Lineage: Walter Todd to Herbert Wong to Karl Scott III to Y. Jay Sandweiss to Mark Moeller
Mark Moeller Sensei started training in Shorin Ryu Karate-do and Shudokan Karate-do in January of 1979 with Y. Jay Sandweiss Shihan (far right) at the University of Michigan Shorin Ryu and Shudokan Karate-do Club. In 1980, Moeller Sensei also began training with Sandweiss Shihan’s teacher, Karl Scott III Shihan (far left), at the Asian Martial Arts Studio. In addition to the Karate-do program, the Asian Martial Arts Studio also offered classes in Aikido and Hung Gar Kung Fu. Moeller Sensei began his Aikido training in 1980 and his Hung Gar Kung Fu training in 1982. In 1983, Moeller Sensei started law school at Duke University and started the Asian Martial Arts Club at Duke University. He moved to Atlanta in 1986, and the first class at Atlanta’s Traditional Okinawan Karate-do Dojo was held on April 9, 1987. In 2012, the Dojo celebrated its 25th Anniversary.
Scott Shihan’s teacher was Herbert Wong Kyoshi (second from the left), and Wong Kyoshi’s teacher was Walter Todd Kyoshi (second from the right). Wong Kyoshi was also Scott Shihan’s Hung Gar Kung Fu teacher, and Todd Kyoshi was Scott Shihan’s Aikido teacher. During the five years that Moeller Sensei trained in Ann Arbor, Wong Kyoshi and Todd Kyoshi would both visit twice a year to teach seminars, classes, and private lessons for approximately two weeks. Over the next twenty years, Moeller Sensei made a number of trips to the West Coast to train with Wong Kyoshi in San Francisco and with Todd Kyoshi in Oakland. Moeller Sensei feels fortunate that he was able to train extensively with both of these martial arts masters.
In 1995, Moeller Sensei and a number of his students attended a five-day training camp in Miami with Grandmaster Eizo Shimabukuro, the head of the Shobayashi branch of Shorin Ryu Karate-do. In addition to working on individual techniques, Grandmaster Shimabukuro went through all 25 of the kata in the Shorin Ryu system and bunkai (martial applications of techniques from the kata) during the four-hour classes he led each night. Even though he was 70 years old at the time, Grandmaster Shimabukuro’s power, speed, and martial proficiency were amazing. He was still doing double front jump kicks and would do seven repetitions of five different kata every night. Three of our Dojo’s senior instructors were also in attendance: Mark Snepp Sensei, Chip Abernathy Sensei, and Kent Watkins Sensei.
Walter Todd Kyoshi began his martial arts training in Judo in 1946 at the Kodokan. He was a personal student of Kyuzo Mifune Hanshi, one of only 18 people to be promoted to tenth-degree black belt at the Kodokan. In 1948, Mifune Hanshi arranged for Todd Kyoshi to begin training in Wado Ryu Karate-do with its founder, Grandmaster Hironishi Otsuka. In 1950, Todd Kyoshi returned to Oakland and spent the next eight years teaching martial arts as a civilian expert for the U.S. Air Force.
In 1958, he opened the International Judo School in Oakland, which later became the International Judo, Karate and Aikido School. He also began training in Aikido and Shudokan Karate-do with Yoko Takahashi Kyoshi. Based on Takahashi Kyoshi’s recommendation, Grandmaster Kankan Toyama, the founder of the Shudokan Karate-do system, appointed Todd Kyoshi in 1959 to be Shibucho (or Director) of Shudokan Karate-do for the United States. Takahashi Kyoshi also introduced him to Grandmaster Koichi Tohei, the Chief Instructor at the Aikido Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. Grandmaster Tohei would frequently stay with Todd Kyoshi while teaching seminars at the International Judo, Karate and Aikido School and other dojos in the Bay area. Grandmaster Tohei personally delivered Todd Kyoshi’s second-degree black belt certificate in Aikido in 1965 after it had been signed by the founder of Aikido, Grandmaster Morihei Ueshiba.
Todd Kyoshi continued his Judo, Karate-do and Aikido training until his untimely death in 1999. During his lifetime, Todd Kyoshi earned the rank of eighth-degree black belt in Shudokan Karate-do, eighth-degree black belt in Judo, and sixth-degree black belt in Aikido. His student, George Harris, was the United States Heavy-Weight Judo Champion from 1957-1961 and won a Gold Medal in Judo in the Pan American Games. Todd Kyoshi was one of the pioneers of Judo, Karate and Aikido in the United States, and his students around the world continue to pass on his teachings.
