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Shorin-ryu Karatedo and Kobudo Association of America

Beikoku Shorin Ryu Karatedo Kobudo Kyokai
[ Beikoku    Shorinryu     Karatedo       Kobudo      Kyokai ]

Shorin-ryu Karatedo and Kobudo Association of America. For short, we call ourselves "Beisho Karatedo." "Beisho" (pronounced "Bay-show") is a contraction of the first Japanese character in "Beikoku" (American) and the first character in "Shorin-ryu," so "Beisho Karatedo" means "American Shorin-ryu Karatedo."

Beisho Karatedo (also known as SKKAA) was established in January 2005 by a group of senior instructors and school operators who have practiced the ancient Okinawan arts of Shorin-ryu karatedo and kobudo (traditional weaponry) for many years. The purpose of establishing the SKKAA was to rededicate ourselves to following the traditional path to self-improvement through the martial arts. This path involves life-long learning, constant practice and striving for excellence, respect for others, a commitment to passing on our traditions, dedication to our communities and country, and the highest standards of business and personal integrity.



Shorin Ryu Beisho Karatedo

The SKKAA's Patch and Logo

The SKKAA's patch and logo consist of a black three-pronged swirl on a field of red. It is surrounded by the words "Beisho Karatedo" and the characters "Beikoku Shorin-ryu Karatedo Kobudo Kyokai," or the Shorin-ryu Karatedo and Kobudo Association of America. The three- pronged swirl pattern was the official crest of the Okinawan royal family from approximately 1429 to 1879. It symbolizes the long traditions and ancient history of the martial arts we study. The black swirl also represents the land of Okinawa. It is surrounded by the sea. The red color represents sunrise over the ocean.

The SKKAA's Organizational Structure

The SKKAA is composed of members who are recommended by an SKKAA instructor, submit an application, and remit their annual dues in a timely manner. Only students training in or affiliated with an SKKAA chartered school are eligible for membership. The SKKAA's Board of Directors may, at its discretion, award Honorary Membership to select individuals whose contribution to our mission warrants such an honor.


Board of Directors

SKKAA policy is determined by a Board of Directors which shall hold at least one business meeting annually.

Members of the Board as of August 2011 are:
Chairman: Christopher M. Clarke
Vice chairs: James A. True, Jr. and Jayne Butram
Members:Michael Pepe, Steven Tulimieri, Ed Kearney Sue Theise, Kristen Pepe and Terrence Tuy
Board of Advisors: Richard McCulty, Jo McCulty, Tom Wirtanen, Stephen Iannetti, Meredith Clarke.


Implementation of SKKAA policy is delegated to a President, one or more Vice Presidents, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. The President and Vice Presidents constitute an Executive Committee which is empowered to make such policy decisions as may be necessary when a meeting of the Board of Directors is impracticable. The Secretary and/or Treasurer serves as an Advisor to the Executive Committee.

The Officers of the SKKAA as of August 2010 are:
President: Christopher M. Clarke
Vice Presidents: James A. True, Jr., Jayne Butram and Michael Pepe
Secretary/Treasurer: Kristen Pepe
Assistant Secretary/Treasurer:     Steven Tulimieri
IT Supervisor: Stephen Iannetti
Assistant IT Supervisors: Michael Pepe, Terrence Tuy
Corresponding Secretary: Michael Pepe

Instructional Organization

Martial arts training, supervision, and quality control are the responsibility of the SKKAA's Chief Instructor and such assistants as he may delegate in consultation with the Executive Committee . Their role is to assist school operators in maintaining the highest standards of training, participate in the evaluation of any member who has been recommended by an SKKAA instructor for any rank above nidan (second degree black belt), assist in the administration of and teaching at SKKAA camps and clinics, and represent the SKKAA at public functions.

