Okinawa Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do


Donald B. Joyner

HACHI-DAN SHIHAN (Eighth Degree Black Belt, Master Instructor)
Shihan Certification #139 by the Okinawa Karate-Do Association

BORN: April 2, 1957
OCCUPATION: Business Owner, Karate Instructor

DOJO: Don Joyner Professional Karate Schools
3320 NE 37th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33308

Don Kick Bag

Sensei Don Joyner began his Okinawan Karate training in 1972 at the Kalamazoo YMCA under Black-Belts Steve Fuller and Bill Keith of the Okinawan Karate Club of Kalamazoo, MI. Then his formal training has been under James Thompson, 9th Degree Black Belt, Shihan Hanshi Master Instructor of the Okinawan Karate Academy, in Kalamazoo, MI.

Over the years, Sensei Donald Joyner has trained at summer camps in such places as Florida, California, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Canada, and Okinawa, with such renowned people as Dan Inosanto, Tadashi Yamashita, Grand Master Uechi Kañei (10th Dan), and Randy Williams (Senior Instructor of Wing Chung in Singapore).

On April 24, 1977, Sensei Donald Joyner was promoted to Shodan, First Degree Black Belt, Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Soke Shubukan Certification # 1177, by NAUKA through Sensei Walter Mattson upon the recommendation of Sensei Bill Keith.

On April 22, 1979, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sensei Donald Joyner was promoted to Nidan, 2nd Degree Black Belt, Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Soke Shubukan Certification # 599, by Shihan James Thompson and a Board of Examiners, which included Sensei Bill Keith.

On June 1st, 1981, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sensei Joyner was promoted to 3rd Degree Black Belt, Uechi-Ryu Soke Shubukan Certification # 260, by Shihan James Thompson and a Board of Examiners, which included Shihan Toshiyuki Itokazu testing Sanchin kata.

On May 15, 1983, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sensei Donald Joyner was promoted to 4th Degree Black Belt, Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Soke Shubukan Certification # 163, by Grand Master James Thompson Hanshi Kyudan and President of Uechi-Ryu Kokusai Kyokai.

In August 1984, Sensei Joyner attended the Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Summer Camp training in Boston, Thompson Island, Massachusetts, where he met Grand Master Kañei Uechi and studied Wu-Shu Tiger and Crane forms under two Wu-Shu masters from Red China.

On August 1st, 1989, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sensei Joyner was promoted to 5th Degree Black Belt, Uechi-Ryu Soke Shubukan Certification # 169, by Grand Master James Thompson Hanshi Kyudan and President of Uechi-Ryu Kokusai Kyokai.

In August 1989, (for the past 7 years) Sensei Joyner had hosted the Battle of the Great Lakes Open Karate Championship in Kalamazoo, Michigan as one of the youngest Godan. In December of 1990, Sensei Joyner and Sensei Mark E. Stewart held a seminar at a grand opening of the Multi-cultural Martial Arts Association in Kenoga Park, California. Guests included Ted Wong, who was a senior student of Bruce Lee in the 1960’s, Ted Lakai Lakai, and Louie Campos of the Jeet Kune DoTM System.

Don Fight b&w

Sensei Joyner is listed in “Who’s Who in Martial Arts” for 1985-1986. He has also been featured in Karate Illustrated Magazine along with Sensei Mark E. Stewart. In 1988, he competed in the Tough-man Contest at Wings’ Stadium in Kalamazoo. In 1989, he competed in the Uechi-Ryu National Karate Championship in Antioch, California and took 2nd place. In l990 he competed again in Antioch and took 1st place in the Middle Weight division and runner-up to the Grand Champion. Also in 1989, he received Michigan’s first gold medal for Black-Belt AAU Karate in the Middle Weight division. He attended this competition with Sensei Al Doorlag, also a gold medalist and a member of the U.S.-AAU Karate team in 1989 and 1990. In 1990, he trained for and competed in the Southeast National Uechi-Ryu Karate Do Championship in Tampa, Florida with Sensei Ric Martin.

In 1993, Sensei Joyner was ranked number 1 for Form and number 1 Fighting in the Michigan Karate Circuit. He was number 1 on the Michigan Karate Association sparring circuit for at least 5 straight years in the early to the mid-1990’s.

