Yoshukai Karate Alliance Testimonials

Mr. Stone - Godan (5th degree black belt)

In 1985, when I was 12 years old, I decided that I would like to try karate lessons. At the time I lived in Normal Illinois and had several martial arts schools to choose from. My parents and I looked at many of the different schools all of which were just too expensive. Specifically, I remember calling one school and they were charging $60 a month and required a one year contract and this was over 20 years ago. It was at this time when a friend of my sister recommended that I try Yoshukai Karate, the style of karate he practiced.

I was immediately drawn to Yoshukai Karate. The techniques of Yoshukai were efficient, extremely powerful and were not flashy or extravagant like those I had seen at the other schools. The cost of the Yoshukai lessons was very reasonable at only $25 a month with no startup fees or contracts. With my parents’ approval, I immediately joined Yoshukai and started my karate training.

When I was a green belt the dojo in Normal was closed and I started training with Sensei Dugan in Lincoln. I had met Sensei Dugan a couple of times in the Normal dojo and had been impressed by him. As my training continued I formed a deep respect for Sensei Dugan as do all of his students. As an instructor Sensei Dugan is strict but fair and is always patient and willing to spend extra time helping students. He is dedicated to passing on his extensive knowledge of Yoshukai Karate to anyone who wants to learn.

Yoshukai Karate training instills many different values in its students. Most prevalent among these values are patience, discipline, and respect. I have been studying Yoshukai karate for over 20 years now and I know that these values have been ingrained in me through my karate training. I owe a lot to Sensei Dugan and to Yoshukai karate. Without the discipline and patience of karate training I would not be the person I am today.

Mr. Upton - Godan (5th degree black belt)

Yoshukai Karate-do testimonial

Martial arts have held a spot in my heart since the first time I saw someone wield a set of nunchaku or flip a bo around. I remember being fascinated as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris fought to the death in the Roman Coliseum in Way of the Dragon. As I sat, mesmerized by what I thought was purely magic, I devoured hour-upon-hour of martial arts movies, including the very bloody samurai films of the 70’s.

My journey in the martial arts began when I was twelve years old, first studying what was then known as Chinese Kenpo Karate, later changed to American Kenpo. Bill Rhinehart was my teacher and helped build the framework for my next venture in the arts-Yoshukai Karate.

Deborah Ginn began teaching me the techniques and kata of Yoshukai karate in Boaz, Alabama. Simply put, she was a fine karate-ka and well versed in her technical skills. Not only was she a fine martial artist, but she was an even better human being, which caused me to want to continue my pursuit of traditional karate-do. Unfortunately, Ginn sensei had an illness in her family and had to stop teaching when I was a second kyu. I asked her if it was okay that I call Mike Sadler, sensei to request that he take me in as a student, to which she replied, "Of course."

I called Sadler sensei and was accepted as a student, having to drive two-and-a-half hours one way to train with him at his dojo in Montgomery, Alabama. The time and effort it took to make the journey, sometimes on no sleep, proved more than worthwhile and very shortly after being received by Sadler sensei I was tested and promoted to shodan.

Moving through the ranks with Sadler sensei over the years, coupled with my vast travels and desire to meet and train with many senior instructors in similar or dissimilar arts only increased my knowledge and fundamentals in karate-do.

Recently, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to train directly under Dan Dugan, sensei-one of the founding fathers of Yoshukai Karate in the state of Illinois. Dugan sensei’s passion for the arts, coupled with his knowledge of the system has proven very beneficial to my personal martial arts growth. He, like Ginn sensei, also holds another quality very dear to me-he is a compassionate human being, grounded and humble.

I look forward to a fruitful and productive knowledge gathering and sharing with all the fine instructors of the Yoshukai Alliance.


Mr. Lowe - Yondan (4th degree black belt)

My first introduction to martial arts, like many, was through the movies. It wasn't until a friend of mine showed me some basics that he had learned in a formal class that I understood there was more to it than choreographed scenes and compelling back stories. I wanted to join my friend, but my parents were very cautious and didn't encourage my pursuit.

