        Strength of mind and body.
            B.         Direction of energy.
            C.        Harmony with the universe.
            D.        Healing – Self and others.
            E.         Premonition of danger.
            F.         Knowing the thoughts of others.
            G.        Mastery of time and space.
            H.        Controlling the elements of nature.


9.         It is important to note that these patches were not just handed out or bought by the dojo's Karate-Ka.  A

            vote would be taken by the Family members once a year and if one member voted no then the Karate-Ka

            in question did not represent the Family by wearing the patch - end of story.  It was considered an honor

            and a privilege to be presented with and to wear the Family patch.  Not all of Master Bohan's black belts

            got the privilege of adorning the patch and very very few Kyu ranks even knew the meaning of the



10.       It's been many years since I've seen anyone wearing the Family patch posted above.  I personally have

            not worn one since I gave the eulogy at Pap's funeral.  Since two of the founding Family members have

            passed and two others have chosen to be inactive within the Isshin-Ryu system we (the remaining active

            high Dans of the Family) have chose to go a different “way”.  


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