Academy of Okinawan Karate

Taught by Shuri-ryu Chief Instructor Joey Johnston

Here are things other people have said about our program at the Academy of Okinawan Karate. Ready to experience these benefits for yourself or for your child? Contact us at (309) 692-2499 and we'll be happy to help.

If you would like to leave a testimonial you can contact us by Email at or you can use our Feedback form.

Dear Mr. Walker:

          I would like to thank you for the wonderful job you are doing teaching Nathan.  He enjoys his time there and is motivated to do better in school. Thank You once again.

      Kailey Lemons 

Dear Shihan and Staff,

     Please allow me this opportunity to thank you for all the instruction and encouragement that you have provided to my family and myself.  The self esteem that my children have shown since their lessons began has increased greatly.  I have even received complements from my son, Kyle's teacher on his change in behavior and his desire to do well since he began his Karate lessons.  Karate has increased my sons' coordination and therefore has made their performance in other sporting activities improve.  The time spent on talking to the children and the encouragement that you and your staff stresses defending the good person you are has shown my children that respect and kindness are a quality worth obtaining.  My husband and I believe that the enrollment in the Academy has been a great investment for our children's future.

     My husband and I enjoy working out together.  With time limited, we enjoy that we can spend time with our children and each other in an activity that we all can participate and enjoy.  The Academy of Okinawan Karate has definitely become a part of our family. 

     Thank you again for all that you do.  We truly enjoy and benefit from you efforts.

     Susan Hoover

I have been taking classes at the Academy of Okinawan Karate for about four months.  I attend classes three times each week, and am disappointed when, on occasision, my schedule causes me to miss even one class.  I've probably been most impressed with the Karate attitude Shihan tries to instill in all his students.  His lectures are right on target  in terms of providing students -- both adults and kids-- with the basic ethics and values that are necessary to lead better lives.  The quality of instruction (both Shihan and the student instructors) is also outstanding; the instructors are knowledgeable, and they do an excellent job of conveying their knowledge and skill to the students.  Shihan, as well and Kevin and Scott, and the other high ranking instructors, are always available to answer questions about Karate or the Academy.

I also like the fact that Karate is not only a good way to build self-defense skills, but a good workout as well!  And while I've joined health clubs in the past, without fail my interest has dropped out after a few visits and I've ended up paying for a membership that I didn't use.  I still look forward to coming to Karate class each week, however, and if anything, my interest in Karate has grown -- not diminished-- over time.

Ellen Daily

Dear Shihan

     Thank you for sticking with Nick until he broke his board.  He as been so excited about break daysince he first found out about it that I don't know what I would have done if had been the only kid who didn't break his board.
The expression on his face was worth a million bucks.  I made sure I reemphasized to him that concentration is the key.

Mary Bruketta

Mr. Walker,

I would like to thank you and your wonderful staff at the Academy of Okinawan Karate for being responsible for all the personal improvements I see in my son James. You have challenged him and with that challenge we see our son James with a more positive attitude and higher self-esteem. James for the first time in his life has created a goal for himself. Thank you for your commitment, determination, and skills that you chare with others. Thanks again!

Elizabeth King

Mr. Walker & Kevin - we are very impressed with AOK - there are 10 reasons:

 1. Wyatt's grades are starting to improve.
 2. He has learned to control his aggression.
 3. He is becoming more sure of himself & abilities.
 4. His self esteem is much better.
 5. He is more respectful toward people at school and at home.
 6. He is excited about karate - he has really gotten into it and wants to learn more.
 7. He is always telling his friends how great karate is and trying to get friends to come to class
 8. He is proud of his achievemnets.
 9. His "self discipline" attitude is improving.
10. His goals have changed he wants to push himself to be the best, not tojust get by.

Dan & Janice Perham

Dear Shihan (Mr. Walker),

I wanted to write and tell you how much my family has benefited and grown from being a part of the Academy of Okinowan Karate.  When my oldest daughter voiced some interest in learning Karate I have to admit I was skeptical about the advantages of her learning martial arts asa well as all the values you spoke about teaching your students such as focus, discipline and respect to name a few.  That skepticism was quickly replaced with a realization that you were not just teaching the students this sport but that you were giving mini-lectures on history, motivation, practical self defense, Asian culture, how to perform better in school, respecting your parents and teachers, etc.

Amazingly my daughter started to change in some interesting ways.  She had always been intelligent but had a hard time focusing on her schoolwork so that her grades weren't what they should be.  She also had a hard time with some respect issues and frankly I was worried that she was out of shape and overweight for her age.  After a few months I with you I noticed she was more focused on school and her grades started to go up, she was more respectful at home and she was in much, much better physical condition.  Her attitude about life was better as well.  She was also very fired up about Karate, missing a class was not a happy event.  Pretty soon my wife joined and she also had many positive effects from being in your domo.  She became much more focused on her life goals and her physical conditioning is incredible.  Now that I have joined I have learned how rewarding a sport Karate is and almost all my kids (four out of five, the fifth is in gymnastics) are in your Academy.