In 1994, Sensei Joyner won the Karate Grand Champion in the AAU Regional Gold Coast Championship in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

On July 9th, 1995, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sensei Joyner was promoted to 6th Degree Black Belt, Okinawa Karate-Do Association [Oki-Ku-Kai] Certification #82, by Grand Master James Thompson Hanshi Kyudan and President of Uechi-Ryu Kokusai Kyokai.

Sensei Joyner was owner-operator of Joyner’s Professional Karate School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1991 to 2002, when he trained many students that became his Yudansha, Legacy of Black Belt student. During that period, he also trained several Junior Olympics participants who won trophies in national tournaments. He also hosted seminars with the late Sensei Sherman Harrill (Isshin-ryu system).

On January 8th, 2002, in Quincy, Massachusetts, Sensei Joyner was promoted to Kyoshi 7th Degree Black Belt, Shohei-Ryu Certification #64, by Grand Master Shigeru Takamiyagi, Hanshi Judan in Oki-Ku-Kai (Okinawa Karate-Do Association) hosted by Sensei Walter Mattson from Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do in Massachusetts.

On November 21, 2008, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sensei Joyner was promoted to Hachi-Dan, 8th Degree Black Belt, Certification #8006, by Grand Master Shinyu Gushi, Hanshi Judan and President of Ryukokaku Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do. In addition he received the title Kyoshi for the second time. Also, at the age of 51 years old, he is one of the youngest 8th-Dan Karate Masters in the world.

For the past several years, in addition to regularly attending classes in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sensei Joyner has been training with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champions in Florida and continues receiving private lessons currently. He has also traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where his instructors were trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and became Champions.

Sensei Donald Joyner presented a seminar involving his interpretation of Kata, Energy Strikes, and Close range fighting skills on Wednesday, the 9th of February 2011, at the WinterFest 2011 by Sensei George Mattson in Mount Dora, Florida.

don4

During October 2011, Sensei Joyner accompanied Richard, Miles, Amanda, and Al Bennett to the Uchinanchu Taikai festival in Okinawa, Japan where he connected again with Uechi-Ryu Masters participating in the Budokan hosted demonstrations. He also participated in the photo shoot at Zakimi Castle for Bennetts Karate LLC. At that time Sensei Joyner also trained with Hanshi Senaga and Hanshi Shinjo with the Bennetts.

Sensei Donald Joyner presented his seminar entitled, Kata, Energy Strikes, and Close range fighting skills on Saturday, January 28th, 2012, at the Bennetts Karate dojo, 515 Briggs St., Erie, CO., during the Colorado Winter Camp 2012 by Shihan Richard Bennett.

During June 2012, Sensei Joyner accompanied Richard and Al Bennett to the World Cup Tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he participated as a Judge for the competition. Also again, he connected with Uechi-Ryu Masters participating in the events including Shihan Kyoshi Gustavo Gondra and Grand Master Seiyu Gushi, Hanshi Judan, 10th Degree Black Belt, his teacher from 2008-2012.

On October 6th, 2012, Sensei Joyner again attended a very interactive seminar with Grand Master Tadashi Yamashita, with Shihan Al Bennett as his partner taking Ukemi from him. At this event Sensei Joyner correlated previous knowledge from Sensei Sherman Harrill (Isshin-ryu system) to further develop his presentation, Kata, Energy Strikes, and Close range fighting skills for his explanations previously. Sensei Joyner has continued to train each year since with Grand Master Tadashi Yamashita at his seminars in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Near the end of 2012, Sensei Joyner and the world grieved the loss of Grand Master Shinyu Gushi who passed away. As a result of his passing, Sensei Joyner was without a formal teacher or organization to continue his study of Uechi-ryu Karate-Do. As such, he applied for membership with OkiKuKai Uechi-ryu Karate-Do which was recently formed by Grand Master Shintoku Takara, Hanshi Judan and several other instructors in Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan.

Sensei Joyner upon his application began his three year probation period and he has traveled to Okinawa to train each year since. This included training at Sensei Shintoku Takara’s dojo and affiliated dojo locations in Tokyo area and Okinawa, Japan from Friday, November 1, 2013 till Monday, November 11, 2013, from Tuesday, November 4, 2014 till Thursday, November 13, 2014, and from Monday, June 1, 2015 till Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sensei Joyner attended a summer camp in Massachusetts featuring seminars with Grand Master Tsutomu Nakahodo, Hanshi Judan and Hanshi Judan Toshio Higa from August 2 to August 7, 2014. Also in attendance was Al Bennett sponsored by Sensei Joyner.

