Okinawan Karate is not about sport, feeling good, or "self esteem".  It is about effective, combat proven technique designed to allow you to protect yourself in real life situations.

The Okinawan martial arts of which karate is the most commonly known today were developed over many centuries.  While heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese martial arts, these Okinawan arts developed along their own path, incorporating the commonly thought of defensive, striking and kicking techniques but also encompassing grappling, throws and the use of weapons to create a very well rounded defensive tradition.

In the 1920s these Okinawan martial arts were first exported from Okinawa to the rest of the world.  Today you see karate in every country around the globe.  However, with such popularity, many today practice and teach a very remote and limited copy of the original Okinawan arts.

At our dojo, we teach a curriculum known as Isshinryu (the One or Whole Hearted Way) Karate.  Isshinryu was systematized on Okinawa in the late 1950s. Intended for training the US Marines who were stationed on the Island, it preserves the original empty hand combative intent of Okinawan Karate and also includes training in Okinawan Kobudo (weapons training).  It is a no-nonsense form of Karate formulated to be compatible with the American psyche.  We also include extensive training in Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu (literally Old-Style Okinawan Martial Arts), as researched and re-formulated by Patrick McCarthy, a world renowned martial arts researcher and historian.  This unique combination of the old and new gives our students a thorough understanding of the lessons this ancient art was intended to convey and provides them with the skills to protect themselves.

Okinawan Martial Arts

About Us

Our dojo (school) is intentionally small.  After more than three decades of running large commercial schools,  Holwager Sensei now prefers to focus on a small group of committed learners.  His focus is on developing each individual,  building high levels of competency and real-life defensive skills.

Classes are based upon classical old-style training, the way things have been done for centuries, with an injection of modern safe training practices.

Our Instructor - John Holwager, Kyoshi

All classes are taught by Master Instructor John Holwager.

After more than 35 years of intensive and extensive training many instructors would be content, but Master Holwager continually strives to increase his knowledge and abilities.  Attending multiple training programs each year, his quest for excellence and the origins of our arts has taken him around the globe with repeated visits to Japan, Okinawa, China and Australia.

Over many years as both student and instructor, he has achieved great respect among martial artists for his skill, dedication and insight. He has worked with many notable instructors to increase the knowledge and skill he passes along to his students. Holwager Sensei’s commitment to teaching his art has brought him a number of honors, including Instructor of the Year, Spirit of Isshinryu and the IRKRS Honor Roll, but he believes his proudest achievement is his black belt students, especially those who have themselves gone on to be teachers.


Contact Us

Our primary method of communication, for inquiries, is by email.  Please feel free to contact us at email@AmericanIsshinryuKarate.com.


Classes are based out of Sensei's home.


Trial classes are arranged by appointment only.


No spectators, no drop-by visitors allowed.

Classes are for teens and adults only, no children's classes.

Copyright © 2014 American Isshinryu Karate Schools, Inc.