Martial Arts is a vehicle for character development and self improvement
For over 37 years we have served the Charleston S.C. area . We are humbled and blessed to have been given this opportunity to serve our community . Join Us and learn what's possible!
Master Ohtsuka sponsored a talented young karateka by the name of Kiyohisa Hirano and was able to get him accepted for the first full time scholarship for Karate at Nippon University in Japan.
Many years later Soke Hirano moved to Hawaii to establish his branch of Wado Ryu called Hei-Wado. One of his top students is currently the present head of our system, Soke Ronald Woodard.
Soke Woodard took the arts he learned from Soke Hirano and transplanted them to Birmingham Alabama where Japan Karate Institute’s Chief Instructor, Shihan Dale Coker was introduced to them.
Shihan Coker was one of his top students and came up through the ranks and became one his top instructors.
Shihan Dale Coker eventually returned to Charleston SC, where he founded Japan Karate Institute and influenced thousands of students with his training and philosophies on Karate.
He remains active in teaching, training and promotion of the schools.
Shihan Dale A. Coker officially founded Japan Karate Institute in 1985 in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Originally the dojo’s name was Nippon Kokusai Karate Center. That was changed in 1994. He had taught privately and in his home from 1977 until 1985.
He started training at Japan International Karate Centers in 1971 in Birmingham Alabama. His first teacher was Nida Soke Ronald C. Woodard, who was directly under Soke Kiyohisa Hirano. Shihan Dale graduated from the JIKC Instructors Academy and took over the first JIKC dojo in the USA. Shihan Dale was a active competitor and excelled in kumite. He competed actively in the South East USA in many tournaments and rarely won less than 2nd place in the Kumite divisions. In 1974, he won 1st place in Kumite at the JIKC USA Nationals, “Tournament of Champions”. As a result of this victory, he was selected to represent the USA JIKC team at the “JIKC International Tournament of Champions” in Honolulu Hawaii along with the 2nd place winner, Ralph McDonald.
There he distinguished himself as the JIKC International 1st Place Kumite Champion. He competed in the 1st degree and 2nd degree black belt competition and came away as the champion when he was a 1st degree black belt.
After the competitions, there were great memorable moments when he got to personally interact with Soke Hirano and other high ranking Japanese Instructors.S.Dale still has pictures sitting around the table on the floor conversing with him and other instructors at Soke Hirano’s home. On this trip, he traveled to other JIKC dojos in New Orleans and San Francisco .
Another high point of Shihan Dale’s journey was meeting Katsumi Sensei Godan, from Yokohama Japan. He is Soke Hirano’s younger brother. He won first place in the higher divisions tournament for Sandan, Yodan and Godans. Homer Sempai,Yodan, the first student of Soke Hirano in JIKC, participated in this same tournament and won 2nd place in the above division.
While in Hawaii, he was able to visit Maui. He was wowed by these special moments and it was a highlight of his life to be able to do all of this for a guy from North Charleston South Carolina who had hardly been out of the state of South Carolina until he was almost 18 years old.
For Shihan Dale, one of his most memorable and proud moments was when his dojo, put over 600 students from his Fairfield Alabama Dojo on the competition floor at the 1974 “Tournament of Champions” dojo kata contest and they won 1st place. The only trophy he ever kept and still has is this plaque which hangs on the Headquarters dojo wall to this day in Charleston South Carolina.
In 1992 he traveled to Yokohama Japan and stayed with Soke Hirano’s brother, Katsumi Shihan. He taught and trained there for about 1 month. He traveled to Tokyo to the world famous Japan Karate Association Shotokan Headquarters. Also Katsumi Shihan took him to the KudoKan, the official World headquarters of Judo. He then spent approximately 6 weeks in Hawaii training and learning at the main dojos of JIKC. Later in 2002, he again went to Yokohama Japan to visit with Katsumi Shihan and taught and trained at his dojos again. He has fond memories of staying at Katsumi Shihan’s home and being immersed in the Japanese culture. He still loves to recall some great stories of his time there and the humor of Katsumi Shihan and family.
Shihan Dale was promoted to Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in 1973. The last time he was promoted was in 2012. He was promoted to Hachidan (8th Degree Black Belt) and received the title of Shihan from his long time teacher Sensei Ronnie Woodard. Shihan Dale has trained thousands of students and many have become Black Belts and Instructors. Shihan Dale has helped many students become tournament champions on regional and National levels. Some have been involved in international competitions too.
Shihan Dale also is a Godan in the National Institute of Pressure Points, under the authority and guidance of Master Robert Moran, of Boston, Mass. In 2009, Master Moran promoted him to Shihan. Shihan Dale is his most Senior ranked student in the National Institute of Pressure Points. Shihan Dale has studied a wide range of martial arts at various times while actively pursuing his training in Wado Ryu. Here is a brief list: Judo, Jyu-Jitsu, Shotokan, Shorin-Ryu, Iadio, and Muay Thai. He has actively been involved with the founding of more than 25 JKI locations in South Carolina and North Carolina. Many of those locations are still active and consider Shihan Dale their Instructor. He will tell you, regardless of his many accolades and titles, he would rather just be called Sensei Dale.
