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 Master Sherman Harrill - “Truly Honorable Man”,


Master Sherman Harrill and Master Don Bohan were closer friends than most realized. The two pioneers routinely exchanged theories, methodologies, and philosophy associated with our beloved combat system. Rarely did Master Bohan publish a document without first consulting his faithful and esteemed counsel, Master Harrill.


Just prior to Master Bohan’s death in 1998, he and I had a range of conversations and most pertaining to Isshin~Ryu. We often spoke of Master Sherman Harrill, a man described as a “sensei among senseis.” Master Bohan described him as a mentor, innovator, professor, scholar, devoted disciple, and a “truly honorable man.” He was recognized as a man who mastered himself and the Code of Isshin~Ryu.


After my sensei passed, Master Bohan, I was blessed to have many discussions with Master Harrill about kata, kumite, history, and especially Grand Master Shimabuku Tatsuo. My most cherished advice dealt with what to do as the custodian of the Isshin~Ryu and Bando archives left in my care by Master Bohan. Master Harrill advised, “Do what you do best—use your professional and martial arts skills to honor your sensei and our friend. Create a website ensuring the knowledge is shared with as many martial artists as possible.” I vividly recall the conversation, it occurred while I was on business travel. I pulled into a parking lot in La Plata, Maryland, and for the next hour Master Harrill served as the architect for what is now Master Harrill even chose the name, “Bohan’s Family.” Unfortunately, Master Harrill passed several weeks later and never witnessed the fruition of his vision.


Master Sherman Harrill is the embodiment of an Isshin~Ryu Master and the benchmark all others are assessed. If you knew him, you were bettered by the experience. His lessons and the teachings of his sensei will survive the test of time. On behalf of all the members of the Wayland Isshin~Ryu Family, we extend our deepest appreciation for Master Sherman Harrill, his lifelong service to God, family, country, and Isshin~Ryu. May God continue to bless and keep him now and forever.


Wayne Wayland


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