Sensei Joseph Johnston

Joseph Johnston sensei

Joseph Johnston began studying Shuri-ryū in 1990 under his stepfather, Joseph Walker, at the age of 5.  He was following in the footsteps of his 3 older brothers who all trained at the Academy of Okinawan Karate in Peoria, IL.  Shortly after he also began training in judō, kobudō, and iaijutsu.  He was promoted to shodan at the age of 15, at the time the youngest student promoted to shodan. 

Joseph Johnston travelled many times with his teacher, Walker shihan, and other students of the AOK to Hawaii.  While in Hawaii they often trained on the beaches and in the ocean.  They were also invited to train in Chinese quan-fa while on O’ahu and in wadō-ryū while on Hawai’i.

Johnston sensei travelled with his teacher, Walker shihan, and fellow yudansha, Mr. Trent Miller, to Okinawa in 2009 to visit another kamiza brother, Nate England, and to train.  (Thank you to Mr. England for setting up this opportunity for us.)  While on Okinawa, Johnston sensei trained:

  • Matayoshi kobudō with Yogi Josei sensei and Gakiya Yoshiaki sensei at the Budōkan
  • Jodō with Fukuhara Chōshō sensei at the Meisuikan dōjō
  • Shōrin-ryū with Takara Meiyu sensei, Nakamura Seiryu sensei, and Maeshiro Morinobu sensei at the Shidokan dōjō
  • Shōrin-ryū with Shinzato Katsuhiko sensei at the Ryūbakan dōjō
  • Goju-ryū with Kuba Yoshio sensei at the Kenbukan dōjō
  • Shōrin-ryū with Shimabukuro Zenpo sensei  at the Seibukan dōjō
  • Iaidō with Nakaima Kenji sensei and Tekeda sensei at the Budōkan

Johnston sensei has competed all across America.  A few more prestigious events are:

  • Double world champion (USKA) in grappling and koshiki (1997), 3rd place in kata (1992), 2nd place in koshiki (2002, 2004)
  •  3rd place in the USKA Nationals in kobudō (2009)
  • 2 time Midwest kata champion (2003, 2004)
  •  Shuri cup placing 1st in all three rounds – Shuri cup grand champion in 2008

He is currently a 5th dan in Shuri-ryū with the title of renshi in Okinawan kobudō.  Johnston sensei was raised to Assistant Chief Instructor of Shuri-ryū in 2012.  He is currently the youngest Chief Instructor of Shuri-ryū as unanimously voted to the position by the ISA Chief Instructors in 2016. 

He has been the head instructor of Walker shihan’s Eureka (2005-2006), Morton (2006-2015), and Peoria (2015-current), IL dōjō

Johnston sensei is a member of the Robert Bowles International Budō Society, unanimously voted in to the society in 2015.

Johnston sensei also studied education at Illinois Central College and Illinois State University.