In 1990, with my first job, I was able to pay for my own training with Sensei Dugan. The fact that I was willing to spend my own money and time convinced my parents that I wasn’t going to give up on the idea, and they allowed me to train. My parents recognized a significant difference in my attitude, especially during those teen-age years. They were then excited for me to introduce Yoshukai to my sister, niece, and nephew much earlier in their lives.

Yoshukai Karate continues to provide a very valuable, positive influence that flows into many aspects of my daily life. I regularly see where Sensei Dugan's emphasis on attitude has benefited me in both personal and professional relationships. The patience, confidence and perseverance developed through the years of training are my greatest reward.

Mrs. Dugan - Yondan (4th degree black belt)

My name is Nykol Dugan and I have proudly reached my goal of becoming the first Yoshukai Karate Alliance female Black Belt. Testing for the title of Shodan was one of the hardest things I had ever set out to do, yet the most rewarding.

Not only did I earn the rank of Shodan but also a tremendous amount of respect and passion for the art of Yoshukai. With the traditional and strict training I have endured in the past 3 ½ years, I have gained many great qualities including: self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence, the three most important values needed to make a person successful within themselves.

Yoshukai Karate proves itself to become a way of life to those who ‘train seriously with heart and soul’. Between the tradition of Yoshukai and the dedication and respect to Yoshukai by Dugan Sensei and his students, we will remain known as the most traditional style of martial arts.

Mr. Lanning - Sandan (3rd degree black belt)

My name is Gordon Lanning and I am a 1st degree Black Belt in Yoshukai Karate Alliance. I live in Lincoln, Illinois and I am a teacher. I was in Yoshukai Karate for 2 years, starting in 1987. I rejoined Yoshukai in the fall of 2003. I felt that I had some unfinished business to take care of. I earned my Black Belt in December of 2005.

I chose Yoshukai Karate because it is a traditional Japanese hard-style of martial arts. I enjoy the workouts and the study of traditional Japanese weaponry. Sensei Dugan is a great instructor that teaches this style of martial art because of his passion and belief in Yoshukai Karate.

Mr. Schreiber - Nidan (2nd degree black belt)

When I was 10 years old I wanted to be in some kind of sport, then my parents heard of Yoshukai Karate. I never heard of it before, but I didn’t care if it was a common or uncommon karate, so I signed up for it.

At first I expected to learn a lot at once, but instead of stuffing my head with karate I slowly worked up to higher things, but it was worth it. I got better with the smaller stuff they taught me so I learned higher things.

Also, when I joined karate I never knew I would make many friends that I could trust, so ever since then Yoshukai Karate has been a big part of my life in and out of the dojo.

Mr. Bugner - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

My name is Daniel Bugner, and I joined Yoshukai Karate Alliance in 2012 and earned by 1st degree black belt in June 2015. Before karate, I was and still am an avid swimmer, but back in 2012, I was suffering from back and neck pain from focusing on only swimming, as well as loss of balance.

After signing my 2 boys up for Karate, I noticed that the Traditional Japanese training style of Yoshukai Karate was what I needed. The traditional Style of Karate focuses on improving oneself both physically and mentally. This training help improve my balance and strengthen many of the muscles that I hadn't been using, eliminating my back and neck pain that I was suffering from. The training also help me re-focus my efforts and regain much of self-discipline that I had started to lose.

In the end Yohsukai Karate has helped me become stronger both physically and mentally

Mr. Daniels - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Yoshukai Karate has been a great experience, and has helped me get over some fears, and increased my self-confidence. I am a black belt now, and am very proud that I stuck with my training all these years. I never thought I'd reach this level by the time I was only 12.

