July 9, 1932 |
Tanahara Village, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japan
|Residence||Lansing, MI, U.S.|
|Teacher(s)||Shinpan Gusukuma, Katsuya Miyahira|
|Rank||Hanshi, 10th Dan|
|Notable students||Abet Presincula (Australia), Roy Paul (Canada), Etc.|
Seikichi Iha (伊波 清吉 Iha Seikichi?) (born July 9, 1932) was born in Nishihara City, Okinawa. Iha is an Okinawan martial artist who trains in the Shorin-ryū Shidō-kan style of Karate. Iha is currently the Director of the North American Beikoku Shido-kan Karate-do Association and the highest ranking Okinawan master in the United States.
Martial arts training
Iha's first martial arts training was under his uncle. In 1950 Shinpan Gusukuma accepted him as a student. Iha trained under Gusukuma four years, until Gusukuma's death in 1954. After Gusukuma's death, Katsuya Miyahira accepted him as a student. By 1963 he had achieved the rank of 5th Dan. Shortly after, Miyahira sent him to the Philippine Islands to be an instructor where he spent roughly eleven months, after his return to Okinawa he was promoted to rank of 6th Dan and he began instructing the U.S. Marines stationed at Futenma, Okinawa. In 1967, after receiving another promotion to the rank of 7th Dan, he was sent to Los Angeles, California to instruct there. In September 1978, he was once again promoted to the rank of 8th Dan. On March 12, 1989, he was promoted to the rank of 9th Dan, making him the highest ranking Okinawan master residing in the United States. On March 25, 2001, Iha was awarded his final promotion to date by Miyahira Katsuya, awarding him the rank of 10th Dan.
After teaching at the American-Okinawan Club for five months in 1967, Iha opened the Shureikan Dojo in Los Angeles, California on Olympic Blvd with two other 7th Dans. A year later, Iha separated from this dojo and created his own Shidokan Karate Dojo, located on West Pico Blvd in Los Angeles.
In 1974, Harold Armour, a senior student of Tadashi Yamashita (of Kobayashi Shorin-ryū), invited Iha to lead a dojo at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Together with Toshiyuki Itokazu (of Uechi-ryū), Iha moved to Michigan and opened the Original Okinawa Karate dojo. In 1976, Iha relocated the dojo to its current location on East Michigan Avenue in Lansing, Michigan. That year, Iha also formed the Beikoku Shido-kan Association. Shorin-ryū Shidō-kan is now the sole style of karate taught at the Original Okinawa Karate dojo.