About Us -- My Instructors
Master Joe Smith
9th Dan Isshin-Ryu Karate
1st Generation Black Belt Under Grandmaster Shimabuku
Master Joseph Lewis Smith was born in 1944 in the small town of
Wesson, Mississippi. He was the son of a Baptist Minister and one of
11 children. By the time he was in high school Joe and his family
had moved to the friendly community of Gibson City, Illinois.
Master Smith was very athletic and played basketball, baseball,
track and was the captain of the 1963 championship football team.
After graduating in 1963, Joe enlisted in the military. He was
assigned to the 3rd Marine Division stationed at Camp Schwab, Okinawa.
From 1963 to 1965 Master Smith studied Isshin-Ryu under Grandmaster
Shimabuku at the Agena Dojo. He was promoted to Sho-Dan by the
After re-enlisting, Master Smith was assigned to the HMM265th Division
in Viet Nam. While there he studied under Master Don Bohan. Master
Smith was promoted to Ni-Dan by Master Bohan before leaving Viet Nam.
In 1967 Master Smith was honorably discharged from the Marine Corp
and returned to Champaign, Illinois. He continued to practice Isshin-Ryu
Karate and in 1978 founded the first Isshin-Ryu Karate class (JoJo's Dojo)
in central Illinois.
Master Smith retired after twenty years as a Sergeant from the Champaign
Police Department. He was also the Training Manager and head of the
Control Tactics Division for the Police Training Institute (PTI) at
the University of Illinois. Master Smith also served on the original
Board of the Okinawan Karate-Do Union.
Master Smith was promoted to 9th degree Black Belt by the Okinawan
Karate-Do Union on June 16, 2001. Master Smith passed away from a rare
heart condition on June 19, 2001.
In memory of
Master Joseph L. Smith
March 21, 1944 - June 19, 2001
- He Was Truly A Sensei - 1 in 10,000 -
-- My Teacher, Friend and Mentor --
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