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"The Bohan's and Family Web Site Presents Historical Interviews"

 Sensei Speaks: 

      Over the years, I have consistently been impressed with the amount of information available on all areas of the Martial Arts and its related subjects.  Today, thanks to the Internet, we have more access to information then ever before.  Sensei Bohan (Papasan) was a big advocate of research and was an accomplished well read historian.  I can remember spending literally hours at a time talking to him about everything and everyone that came to mind and always receiving some form of unique insight. I was taught early on to take every advantage when learning so I have always read books, watched videos, attended seminars and tournaments, cross trained, made phone-calls, e-mailed, and interviewed whenever possible.  Over the years, I’ve gotten to know many of Isshinryu’s better known Sensei, and some not so heralded but equally as talented.  When possible, I’ve spoken with them and more importantly, listened to what they had to say.

     When my friend Mr. Wayne Wayland asked me to provide him with data for a new section he was adding to the website, I was both excited and flattered that he asked.  I decided that I should probably lay down my own structure and format for this venture so that everyone understands what to expect.  First, I will conduct all interviews in the same apolitical non-biased format that the “Bohan’s Isshinryu Family Memorial Website” is known for.  This is not to say that all the questions asked will be non challenging, but rather in keeping with the spirit of the website. I will try to have all the interviews done electronically so as not to misquote the Interviewee. And finally, I will try to keep the content broad based so as to have benefit for everyone who reads it.

      Hope you enjoy the interviews and I look forward to hearing from you about suggestions for future interviews.

 Yours in Isshinryu,

 H.P. Henry

"Click on the Martial Artist's picture or text for an exclusive interview"


"A Collaborative Interview with 13 students of Isshinryu Founder Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku:"






"A Collaborative Interview with 13 students of Isshinryu Founder Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku:"






"A Collaborative Interview with 13 students of Isshinryu Founder Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku:"





Grand Master Master Phil Koeppel

Grand Master Master Phil Koeppel -

"His Martial Arts"


"You would look at Jim Chapman Sensei and think, this guy is nothing.   A lot of people made the same mistake with his teacher, Don Nagle.   Then he, Jim, would proceed to beat the hell out of you.   He loved his karate and he had a great love for life."


"I was honored that his wife asked me to be a pallbearer at his funeral."  



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Grand Master Harold Mitchum

"Grand Master Harold Mitchum speaks about Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku and Isshin-Ryu!"


"The actual birthday of our style is what seems to be the controversy, which is January 15, 1956.  The document I have given to many high ranking Isshinryu people clearly establishes the exact birthday.  This document Master Shimabuku gave to me personally to have translated copied and passed out to all Military Bases in close proximity to the Agena Dojo.  I still have the originals in my possession." 


 **NOTE** Grand Master Mitchum sent us a copy of the document he references in the article.  It has been attached in it's entirety. 


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Master John Bartusevics

"John Bartusevics - speaks about Isshin-Ryu Karate-Do"

"I think that in 1968 the All Okinawa Karate and Kobudo council of Karate Masters accepted Master Shimabuku Tatsuo and the Isshin-Ryu System.  I feel that the beginning started when the Master hosted the First Island Wide Karate Championship in 1964, and having a student of his win the tournament didn't hurt either.  Also, his two tours to the States '64 and '66 helped clinch his status as a serious and legitimate Karate Master of Isshin-Ryu."


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Grandmaster Tom Lewis

An exclusive interview with "Grandmaster Tom Lewis"


Mr. Lewis (Tom) is a first generation student of Soke Tatsuo Shimabuku, and was a member of the Agena dojo during his earliest training in Isshinryu.  This interview was conducted by HP Henry February 8, 2006 via phone and e-mail.



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Grandmaster Kichiro Shimabuku

Grandmaster Kichiro Shimabuku - "His Isshin-Ryu Story"


Mr. H.P. Henry conducted the attached interview via e-mail in early June 2005.  Questions were asked and later translated by Mr. Joe Agius.  The interview was done prior to Master Shimabuku’s visit to the U.S. in late June 2005.


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Grandmaster Ernie Cates

Grandmaster Ernie Cates - Speaks out abut "Martial Arts"


Grandmaster Cates was a close personal friend of Master Bohan and as you will read, Bohan Sensei was one of his first students when he opened the now famous Jacksonville, NC dojo. The dojo was co-operated by Grandmaster Don Nagle. Grandmaster Cates, or Professor Cates as he is more commonly called runs a Ju-Jitsu dojo in the rear part of the Burlington Martial Arts Center.


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Grandmaster Ronald Duncan

Grandmaster Ronald Duncan - Speaks out about "Isshin-Ryu"


"Grand Master Don Nagle is one of the most unique men that I've had the privilege to know.  We were barely out of our teens when I met him at Sensei's (Cates) in Jacksonville NC (Camp LeJeune).  He was teaching some of the legendary Isshin-Ryu pioneers in that dojo which I believe that he shared with Sensei Cates.  We did study Judo under Sensei Cates and both were members of the Camp LeJeune Judo team, we sometimes did randori as mandated by Sensei Ernie Cates."


Robert Mark Kamen

Mr. Robert Mark Kamen - Speaks out about the "Karate KID"


Mr. Robert Mark Kamen is best known for the release of the highly successful movie “The Karate Kid” in which he wrote the screenplay.  Mr. Kamen as you may or may not know is an accomplished martial artist with over 40 years experience. His roots trace back to the Karate styles of Shotokan, Isshin-Ryu, and Okinawan Goju, and he now trains in Tai Chi and Ba Qua.


(Bob Wall / Bruce Lee / Chuck Norris)

Bob Wall speaking about "Enter The Dragon"

"I knew Bruce Lee very well after ten years and tried to embody all the negative elements of every bully I ever knew, tried to show all the character’s ego and hostility to be a good foil for Bruce’s character."


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Master Clarence Ewing

"Clarence Ewing speaking about his training"

"I joined the USMC in 1957, and started training with Don Nagle and Ernie Cates, at a little dojo that they operated outside of Camp LeJeune, NC (220 N. Bridge St, Jacksonville).  One of my dojomates at Sensei Nagle's dojo was the late Jim Chapman.  Later, I did an Okinawa tour where I started my training with Tatsuo Shimabuku."


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Grand Master Frank Van Lenten

"Grand Master Frank Van Lenten speaks about Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku!"


"There were less formal or structured classes at the Agena dojo.  There was a lot of free time or self-practice time.  We taught each other and practiced with partners a lot.  I want to stress that Soke was there and that he would work with individuals on Waza, Kata,  and Kumite at all times.  The dojo was always open and he was there most of the time, day and night, and often worked one on one with his students."


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