Our lineage, like many karate practitioners around the world, can ultimately be traced back to Anko Itosu. In the figure below we present an abbreviated lineage to demonstrate selected lines that lead to Itosu through both Funakoshi and Toyama. We excluded some information from the figure because it would be too difficult to present in one image. For instance, Barry Brown also studied directly under Ki Whang Kim, and Hwang Kee was heavily influenced by Funakoshi’s karate, although he was not Funakoshi’s direct student. Our dojang exists today in large part because of Hwang Kee’s tremendous efforts to promote Moo Duk Kwan. John Velez, Barry Brown, Dave Sgro, Todd Tupper, and Jamal Pender were influenced by numerous martial artists not shown on the following diagram, including Lloyd Rice, Jason Bennett, Victor Rodriguez, Chris Smith, Michael Jai White, Charles Ferraro, Robert Beaudoin, Hosoo Hwang, Taesoo Moon, Dennis Faulkner, Richard Chun, Mark Williams, and Billy Pet’rone. (As a side, we’ll update this figure soon. Barry Brown also studied directly under master Ki Whang Kim).

What we now practice is largely Itosu karate interpreted through the lens of people with different backgrounds in Korean and Okinawan karate, and in grappling. The written works of Gichin Funakoshi, Tsutomu Ohshima, Richard Chun and Hwang Kee serve as the general philosophical framework from which we operate.

Practice keiko (to think of the old). When we practice, this is what we do. We try to understand the lessons of the masters of the past have transmitted to us through katas (forms) and more recently through the basics and methods of sparring described by master Funakoshi. Tsutomu Ohshima, Shotokan Karate of America.