Akio Minakami SHIHAN
In 1983 Minakami Shihan received his Shihan Certificate from both Japan Karatedo Hayashi-Ha Shitoryu-Kai and from the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization - FAJKO. Minakami Shihan was the first individual ever to receive a unanimous passing grade, meaning all 11 Masters (representing the 4 major styles) on the examining board, gave him their approval. This is an amazing honor for which he will always be known.
Chuck Sternod SHIHAN
Born 1940, Sternod Shihan, is a native of Butte, Montana. After serving 4 years in the U.S. Air Force, he relocated to Seattle in 1961. For over 42 years, he has been President of Sternod Enterprises, Inc., a Franchise Broker and Area Development Company.
Sternod Shihan (7th Dan) has trained with Minakami Shihan for over 42 years and competed nationally and internationally. He currently teaches and trains at the Seattle Headquarters. Sternod Shihan is the highest ranked Black Belt at the Minakami Karate Dojo and is known for his knowledge in Kata and Kubodo.
HERMAN SETIJONO SHIHAN
Setijono Shihan is the current Chairman of the MKD Advisory Council and also serves as the Washington State Karate Federation Vice President. He began training in Goju-Kai karate in 1968 in Hong Kong. In 1970 at the age of 12, he received his shodan from Soke Gogen Yamaguchi. In 1974, Setijono Sensei came to Seattle to attend college, and in 1975 while attending Highline Community College, he joined the Japan Karate Federation karate club, a Shito-Ryu style headed by Junki Yoshida Sensei and Ferdi Orbino Sensei. While attending the University of Washington in 1978, Setijono Sensei and Orbino Sensei started the UW Asian Student Association Karate Club. This club became the biggest martial arts club on the UW campus. In the early 1980’s Japan Karate Federation joined Ryobukai under Kiyoshi Yamasaki Sensei. Setijono Sensei was able to train under Yamasaki Sensei at his Anaheim dojo.
In 1985, Setijono Shihan and Jimmie Sornito Sensei (a Hayashiha Shito-Ryu stylist) started Northwest Shito-Ryu, a non-profit karate school and the school is currently still operating in the city of Bellevue. In early 2010, Setijono Shihan joined Hayashi-Ha Shitoryu-Kai under Minakami Shihan. Setijono Shihan currently trains at the Hombu Dojo twice a week in addition to teaching at the Newcastle dojo three times a week.
Throughout his karate career, Setijono Shihan was very active in karate tournaments, where he competed and won many local, regional and national tournaments in kumite and kata.
Setijono Shihan is a graduate of University of Washington in Architecture and Construction Management. He currently resides in Bellevue and is the managing partner of a Seattle based construction company. He is also currently a board member of a few non-profit organizations in the Seattle area assisting in fund raising for the non-profit organizations.
Jimmie sornito KYOSHI
Jimmie Sornito Sensei began his training in 1973 at Washington Karate Association (WKA) at age 14. He trained under Akio Minakami Shihan, then head instructor for WKA, as well as Shintaro Takahashi Shihan, the assistant head instructor for WKA. To this day he still continues to train under Minakami Shihan. Over the many years of training he has explored different aspects of karate, and other martial arts. From the sports competition side as well as studying karate as a philosophical and cultural art form. He has had a long and successful run at competition karate. In 1984 and 1985 he was the only athlete on the USA National Team to represent in both kata as well as kumite in the WUKO World Championships in Amsterdam.
In 1985 together with Herman Setijono Sensei they founded Northwest Shito-Ryu. Under their tutelage they have produced a number of students who continued the proud and winning traditions of both instructors. Many of their students have had repeated success at the local as well as the national level competitions.
Sornito Sensei believes that in karate there is a lineage and culture that must be preserved. This should be passed on to his students the way it was passed to him by his senseis, and their senseis before them. “This has been our dojo’s goal from the very beginning, and will continue to be. Tradition is a very important part of who we are”.
Jerry Gunville SENSEI
Gunville Sensei is a Seattle native having begun his martial arts training in 1974 under Minakami Shihan. In 1977 Gunville Sensei moved to California and while living in Santa Ana had the opportunity to train at the dojo of Fumio Demura Shihan. After completing his Master's degree in Social Work he returned to Seattle and in 1984 resumed his martial arts training with Minakami Shihan.
In 1998 Gunville Sensei began the study and practice of Iai (drawing the sword from its scabbard, cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then returning the sword into the scabbard). In 2002 he traveled to Japan to test with the All Japan Kendo Federation and was awarded Shodan in Seitei Iai. Two years later he received his 5th Dan in Hayashi-ha Shito-ryu Kai.