On January 10, 2015 Sensei Don Joyner was Chairman of a Black Belt test at his Grand Rapids dojo with Al Bennett also on the board of examiners. James Gemmell was promoted to Shihan Renshi Rokudan. Chris Cohee from OkiKuKai Shohei-ryu [6-8-13], applied for a second Godan diploma as a dojo with OkiKuKai Uechi-ryu Karate-Do Association under Sensei Joyner. He received the dojo certificate in the summer of 2015 with Sensei Joyner.

In May 2015, Sensei Joyner was accepted by the OkiKuKai Uechi-ryu Karate-Do Association. His new formal teacher of Uechi-ryu Karate-Do thus became Grand Master Shintoku Takara, Hanshi Judan. He traveled to Tokyo, Japan for the Association Anniversary Celebration which included several training seminars and testing. At that event, Sensei Joyner was given two certificates for his dojo locations in Michigan and Florida, as well as a new diploma of Kyoshi Hachidan, Eighth Degree Black Belt. This was his 2nd 8th-dan and 3rd Kyoshi certification. In attendance was Renshi Jason Ferguson and Kyoshi Al Bennett sponsored by Sensei Joyner, during these seminars and testing.

In January 2016 Sensei Don Joyner was Chairman of a Black Belt test at his Grand Rapids dojo with Al Bennett also on the board of examiners. Several black belts were promoted. Muhamet Vitia was promoted to 5th-Dan and also received a dojo certificate.

Sensei Donald Joyner returned to train with Grand Master Shintoku Takara, Hanshi Judan and an affiliated dojo from February 13 to February 18, 2017 in Okinawa, Japan.

Sensei Donald Joyner presented his seminar entitled, Close range fighting skills on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017, at the Bennetts Karate dojo, 720 Austin Ave., Erie, CO., during the Colorado Winter Camp 2017 by Shihan Richard Bennett.

From October 30, 2017 to November 3, 2017 Sensei Joyner returned to train with Grand Master Shintoku Takara, Hanshi Judan and several other instructors in Okinawa and plan for 2018 training activities at the Okinawa Karate Tournament.

Sensei Joyner presented his seminar entitled, Kata, Energy Strikes, and Close range fighting skills on Monday, November 6th, 2017, at the Perl-Mack Karate Club, 7125 Mariposa St., Denver, CO., during the Denver Karate Winter Camp by Shihan Renshi Amanda Bennett.

8°dan on 6-6-15 Okinawa Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do certification, in Tokyo, Japan,
& Kyoshi 6-6-15 Okinawa Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do with two Dojo Certifications

8°dan on 11-21-08 Uechi-Ryu Ryukokaku certification #8006, by Hanshi Seiyu Gushi
& Kyoshi 11-21-08 Uechi-Ryu Ryukokaku certification in Buenos Aires, Argentina

7°dan on 1-8-2002 Shohei-Ryu Karate-Do [Oki-Ku-Kai], 7°dan certification # 64,
by Hanshi Shigeru Takamiyagi with Walter Mattson in Quincy, Massachusetts

6°dan on 7-9-1995 Okinawa Karate-Do Association [Oki-Ku-Kai], 6°dan cert’ # 82,
by James Thompson in Kalamazoo, Michigan

5°dan on August 1st, 1989 Uechi-Ryu Soke Shubukan, Godan certification # 169,
by James Thompson in Kalamazoo, Michigan

4°dan on 5/15/1983 Uechi-Ryu Soke Shubukan, Yondan certification # 163,
by James Thompson in Kalamazoo, Michigan

3°dan on 6/1/1981 Uechi-Ryu Soke Shubukan, Sandan cert’ # 260, in Kalamazoo, MI.,
by James Thompson with Shihan Toshiyuki Itokazu on Board of Examiners

2°dan on 4/22/1979 Uechi-Ryu Soke Shubukan, Nidan certification # 599,
by James Thompson in Kalamazoo, Michigan

1°dan on 4/24/1977 Uechi-Ryu Soke Shubukan, Shodan certification # 1177,
by NAUKA through Walter Mattson in Kalamazoo, Michigan
He began his Okinawan Karate training in 1972