“The best sermon is a good example.”

OUR SENSEI

  • Founder and Chief Instructor
  • Isshinryu Hall of Fame Inductee
  • World Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee
  • World Karate Union Hall of Famer
  • Texas Martial Arts Hall of Famer
  • Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Famer
  • International Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Board Member of the Isshinryu Hall of Fame

SOKE ROBERT A. KRISTENSEN

GRAPEVINE

Soke Robert A. Kristensen founded Texas Isshinryu Karate Kai in 1991 after several years of training at the Jersey Judo Karate Kai under Shihan Dale Jenkins.  He also trained under Hanshi William H. Duessell and now trains under Master Toby Cooling.  Soke Kristensen served in the United States Navy in Reconnaissance Attack Squadron 6 and also served as shore patrol in Sasebo, Japan. He is a Vietnam Veteran.  He was a world champion competitor and Top 10 competitor in Texas for over 10 years. In 2005 he was inducted into the prestigious Isshinryu Hall of Fame and currently serves as a Board Member.  Soke Kristensen is a Kudan (9th degree black belt), currently teaching eight classes each week at the Grapevine Main Dojo.  He also holds black belts in Goju-ryu and Judo.

Kyoshi Maria Kristensen

  • Grapevine
  • Earned Sho-Dan 1994
  • Studied Goju-Ryu
  • Studied Tae Kwon Do
  • Isshinryu Hall of Fame             Inductee 2017

 

Renshi Susan Harris

  • Quinlan
  • Earned Sho-Dan in 1999
  • Registered Nurse
  • Top Competitor
  • Earned Sensei in 2005
  • World Champion

 

Renshi Tommy Thomas

  • Grapevine
  • Earned Sho-Dan in 2000
  • US Army Vietnam       
            Veteran
  • Awarded 2 Purple
             Hearts 
  •         Spirit of Isshinryu     
  •          Recipient

Shihan Tony Palos

  • Denton
  • Earned Sho-Dan
             August 10, 2002
  • Jazz Musician
  • Top Competitor
  • Instructor of the Year
  • Grand Champion

 

Shihan Tina Palos

  • Denton
  • Earned Sho-Dan March 
  •          30, 2003
  • Top Competitor
  • Jazz Musician
  • IHOF Instructor of the
  •         Year

Renshi Jeannie Rupp

  • Granbury
  • Began in Feb. 1996
  • Earned Sho-Dan March 
  •          30, 2003
  • Top Competitor
    Earned title of Sensei 
  •          August 2009

Renshi Kyle Murray

  • Coppell
  • Began training in 1997
  • Earned Sho-Dan April 
  •         15, 2007       
  • Earned Go-Dan April 18,
  •          2021
  • Baylor Graduate
  • Top Competitor

Renshi Carol Gue

  • Grapevine
  • Began in 1998
  • Sho-Dan April 22, 2001
  • Began  at American
  •          Budo Kai in NJ

 

 

 

 

Renshi Michael Strickland

  • Denton
  • Began in 1992
  • Top Competitor
  • Earned Sho-Dan April 
  •         13, 2008
  • Earned Yon-Dan April
  •         15, 2018
  • Earned Go-Dan May 1, 2022
  • Also studied       
  •          Taekwondo
  • IHOF Male Karate-ka of
  •          the year nominee

Renshi Mark Hendrix

  • Plano
  • Began training in August
  •          2001
  • Earned Sho-Dan April   
  •         13, 2008
  • Retired Engineering
  •          Manager

 

Renshi Laura Murray

  • Grapevine
  • Began April 2002
  • Earned Sho-Dan April 13, 2008
  • Earned title of Sensei
  •          December 12, 2015
  • Earned Go-Dan May 1, 2022
  • Top Competitor
  • IHOF Outstanding
  •          Contribution Award 2014

Renshi Glenn Gibbs

  • Grapevine
  • Earned Sho-Dan April
  •         13, 2008
  • Began in April 2002
  • Studied Shotokan
  • Earned title of Sensei in
  •          2017

Renshi Margaret Myers

  • Los Colinas
  • Began in May 2002
  • Earned Sho-Dan on April
  •         13, 2008
  • Earned title of Sensei
  •          August 2014
  • Top Competitor

 

Renshi Steve Gellman, MD

  • Grapevine
  • Began training in 1993
  • Earned Sho-Dan March
  •          2003    
  •         Earned title of Sensei 
  •         August 2013    
  • Medical Doctor

 

Sensei Jennifer Wiederkehr

  • Flower Mound
  • Began in 2003
  • Top Competitor
  • Studied Goju-Ryu
  • Karate-ka of the Year
  •  

 

Sensei Tracy Dickey

  • East Plano
  • Began in June 2003
  • Sho-Dan March 29, 2009
  • IHOF Female Karate-ka
  •          of the year
  • IHOF Humanitarian Award
             2019, 2022
  • Top Competitor
  •  

