Recently recognized by the Okinawan Government as an Intangible Cultural Heritage Asset, the highest honor the Okinawan Government can bestow upon a Karate Master. Sensei Iha received his 10th Degree in 2001 from the Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Association. Sensei Iha was Katsuya Miyahira's senior and marked as so on the leader board still hanging today in Miyahira's Okinawa Dojo.
Sensei Iha moved to Lansing, Michigan from California in 1975. After teaching in many locations he opened the Original Okinawa Karate Dojo on East Michigan Ave. in Lansing and still teaches there. His students have established dojos throughout the United States, Canada, Okinawa, and the rest of Japan.
Iha began his karate studies with his uncle and then in 1950 began studying with Shinpan (Shiroma) Gusakuma. After Gusukuma died in 1954 he began studying at the Shidokan Karate Dojo with Katsuya Miyahira.
Upon receiving his 10th Degree in 2001 from Miyahira he named his Karate Association: Beikoku Shidokan. “Beikoku” means “American”, so it translates to American Shidokan. Iha's students wear the Shidokan patch on the left chest and the Beikoku Shidokan patch on the left shoulder.
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Learn more about Sensei Iha and his teachings and philosophy from the man himself, in this exclusive interview for the Masters of Okinawan Series.
In this captivating interview, you'll hear two lifelong friends share their karate journeys from their early training in Okinawa through present day.