A Brief History of Isshinryu and our Lineage
Tatsuo Shimabuku (c. 1908 - 1975) founded Isshinryu in the early 1950s in Okinawa. He studied under a number of prominent, even legedary masters, and became a master of both Shorin-ryu and Goju-ryu. He combined elements of these styles and teachings, as well as several weapons forms, into his own system. Throughout the 50s and 60s he trained U.S. Service men stationed on Okinawa in his dojo. He was born Shinkichi and later changed his name to Tatsuo, which means "Dragon Boy." He passed away in 1975.
Don Nagle, 10th DAN (1938 - 1990) was a U.S. Marine stationed on Okinawa in the early 50's, where he studied Isshinryu under Grand Master Shimabuku. In 1955, Master Nagle won the Okinawan Karate Chamiponships while still a white belt. In 1957 Master Nagle opened a school in Jacksonville, NC. This was the first Isshinryu karate school in the United States and the first of any style on the East Coast. Later, he opened a dojo in Jersey City, NJ where he served on the police force for 26 years, after which he served as a U.S. Marshal. During his career, he was known as "The Living Legend." Master Nagle passed away in August, 1999. His Jersey City dojo is still active.
Brian Fitzgerald, 9th DAN, has been in Isshinryu Karate for 40 years. He studied under Master Nagle in the Jersey City dojo and is one of Master Nagle's premier students. He won the Second Annual Isshinryu Grand National Championship held by Steve Armstrong in New York in 1977. Master Fitzgerald, with several of his black belts, currently runs a network of six schools in New Jersey, Connectitcut and Pennsylvania, the first of which was started in 1985 in Branchburg Township, NJ. His first dojos were in Madison and Summit, NJ. He is currently Branchburg's Chief of Police.