Gilbert’s Isshin-ryu Karate School

Isshin-ryu Karate

Isshin-ryu Karate

Darren Gilbert is a 5th Degree Black Belt and stays as active in martial arts as he can with his busy schedule. He attends several seminars a year and works out with friends and fellow martial artists. He began his Isshin-ryu training with Sensei Allen Wheeler in 1983.  His last formal instructor was the late Sensei Sherman Harrill from Carson, Iowa.

Other major influences have been John Kerker, Eddie Satterfield, AJ Advincula, Louis Grinnell, Rick Moneymaker, Joe Lewis, and Remy Presas. In his past, Darren has also studied Tae Kwon Do while stationed at Camp Casey in South Korea from December of 1981 to December of 1982 as well as Uechi-Ryu in North Adams, Massachusetts, while in high school.

Isshin-ryu Karate

Darren Gilbert likes to focus on what he calls “classical karate” with an emphasis on building a solid understanding of the basics, understanding the kata, and the application of kata techniques in personal defense.

Many seem to forget that kata was the primary mechanism used to train in and pass on the highly effective combat methods of the best karate practitioners of old. If a technique didn’t work, it never made it into a kata. The two main training mechanisms of classical karate are kata and makiwara.

Kata of the Month

Sunsu Kata is Isshin-ryu Karate founder, Tatsuo Shimabuku’s, personal kata and is primarily comprised of Master Shimabuku’s favorite techniques. It is also the kata where we can spot a few of Motobu Choki’s influences on the development of Isshin-ryu Karate.

In this video, my Sensei, Sherman Harrill, is demonstrating this kata for a couple of black belts the day after our Clinton, Tennessee seminar (late 90’s).

Many practitioners perform kata way to fast and lose sight of the purpose of kata training. If you cannot run through a kata correctly slowly, there is no point in speeding it up. You are then only speeding up … and probably covering up … mistakes.

More Information

Choose your dojo wisely!

Classical vs. Sport

Standing on Stakes

Do You Smack the Mak?


Recently, Darren developed an interest in Escrima about a year ago. Escrima is a Filipino martial art centered on knife fighting techniques. He trains whenever possible with Sensei Richard Rosenthal of Raleigh, NC, who practices and teaches the system of Lago Y Mano Escrima as taught by Sensei AJ Advincula.