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.
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 were the primary mechanism used to train in and pass on the highly effective combat techniques 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.
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.