World Representatives

Master Joseph Jennings, 9th Dan

In the early 60s Master Joseph Jennings began his Isshin Ryu Karate training at World Fighting Arts in Buffalo, NY. Under the tutelage of many great instructors including Ed Wipperman, Jim Gordon, Everett Francis and John Overton Master Jennings developed into an excellent Karateka. Wishing to improve his skills to a higher level, he traveled to Okinawa in 1972 and trained under the founder of Isshin Ryu Karate Grandmaster Tatsuo Shimabuku and his son-in-law and number one student, Master Angi Uezu.


Upon his return to the U.S. Master Jennings started teaching in Rochester, NY – first at a small dojo, eventually moving to a large, spacious facility complete with changing rooms, showers, a kickboxing ring, multiple heavy bags and a large training floor.

Master Joseph Jennings

This was in the 1970’s, when the martial arts was just beginning to develop as a viable business – Master Jennings was an innovator and leader of the early martial arts business industry having developed five successful schools throughout the Western NY region.


In the mid 70s Master Jennings also developed the martial arts curriculum for the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology where he taught coed karate classes for over 10 years to hundreds of eager college students. It was one of the most popular Phys Ed programs on campus. The Isshin Ryu R.I.T. classes are still going to this day with Instruction by one of his leading Black Belts.


Participating in early karate tournaments, Master Jennings developed a name for himself as a top competitor, often winning all three divisions at the event – kata, sparring and weapons. During the 1970’s till 1982, Master Jennings taught countless students and produced some of the top black belts in Isshin Ryu of which many are still active today as competitors and successful school owners. Two of his top black belts are Sensei Curt Sawyer and Sensei Matt Dorsey, executive directors of the I.I.K.F.


From his time in Okinawa, Master Jennings developed a close friendship with Grandmaster Angi Uezu. Master Jennings arranged for Master Uezu to visit the U.S. over a dozen times during the 1970’s through the early 1990’s where he taught seminars around the country. He co-authored the Encyclopedia of Isshin Ryu Karate Book Vol.1 and through his company Panther Productions produced the highly regarded video series on the complete Isshin Ryu Karate System with Master Angi Uezu. This video series is regarded as the Blueprint for the TRUE Art of Isshin Ryu a complete guide for all students and Instructors to follow. Other Books by Master Jennings include include Winning Karate and Full Contact Karate (with World Champion Jean Yves Theriault). Master Jennings has also co-starred with Louie Neglia in the Martial Arts action movie “Sun Dragon”.


Master Jennings is also founder and developer of the very popular Whip Self Defense Keychain System which he designed to immediately empower men, women and teens with the ability to defend themselves against any potential threat and escape unharmed! (


Now living in southern California Master Jennings continues to teach Isshin Ryu Karate and travels the World giving seminars on his life-long art. Being one of the very few who has personally trained in Okinawa directly under Isshin Ryu founder Founder Tatsuo Shimabuku Master Jennings valuable in depth knowledge of Isshin Ryu makes him one of the country’s most sought after Instructors. Master Jennings is a true innovator and an outstanding representation of the honor and humility of the martial arts. He is looking forward to working with the I.I.K.F. to share the knowledge he has gained in over 40 years of training.


Anyone who has trained with Master Jennings has always come away from the experience highly enlightened about their Isshin Ryu Katas, Weapons, Fundamentals, Sparring, History and Self Defense Techniques! Above all they come away proud to be part of such a Dynamic Martial Art!