The instructional staff of the SKKAA's national organization consists of
Chief Instructor: Christopher M. Clarke
Assistant Chief Instructors: James A. True, Jr., Jayne Butram and Michael Pepe
Shihan-dai: Steven Tulimieri
Dai Sempai: Ed Kearney
Dai ni Sempai: Terrence Tuy and Kristen Pepe


Christopher M. Clarke 
President and Chief Instructor  SKKAA

  - Ku-dan, Ninth degree black belt, Karate
 - Rokudan, Sixth degree black belt, Okinawan Weaponry
 - Shodan, First degree black belt, Nihon Kendo (Japanese fencing)
    and Kogen Ittoryu Iaido (Drawing/cutting with Japanese sword)

Christopher M. Clarke, Ph.D. was born in New York in 1949 and grew up in New Jersey. He began training in karate in 1965, studying the Goshin-do Karate-Do system under Gerald Thomson and Hakkoryu Jujitsu under Robert Gannon. He received his first degree black belt in 1968, and his second degree a year later. During this time, he trained on several occasions with Master Frank Van Lenten, 8th degree and founder of the Goshin-do system.

In 1969, Dr. Clarke began also studying Kobayashi Shorin-ryu under Robert Herten, a student of Master Nakazato Shugoro, who had recently returned from a tour with the US Air Force on Okinawa. He received his first degree black belt in Shorin-ryu in 1970 and was awarded an instructor's certificate by the Beikoku Karate Renmei in 1971. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1971 with a degree in international studies.

In September 1971, Dr. Clarke entered active duty in the US Air Force. He was stationed in Ohio and on Guam. In 1972, he visited Okinawa, where he trained with Master Nakazato and visited a number of other top karate schools. Upon his return, he joined the American Shorin-ryu Karate Association and the Okinawan Karate Federation. He was promoted to third degree black belt in karate in 1974 and third degree in weaponry by Master Glenn Premru later the same year. In 1975, Dr. Clarke was awarded a fourth degree in karate. He was discharged from the Air Force in 1975 and began attending graduate school at the Ohio State University, where he received an M.A. in 1979, and a Ph.D. in 1980, both in political science.

From 1973 to 1977, Dr. Clarke trained under Dr. Kotaka Sadao, fifth degree black belt in Nihon Kendo (Japanese fencing) and Kogen Ittoryu Iaido (the art of drawing and cutting with the Japanese sword). He was awarded black belt ranking in both arts by the American Kendo Federation in 1976.

On January 1, 1980, Dr. Clarke was awarded promotion to fifth degree black belt in karate and fourth degree in weaponry. He received his sixth degree in 1983, seventh degree in 1990, eighth degree in February 2000 and ninth degree in July 2009. Dr. Clarke was also promoted to fifth degree in weaponry in 1985 and sixth degree in 1990. From 1980-2004, he was vice president, member of the executive board, and chief instructor of the American Shorin-ryu Karate Association. In early 2005, Dr. Clarke helped found the Shorin-ryu Karatedo and Kobudo Association of America (SKKAA) and serves as its Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Instructor.

Since 1980, Dr. Clarke has worked in Washington, DC, and lived in the Maryland suburbs. From 1980-1984, he worked at the US-China Business Council. Since 1984, he has been a senior China analyst in the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He has visited China eight times, where he pursued research into T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan) and other Chinese martial arts. He and his wife, Meredith, have two children: Jennifer Mohler, a sandan, and Colin.

In addition to a number of books and articles on China, Dr. Clarke has written or edited nearly two dozen books on the martial arts and edits the SKKAA's "Beisho Bulletin." Among his publications are Samurai, Scoundrels, and Saints: Stories from the Martial Arts (1997), Warriors and Wisemen: More Stories from the Martial Arts (1998), Monks, Madmen, and Martial Masters (2004), Honorary Samurai (2003), I Remember When (2004), I Remember II (2004), Nyumonsha: A Handbook for ASKA Students from Beginner to Purple Belt (2000), Seito: A Handbook for ASKA Students from Gokyu to Ikkyu (2001), Sensei: A Handbook for ASKA Instructors and Their Students (2001), Yudansha: A Handbook for ASKA Black Belts (2002) Kobudo: A Handbook for ASKA Weaponry Students (2002), . Little Dragons and Tigers: A Handbook for ASKA Youth Students, Their Instructors, and Parents (2001), Fledgling Sparrows: An Activity Book for Young ASKA Students (2004), and Chasing Dragonflies: An Activity Book for Young ASKA Students (2004), Dr. Clarke is a member of the Calvert County Heritage Committee and has served as a judge at various local, state and national History Day competitions. He is a member of the steering committee for the Patuxent River Institute of Teaching and a past member of the Calvert County Heritage Committee.




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