Herbert Wong Kyoshi began his Chinese martial arts training as a young boy in San Francisco. In 1959, he began training in Shudokan Karate-do with Todd Kyoshi at the International Judo, Karate and Aikido School in Oakland, California. He had earned the rank of second-degree black belt by the time he was drafted into the Army in 1963. He was stationed in Okinawa and began his training in Shorin Ryu Karate-do with Grandmaster Eizo Shimabukuro. He returned to San Francisco in 1965 and opened the Asian Martial Arts School with Andrew Chan Sensei. He also began studying Hung Gar Kung Fu with Sifu Y.C. Wong that year. After five years, he moved to Ann Arbor to begin his doctoral studies in Psychology. He started the University of Michigan Shorin Ryu Karate and Hung Gar Kung Fu Club in 1970. Grandmaster Shimabukuro promoted him to seventh-degree black belt in 1975, and he currently holds the rank of eighth-degree black belt. He continues to teach seminars around the country in Shorin Ryu Karate-do and Hung Gar Kung Fu.
Karl Scott III Shihan began his training in Judo in 1965 and also studied two systems of Korean Karate during the next five years. In 1970, he was one of three students that Wong Kyoshi accepted for individual instruction in Shorin Ryu Karate-do. For the next four years, Scott Shihan traveled to Ann Arbor (a 110-mile round trip commute) three times a week to train with Wong Kyoshi. In 1974, these three students were promoted to first-degree black belt. Gary Hu Sensei and Scott Shihan opened a full-time martial arts school known as K.E.I. on April 9, 1974. After the school was opened, Wong Kyoshi arranged for Todd Kyoshi to begin making regular trips to the Ann Arbor to teach the instructors Shudokan Karate-do and Aikido. In 1978, Scott Shihan took over the school and the name was changed to the Asian Martial Arts Studio. Scott Shihan was responsible for starting the full-time programs in Aikido and Hung Gar Kung Fu at the Asian Martial Arts Studio. He currently holds the rank of ninth-degree black belt in Shudokan Ryu Karate-do, sixth-degree black belt in Aikido, and sixth-degree black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate-do. He has also been teaching Hung Gar Kung Fu for more than 30 years. On April 9, 2013, the Asian Martial Arts Studio celebrated its 39th Anniversary.
Y. Jay Sandweiss Shihan began his Karate-do training at the Asian Martial Arts Studio in 1974. In 1977, Sandweiss Shihan went to Okinawa where he lived and trained with Grandmaster Eizo Shimabukuro for nine months. He was awarded both his first and second degree black belts by Grandmaster Shimabukuro during his time in Okinawa. When he returned to Ann Arbor in 1978, Scott Shihan asked him to become the head instructor of the University of Michigan Shorin Ryu and Shudokan Karate-do Club. He also continued to teach Karate-do at the Asian Martial Arts Studio and continued his training in Hung Gar Kung Fu and Aikido. In 1984, Sandweiss Shihan began Osteopathic School at Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan. After graduating, he set up his medical practice in Ann Arbor and resumed his training at the Asian Martial Arts Studio. He currently holds the rank of sixth-degree black belt in both Shorin Ryu and Shudokan Karate-do, and he is a fourth-degree black belt in Aikido. He has also practiced and taught Hung Gar Kung Fu for more than 30 years.
T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Hung Gar Kung Fu at our Dojo
The core of the martial arts curriculum at Atlanta’s Traditional Okinawan Karate-do Dojo is based on Shorin Ryu and Shudokan Karate-do. Moeller Sensei teaches each of these systems in accordance with their traditional principles and emphases. He supplements this material with the martial arts that he has learned from his training in T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Hung Gar Kung Fu, and Aikido.
Since 1993, Moeller Sensei has been studying Yang-style T’ai Chi Ch’uan with Sifu Herb Goldberg, the founder of T’ai Chi Ch’uan Atlanta. Moeller Sensei incorporates a number of the principles and drills from T’ai Chi into his teaching. These include drills that develop the student’s internal power and ability to maintain a strong but flexible “root” into the ground. The softer, more internal training from T’ai Chi Ch’uan is an excellent complement to the harder, more external training from Karate-do.
In 2006, Sifu James Olzmann, a Hung Gar Kung Fu instructor from the Asian Martial Arts Studio who was working on his doctoral degree at Emory University, began teaching Hung Gar Kung Fu as part of the Dojo’s Advanced Classes. Moeller Sensei used this opportunity to revisit his prior Hung Gar training. After Sifu Olzmann left Atlanta in 2008 to begin his post-doctoral studies at Stanford, Moeller Sensei continued to teach Hung Gar to his advanced students. Sifu Olzmann, who founded the Stanford University Hung Gar Kung Fu Club, returns to Atlanta periodically to teach special seminars. Moeller Sensei has also continued his Hung Gar training with Sifu Karl Scott at the Asian Martial Arts Studio.