What I learned from watching you interact with your Karate students was not only were you a great master of the sport and art of several martial arts disciplines but that you are a very gifted and patient teacher.  It is evident in you students, with the higher belts teaching the lower belts, that you have passed those values to them as well.  Everyone at the Academy is kind , supportive, and helpful.  I know that one of my concerns was the "corporate culture" of the dojo, were the higher ranks going to have an arrogant or condescending attitude toward the lower belts or be impatient with someone lik me (with two left feet and apparently no coordination)?  That has never been an issue.  Even the black belts are nothing but helpful and patient in teaching the novices on the basics.  One of my daughters is mentally disabled and I was discreetly watching the black belt work with her for an hour.  I can tell you he showed her an amazing amount of patience during that lesson.  Thank you again for letting our family be a part of the Academy.

Thomas H. Devlin, DDS 

To everyone at the Academy of Okinawan Karate-

     Nicholas and I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how happy we are with AOK and everyone who helps make the school run.

     After looking at 5 other schools, we finally decided on AOK for the following reasons:

          1.  First and foremost, Nicholas felt very comfortable with everyone and the 
          2.  Shihan took alot of time answering all of my motherly questions.
          3.  The introductory lesson made Nick even more excited to start his 
          4.  Tuition was a happy medium.  Other schools were lower & higher.  
               I believe you can't put a price tag on education.

     Overall, after 3 months, Nicholas is very happy.  I can't belive how much he has learned already!

     We would like to take this opportunity to thank Shihan Walker and his staff!  Keep up the GOOD work!

Deana Beata & Nick

Good things about the AOK:

       Self discipline list & rewards
       Make it fun for kids to learn their movements
       Interactions between kids
       Reviewing learned skills
       Teaching kids to be more active
       Giving kids self confidence to try new things
       I really like the picnic because the kids had a chance to 
       play together and get to know each other.

       -Naomi Wells

Dear Shihan Joseph Walker:

My daughters, Rachel and Kiersten, and I have been attending karate classes at the Academy of Okinawan Karate for a period of time ranging from four to six months.  We appreciate the quality of instruction you and your instructors provide.  The blend of formality, descipline and encouragement that shapes your instruction helps to build positive self-esteem by giving your students a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I have watched you patiently, yet firmly work with students of all ages and ability.  Mr. Haywood has been our primary instructor and we have enjoyed being in his class.  Your instructors have learned well from you.  Their instruction goes beyond the general lessons of karate and your high standards are reflected in their teaching.  When we started, my daughters had positive self-esteem but now they have more.  They already accepted personal challenges but they know they can push themselves further to achieve even more now.  I was a Marine and my experience taught me you can do more than you think you can.  Karate lessons are teaching my daughters the same lesson.

Thank you.

Diann Jabusch

Things we Love about the AOK

for Shelby:

-Respect for People
-Discipline - goes out of her way to do things.
-Not at competition with her peers.
-Kids her age - Boys & Girls

For Diane

-Stress Breaker
-The schedule is Great.
-As busy as my Summer's been I wish I had more time.
-Nobody is Negative
-Group participation
-Ability to try weapons, Judo, etc.

I think everything is suitable for what we were looking for.

Diane Davis

Dear Academy,

I would like to introduce myself as a parent.  I have a Bachelor of Science Degree from Bradley University in Elementary Education and I currently work at Proctor Hospital Employee Child Care Center as a teacher and a secretary. I have also held long term substitue teaching positions experiences for a junior high in Normal, Illinois before Ken transferred back to the Peoria area.  We are a unique family and I strive to make life positive, educationally sound and full of love.  I was very honored to be asked to give feedback to The Academy of Okinawan Karate and from my experiences as a mother, a teacher, and a customer I hav observed the following:

1.  Ben loves the program.  Getting ready for Karate is always a positive esperience and never a struggle.

2.  Ben has more self-cofidence since he has joind the Academy of Okinawan Karate. since Kindergarten, he has encountered a bully on the bus.  Last year, in 1st Grade, we went througha challenge to get him to ride the bus alone without his cousin because he was afraid of  this kid.  Now, he skills and strategies to help him deal with his bus mate.

3.  He has stopped watching so much TV.  When we moved back to Peoria from Bloomington, we eliminated cable, which gave Ben more time for more important aspects of life.  Now, with Karate three to four times a week, the television has been very quiet and Ben is a different kid.

4.  Karate is helping him mature and is better at controlling himself.  In 1st Grade, the teacher wanted him tested for   ADHD.  As a teacher myself, I was very much against this idea.  Ben is not lacking focus, he lacked vision and control.  Not only has getting older helped him, but also Karate has helped him control himself anc see what can happen next whether it is a stripe on a belt or a Kata move.

5.  Ben's reading scores have excelled.  At the end of 1st grade, he was just reading at grade level, and this year he is beyond his reading level.  Not only has his reading improved but also his spelling.  His teacher in 2nd grade is a wonderful teacher and the perfect teacher for Ben; however, in Karate you have sequencing and memorizing which I believe has helped his schoolwork.

6. Since I am a parent and by nature I know nothing of life, it  is nice for Ben to hear from someone else some of what I want him to know in life.

7.  The Instructors work very well with the kids and the adults.  Not only are they patient and positive, but they have good classroom management skills. 

8.  Karate is good exercise and is fun.

9.  Allowing students to borrow gear until they have their own and having discount days for purchasing such equipment.