 

Sensei Charles Blommaert

  • Frisco
  • Trained in Shorin-Ryu
  • Sho-Dan August 2009
  • North Texas graduate
  • Earned title of Sensei in
  •         2017
  • Law Enforcement
  •          Officer

Sensei Steve Kroll

  • East Plano
  • Began training in
  •         January 2002
  • Earned Sho-Dan August
  •          28, 2010
  • Yon Dan May 2022

Sensei Luke Hutchinson

  • East Plano
  • Earned Sho-Dan April 
  •         10, 2011
  • Yon Dan May 2022
  •  
  •  

 

Sensei Taylor Blommaert

  • Frisco
  • Began training at New
  •         Jersey Judo Karate
  •         Academy in 2001
  • Sho-Dan April 10, 2011
  • Sensei April 16, 2018
  • Top Competitor
  • Yon Dan May 2022

Sensei Joey Marcella

  • Decatur
  • Began in Sep. 2004
  • He & son were first
  •          Father/Son combo to
  •          earn Sho-Dan
  • Top Competitor
  • Yon Dan May 2022
  •  

Sensei Jovi Espinosa

  • Los Colinas
  • Sho-Dan April 15, 2012
  • Top Competitor
  • Senior Karate-ka of
  •          2009 & 2011
  • First Filipino Black Belt
  •          in TIKK history
  • Yon Dan May 2022

Sensei Jim Wallander

  • Grapevine
  • Began in 2002
  • Both sons participated
  •          in karate
  • Earned Sho-Dan on April
  •          15, 2012
  • Yon Dan May 2022

 

Sensei Dianne Van Winkle

  • Grapevine
  • Began in May 2005
  • Senior Karate-ka of
  •          2011
  • Sho-Dan April 15, 2012
  • Top Competitor
  • Yon Dan May 2022

 

Sensei Erick R. Soto

  •  Nevada
  • Began training under
  •          Sensei Chuck Maynard
  •          in 2006
  • Sho-Dan April 15, 2012
  • Head Instructor at
  •          Nevada Isshinryu Karate
  •          Kai

Sensei Dan Bamper

  • Moore, OK & Grapevine
  • Began in 1995
  • Sho-Dan Feb. 13, 2003
  • Top Competitor
  • Co-Owner Integrity
  •          Martial Arts
  • Also trains in Tae Kwon
  •          Do

 

Sensei Kelli Marcella

  • Decatur
  • Sho-Dan Dec. 1, 2012
  • Began training on Feb.
  •          14, 2007
  • IHOF Female Karate-ka
  •          of the year
  • Earned title of Sensei
  •          April 7, 2019

 

Sensei Dan Melendez

  • Plano
  • Began training in 2001
  • Sho-Dan Dec 1, 2012
  • Scuba Diver
  • Chemical Dependency
  •          Counselor
  • Certified Recovery
  •          Coach

 

Sensei Albert Solares

  • Grapevine
  • Began training in
  •          February 2009
  • Sho-Dan in August 2014
  • Co-Instructor at East Plano
  •          Dojo   
  • Earned Sensei in August
  •          2020
  •  

 

Sensei Lee Stafki

  • Denton
  • US Army Veteran
  • Purple Heart Recipient
    • Combat tours in Iraq,
               Afghanistan, North Africa,
               and other locations
  • Began in 1987
  • Sho-Dan May 1993
  • IHOF Male Karate-ka 2018
  • Also holds blackbelts in Aikido
             and Jujitsu
  • Anglican Priest

Sensei Tim Callahan

  • Chicago
  •  
  •  

 

Sensei Steve Pergantis

  • Grapevine
  • Began training in 2003 
  • Sho-Dan in December 2012
  • Earned title of Sensei 
  •         May 2022
  •  

 

Sensei Steve Sumners

  • Denton
  • Retired US Army Desert Storm
             Veteran
  • Began training in 2009
  • Spirit of Isshinryu Award 2010
  • Sho-Dan in April 2015  
  • Earned Sensei September 2022

Sensei LB Herbert

  • East Plano
  • Began training in 2008
  • Gasshuku Karate-ka of
  •          2012 & 2013
  • Sho-Dan in December 2015
  • Co-Instructor at East Plano
  •          Dojo   
  • Earned Sensei May 2022

Sensei Grace Murray

  • Grapevine
  • Began training in 2010
  • Gasshuku Karate-ka of
  •          2014
  • Top Competitor
  • Sho-Dan in December 2015
  • Earned Sensei May 2022
  •  

In Memory

Sensei Mike Harper

  • Plano
  • Began in 1999
  • Top Competitor
  • Earned Sho-Dan April
  •         13, 2008
  • Earned title of Sensei 
  •          August 13, 2014
  •