Gunville Sensei is very appreciative of all that Minakami Shihan has shared over the years of his tremendous skill and insight about the martial arts. He cherishes the many opportunities to have been able train with so many dedicated students and can assert that the samurai spirit is very much alive at Minakami Karate. Gunville Sensei believes there is no end sight to training both inside or outside the dojo; that the true goal is always in the process and that this is where one will find their toughest opponent, themselves.
Jerry Walsh SENSEI
Walsh Sensei began training under Minakami Shihan in October of 1985, just a few months after the opening of the original MKD dojo in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood. Though his initial exposure to martial arts was in 1973, studying Goju-kai karate with Bill Reuter Sensei, Walsh Sensei feels his training really began the day he walked into the UKO dojo (as it was known back then) and watched Minakami Shihan teach a class. He doesn’t undervalue his previous experience; after all, it enabled him to recognize a world-class martial arts teacher when he saw one. Walsh Sensei signed up that day and has been a student of Minakami Shihan ever since.
Since being promoted to Sandan in 1995, Walsh Sensei has been leading classes on a weekly basis. Today, he shares responsibility for judging at dojo promotions and serves on the MKD Advisory Council.
Walsh Sensei feels extremely fortunate to be involved in martial arts training, especially as a student of Minakami Shihan. He is inspired by Shihan’s constant development of mind, body, and spirit and plans to keep to “The Way” as long as he draws breath. His goal is not to grow old gracefully, but rather with attitude, a martial artist’s attitude.
When not at the dojo, Walsh Sensei can most often be found at work, plying his trade as a builder of aluminum boats. Other interests include skiing, hiking and Nordic folk dancing.
Pat McDonald SENSEI
Pat Sensei beagan his karate training exclusivley with Minakami Shihan in 1995 with the original intention of being a supportive father to his 5 year old karate-ka son. Pat Sensei soon dedicated himself to practicing with Shihan Minakami, and has been doing so since the spring of 1995. Through hard training Pat Sensei achieved Sandan and now teaches an all-level karate class and a Yamani Ryu bo kobujitsu (weapons) class.
Pat Sensei recognizes that true martial art sprit must come from within but only through diligent study with a master such as Shihan Minakami can it flourish and grow. Pat Sensei will forever be in debt to Minakami Shihan for his patience and support in his continuing study of the art of karate. It is with extreme pride that Pat Sensei claims Minakami Karate as his dojo.
John Gough SENSEI
John Gough holds the rank of Yondan and currently serves as the Washington State Karate Federation (WSKF) Treasurer. He has been practicing martial arts since 2000; a member of Minakami Karate Dojo since 2002. When John moved to Seattle at the end of 2001 from the Midwest, it was important for him to find a new karate dojo to continue his martial arts training. After visiting a number of karate schools in Seattle, he found himself dissatisfied with all of them because of the lack of atmosphere and spirit as he knew that these were very important for karate training. John eventually found what he was looking for at Minakami Karate Dojo. The energy and enthusiasm of the students currently practicing during his visit was exactly what he wanted in a karate school and he knew immediately that Minakami Karate was the place where he wanted to continue his training. When he finally met Minakami Shihan, he knew that he had made the right choice. For John, Karate has also become a “family activity” with both of his sons and his wife currently practicing. He attends classes a couple of times per week, he is an instructor for the Wednesday, Kobudo (Weapons) and Saturday classes and he assists Shihan Minakami with Competition Team on Mondays and Fridays.
MICHAEL McKENZIE SENSEI
Sensei McKenzie has been training in Karate-Do for 36 years, beginning in Hayashi-Ha Shito-Ryu at the early age of 8, with the Washington Karate Association (WKA). The eldest son of a dojo-owning family, he has trained in four different styles of Shito-Ryu, most recently earning his Yondan (4th degree) from Minakami Shihan in 2017 with the Minakami Karate Dojo.
Sensei McKenzie is very active as a Referee and Judge, traveling extensively throughout the year to local, regional, national, and international competitions to officiate. He holds double-A (Kata & Kumite) licenses on both the National and Pan-American levels and, as of 2017, also now has earned licensure on the World level. He uses his experiences to bring back information to MKD and to Washington State, where he grew up.
Sensei McKenzie thoroughly enjoys teaching, especially with aspiring and current junior competitors as well as new referees, opening up information to as many students as he can. "Karate-do seemed so shrouded in secrecy when I was a newer student. I didn't really get to experience even the tip of the iceberg until I branched out and saw the world."
Sensei McKenzie was recently appointed to the Board of the Washington State Karate-Do Federation (WSKF), and plans to use his experience as an official to further develop the WSKF's referee corps.