Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1958
8th Degree Red Belt, title of Hanshi - Master Instructor
Presented by the honorable Mikio Tanaka, highest-ranking teacher and
successor of Kanken Toyama, the original founder of Shudokan and the
All-Japan Karate-do Federation (AJKF)
Over 25 years training under Mr. Tanaka and with the Toyama-kai karate family,
16 years living and training in Tokyo, Japan
BS Degree - Education
A natural athlete, Bob excelled and won basketball and high-jumping awards at the state high school level in Pennsylvania, after which he attended Mt. St. Mary's in Maryland on a track scholarship, having high-jumped 6" 9". After graduation he served two years in the Peace Corps in Morocco, North Africa, where his athletic accomplishments continued starring on a basketball team that were national champions. The traveling juices still flowed so he packed for another unkown; living and working in Japan, a country he knew nothing about. He then began what was to have been a two-year stint in Japan, but this stretched into over 16 years living and working, and more importantly, training karate there under one of the most special teachers - Mr. Mikio Tanaka, and his Toyama-kai family. Already playing basketball for a Japanese company team - Komatsu, a friend introduced him to a karate dojo he attended. Always interested in karate as a kid but living in a row home with five kids, there wasn't much extra money and karate classes anywhere were expensive. This is something that would impact his teaching later, as sharing karate and not focusing on financial gain which is most common, are at the forefront. It was during his first week in Japan in 1983; just 23 years old, that the learning began. Yoko Takahashi and his Yoshin-kan Dojo in Oyama, Tochigi, were a special combination and wonderful first experience, and Bob's total emmersion through intensive training set a great foundation, earning his first degree black belt - Shodan - at the Yoshin-kan Karate Dojo.
Mr. Takahashi was a student and disciple of Kanken Toyama. Oyama in Tochigi Prefecture was a great start but life in Tokyo was calling, so after about 2 1/2 years and his Black Belt in hand, Bob undertook yet another large challenge and started life in Tokyo. After training various different styles of karate and Aikido, Bob was introduced to Mr. Mikio Tanaka, the eventual successor to Kanken Toyama, and after his first training with him and his group of advanced black belt students who were impressive to say the least, he knew then that this would be home. Over 25 years have passed since that first of so many trainings together, and Bob visits and trains every summer in Japan. The two year plan to stay in Japan stretched into 16 magical years before he returned to America with his wife and young daughter in 1999. His karate title at the time was Shihan - 5th Degree. He continued his karate training by teaching Toyama-kai Karate both in San Luis Obispo, California, and for over 8 years where he presently lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his Japanese wife and now two daughters, both of whom train karate. In the summer of 2010, while visiting and training with Mr. Tanaka in Tokyo, he was awarded the prestigious title of Hanshi - 8th Degree Red Belt, one of only a few foreigners to have been awarded this title from a Japanese Master. He presently lives, works and teaches Toyama-kai Karate in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
- Wyomissing High School1972 - 1976
- Mt.St.Mary's CollegeEducation, 1976 - 1980