IIKF History

The International Isshin-Ryu Karate Federation (IIKF) was founded in 2010 by Sensei Curt Sawyer and Sensei Matt Dorsey, both 8th degree black belts and original students of Master Joseph Jennings and Grandmaster Angi Uezu.


With the desire to help unify, grow and educate Isshin Ryu practitioners around the world, Sensei Sawyer and Sensei Dorsey have committed themselves to make the IIKF the foremost karate organization in the world.


Through seminars, clinics, rank promotions, tournaments, instructor training and martial arts business consulting, the IIKF will support IsshinRyu karate students and sensei, preserving the traditional teachings, principles and philosophies of this prominent Okinawan karate style.


Any Isshin-Ryu karate-ka is invited to join the IIKF – membership in this worldwide organization will bring many benefits to both individuals and charter school members.

Isshin-Ryu Karate History

Tatsuo Shimabuku was born in 1908 in Kyan Village, Okinawa, Japan. As a young boy, he was picked on by his brother and decided he needed to learn how to protect himself.


His father encouraged him to learn karate so, at the age of 15, he started training with Motobu Choki – the great fighting master of that time.


After that, Shimabuku began training in Shorin-Ryu karate under Kyan Chotoku where he learned many of the katas practiced today in Isshin-Ryu.


Later still, Shimabuku trained under Miyagi Chojun – founder of Goju-Ryu karate. From Miyagi, he learned Sanchin and Seuinchin katas.


Armed with the skill gained from working with these great masters, Shimabuku added some of his own innovations – like the vertical fist, the thumb on top position for the fist, forearm muscle blocking and other movements.


Gaining a reputation as an excellent teacher and master, Tatsuo Shimabuku taught his style, now named Isshin-Ryu, to many Okinawan students as well as American servicemen stationed in Okinawa. Through these servicemen, Isshin-Ryu karate has become one of the most widely practiced karate styles in the United States.


Tatsuo Shimabuku died in 1975 and left a martial arts legacy of blending tradition with innovation, along with many great students continuing to spread Isshin-Ryu, including Grandmaster Angi Uezu and Master Joseph Jennings.

Master Shimabuku

Tatsuo Shimabuku


Grandmaster Angi Uezu