He wishes to thank every Instructor who taught him and the many students who graced his dojos with their presence. He feels his life has benefited immensely from the many friendships developed from teaching karate. Shihan Dale is very active practicing and teaching karate.
He primarily resides in Chiang Mai Thailand. He enjoys mountain biking in the beautiful hills of Chiang Mai.
Shihan Dales Wado-ryu ranking records:
1971 - Enrolls in Japan International Karate Center, Birmingham Alabama
1973 - Promoted to Shodan
1976 - Promoted to Nidan
1985 - Promoted to Sandan
1991 - Promoted to Yodan
1996 - Promoted to Godan
2000 - Promoted to Rokudan
2008 - Promoted to Seichidan
2012 - Promoted to Hachidan
Sensei David Mitchell started training in Japan Karate Institute in 1992 with Shihan Dale Coker and was promoted to Shodan,(1rst Degree Black Belt), in 1994. Sensei David graduated from the JKI Instructor’s Academy in 1995. He has won numerous competitive awards and excels as the technical Kumite adviser for all of JKI.
He was promoted to Yodan in 2009. In 2013 He was promoted to 3rd degree Black Belt in the National Institute of Pressure Points Arts underneath Master Robert Moran, of Boston, Massachusetts. Sensei David is the most senior, active Instructor in Japan Karate Institute, besides Shihan Coker.
Sempai Antionette Vaird began her training with Japan Karate Institute in 2003. Antionette received her Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in 2009. She completed JKI Instructor’s Academy in 2010, and received her Instructor’s Certification as a Senpai. On April 16th, 2021, she received her Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt).
She graduated from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a double minor in Psychology & Sociology in 2010. She then obtained her Masters of Legal Studies degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, MO in December 2019. Currently, she works for the Anastopoulo Law Firm as a Paralegal.
Sensei Lilly Barker began her training in 1996 with JKI. In 2002 She graduated from the Japan Karate Instructor’s Academy with her Sempai (Assistant Instructor). In 2006 she was promoted to Sensei (Instructor).
She is a Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt). In 2009 she completed her requirements to be a certified Instructor with the National Institute of Pressure Point Arts.
Sempai Brian Vaughn is the Dojo-Cho (Head Instructor) of the West Ashley Japan Karate Institute. He is a graduate of the Japan Karate Institute Academy of Instructors in 2016 and received his Instructor’s certification.
He is currently making great progress towards achieving the rank of Shodan, (1st Degree Black Belt) in Wado-Ryu.
Sempai Brian holds the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in 2017 and is also a Certified Instructor in the National Institute of Pressure Point under Master Robert Moran of Boston, Massachusetts.
Sempai Brian has an extensive background in the teaching and licensing of the Official South Carolina Concealed Weapon Permit. He has been a certified firearms instructor since 2011 . He also has been involved in his own enterprise as a businessman for 20 years.
He brings a lot of great business experience to the table in his official position for the Headquarters of Japan Karate Institute.
Shihan Dale Coker fully endorses Sempai Brian’s position as the Head Instructor of the Japan Karate Institute Headquarters dojo.
Japan Karate Institute offers a variety of classes to meet your needs. We hold classes for beginners, advanced students, and all-belts classes, as well as adult-only classes. We have evening classes, after school programs and special seminars.
Do you want a class just for yourself with no kids? No problem, you are in the right place. We have an exclusive only adult class just for you. Come train with other adults just like your self who are looking for self defense, awesome workouts, camaraderie. If it is weight loss, competition skills, anti-stress benefits, or for just the fun of learning something new, we have you covered.
When you step in the door at Japan Karate Institute, you will feel welcome as a family. We are a unique school that encourages the entire family to learn together.
When was the last time, you and the whole family decided to learn something together? Can you imagine how you would feel, when your entire family receives their Black Belt together at our quarterly Awards & Belt Ceremony?
Not only will you feel the sense of accomplishment, but knowing that every one in your family is in tip top physical condition and every one has the self defense skills that most people only dream and wish to have.
Little Ninjas is an awesome class and a great way to introduce your child to Karate in a fun filled non-threatening atmosphere. The Little Ninja teaching curriculum combines martial arts with child friendly drills to begin their education in martial arts. Your child will learn, Focus, Coordination, Discipline, and Team Building skills and much more. This is geared for ages 3 to 6
Our After School Karate Program is a constructive alternative to day care and other after school programs. Enroll your child in the structured environment of Japan Karate Institute’s After School Program. Your child will enjoy our classes, and still get the benefits of exercise, self discipline, renewed attention spans and much more. Learning at Japan Karate Institute is fun ! We offer pick up services for our After School Kids in the Charleston ares
Private classes are also available, please contact a JKI dojo for more information.
Japan Karate Institute regularly brings in high level skilled Martial Artists from around the USA and the world. Every year, you can increase your skills in Karate, Judo, Aikido, Reality Scenario Seminars, traditional Weaponry and much more.
For more information on specific programming and the schedule at Japan Karate Institute locations visit the specific dojo's website by clicking the links near the top of this page.
We love our customers, so feel free to visit during normal business hours.
1954 Ashley River Road, Suite B, Charleston, SC 29407
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