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dojo history

Sensei Curt Sawyer is a true martial artist at heart. He’s on the floor teaching 5 days a weeks and loves every minute of it. He began his Isshin Ryu Karate training in the late 1970’s under Master Joseph Jennings. In 1981, he became a manager at one of Master Jennings dojos. He became the owner of that dojo in 1982 when Master Jennings sold the school and moved to California to begin Panther Productions.

Sensei Sawyer had the honor to help Master Jennings with the filming of the Isshin-Ryu Training videos featuring Grandmaster Angi Uezu. He is also featured in many other self-defense and karate training videos produced by Panther Productions.

In his over 30 years of martial arts training, Sensei Sawyer has competed and trained in Okinawa, Japan four times. He has also competed in many tournaments across the country.

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In addition to training extensively in Isshin Ryu Karate, Sensei Sawyer has been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for over 20 years. He has trained with members of the Gracie family including Rickson, Royce, Renzo, and Ralph. He has competed in the East Coast Gracie Championships and has been tested by Rickson Gracie.

In 1994, with much hard work and dedication, Sensei Sawyer purchased 2.5 acres of land and built a brand new 8,100 square-foot dojo. He currently employs 14 instructors and has over 300 students. With the new, much larger dojo came new martial arts programs and a fitness center.


Samurai now offers Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese Kendo, and Cardio Kickboxing – along with traditional Isshin-Ryu Karate.

Samurai has something for everyone; whether you are looking to get in shape, improve your flexibility, increase self-esteem, or improve discipline, we will have the right program for you!

Choose a program today and start your fitness and martial arts journey!

"[Master Shimabuku] saw Isshin-Ryu as a way to better one's life, not as an art of violence.

To the master, karate had four purposes:
  1. to strengthen the mind and body;
  2. to install self-discipline;
  3. to instill self-confidence;
  4. to gain a means of self-protection, the knowledge of which should never be misused."

excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Isshin-Ryu Karate

by Master Angi Uezu with Joseph Jennings

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