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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.
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)
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.
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”.