Mr. Hoinacki - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Karate has been great for me physically. I have never found a workout regimen as intense and focused. I would try running everyday, but I found it boring. I couldn't stay focused and eventually quit. I wasn't learning anything. The first dojo-belief that karate-kas memorize: Train seriously, with heart and soul. I don't know a whole lot of exercise programs out there that make you put your heart into it. Exercise is about running in pace on a treadmill, or listening to your favorite up-beat playlist on Spotify while throwing around a tire in a smelly gym full of stinky people. ThatÕs not for me. Yoshukai is a lifestyle, not an exercise program; it becomes a part of you. Once a karate-ka, always a karate-ka. Training seriously means training and being your best both inside and out outside of the dojo.

Ms. Dawn Johnson - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

My name is Dawn Johnson and I am proud to say that Yoshukai Alliance has been a great help in my life. When I was younger, I spent all my time in dance and gymnastics. At an early age, my parents divorced and then I was taken out of all the things I enjoyed the most.

My confidence had dropped and my spirit broken. I went through some difficult times with being picked on at school as well as at home by the neighbor kids. I went through life the best I could and I did have some great friends. It wasnÕt until I was an adult that I was introduced to Yoshukai Karate. The timing was great, I was ready for improvement in my life and this was it. Yoshukai Karate has helped keep me mentally strong as well as improve my health. I have asthma and osteoarthritis. Without training, I feel miserable and depressed.

Mr. Austin Johnson - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Yoshukai has helped me by improving my confidence, discipline, stamina, and strength. My discipline is probably better than what it would be if I didnÕt start, itÕs a lot better at home too. My stamina has increased a lot. My defense in class and in everyday life is probably way better than it would be without karate.

Karate has helped me with a lot!

Ms. Kenney - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

Several members in my family have been a part of Yoshukai Karate Alliance, including 3 of my cousins, my aunt, two of my uncles, and my older brother Noah. Noah joined the Alliance while he was in 4th grade and my parents had plans for me to follow in his footsteps. However, I joined the Alliance in June during my 6th grade year. Even though I could have joined earlier, my parents knew how much discipline it took to be in martial arts and they thought it was best for me to wait until I got a little bit older. To me, karate always seemed intimidating, but once I came to class, everything felt natural. I distinctly remember my first day in class, Sensei taught me Kiotski, Yoi, and Yame. And once I learned my blocks, I would be practicing them in my front yard in between lessons. I was grateful to be able to test every four months all the way through earning my 1st Kyu. I also love attending Yoshukai clinics and Natsu Keiko (summer camp). Yoshukai Karate has taught me patience, good agility, and responsibility. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go while training over the last four years, but I have pressed on and I have earned my black belt, just as several people in my family have done. My training continues as I am working on continually improving and learning.

Mr. Noah Kenney - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

I have learned patience and self-control. I do not seeing earning a black belt as a stopping point but just another step in my karate achievement. Yoshukai means the training hall of continuous improvement and development and I can always learn and develop new skills in Yoshukai Karate.

Karate has given me more self-confidence not only in the dojo but life in general. I feel privileged to train under the leadership of Dugan Sensei and the other black belts at the Yoshukai Karate Alliance. The have all been mentors to me in my karate and daily life.

Mr. Payton Lanning - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

There are many things that a black belt is but the three most important traits are achievement, perseverance and the virtues of traditional karate training, which include compassion, patience, respect, honor and gratitude.

The way you act as a black belt in Yoshukai shows how you honor your dojo, Sensei, and the history of Yoshukai karate. I have gratitude toward Sensei for giving me the proper training and offering me the chance to test for black belt.

I thank Sensei for allowing me to test to become one of his black belts.

Mrs. Tapscott - Shodan (1st degree black belt)

I have learned a lot from my training in Yoshukai Karate Alliance. Not only have I gained confidence in my ability to defend myself, but I've carried all that I've learned into my life outside karate as well. Through the mutual respect among the karate-ka i've gained respect for others and myself. What puts Yoshukai Alliance above the other styles for me is that it's more than a school of karate, but a school of moral principles, and a family to it's students.
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