The History of Karate

The martial art of karate-do has its origins in Okinawa. Its earliest evolution is not known, but is only surmised to have preceded the very substantial development known to historians to have taken place between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries, especially under considerable influence from China.

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USKL Lineage

Lineage of the USKL Dojos



Statewide Karate League

Founder SKL (now IKL)
Walter K. Nishioka
(Hombo Dojo – Honolulu Hawaii)
1963 – Present

Riverside, CA SKL
R.T. Nakano

R. Nakano 1965-67
F. Guzman 1967-68
M. Visser 1968-69
J. Pagliuso 1969-70


D. Pickard 1970-71
D. Krech 1971-72


Claremont USKL
D. Pickard

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New Riverside SKL
D. Krech / D. Pickard

Hemet USKL
D. Pickard
G. Bangle

Moorpark College (USKL)
D. Pickard

L.A. Mission College (USKL)
D. Pickard

L.A. Pierce College (USKL)
D. Pickard

Upland USKL*
(8173 Monte Vista Dojo)
T. Aponte

(Foothill Dojo)
J. Augur/M. Whiteside

(1302 Monte Vista Dojo)
T. Aponte/J. Augur/M. Whiteside

(DAC: 1811 W. Foothill Dojo)
T. Aponte/J. Augur

Claremont USKL
(Town Avenue)
D. Pickard

Claremont Colleges (USKL)
D. Pickard

Claremont Colleges* (USKL)
T. Aponte

University of Chicago* (USKL)
T. Reisz
K. Nakamura / J. Straughn

University of La Verne (USKL)
T. Aponte

* In 1994, USKL changed style from Shorin-Ryu to Shotokan.


USKL Black belts

The following individuals have been promoted to a Black Belt rank either in the Shorin Ryu style of karate, under the banners of the Statewide Karate League (1970-74), the United States Karate League (1973-94), or the Shotokan (JKA) style of karate under the banner of the Upland Shotokan Karate League (1994-present).  Training was engaged in at one or more of the several USKL-affiliated dojos (USKL Lineage). 

To all past USKL Black Belts: I hope that your training with us has enriched you and I encourage you to stay in touch.  Let me know from time to time how you are getting on in life.  If you have lost or damaged your Black Belt or diploma and wish to arrange for replacements, let me know and I can help (for a small fee, of course).


Sensei Ty Aponte


Dean Pickard
Ty Aponte
Mike Whiteside
George Sasano (Affiliate)
David Blair (Affiliate)
Tom Serrano (Affiliate)

Godan (5th Degree Black Belt)

Lynn Aponte
James Augur
Leo Shortle
Dave Turney
Robert Johnson
Douglas Krech

Yandan (4th Degree Black Belt)

James Doiron
Brad Skeels
Andrew Wildasinn

Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt)

Greg Bangle       
Tom Reisz       
Gary Demerjian 
Gavin Albright  

Jon Krause
Bill Thompson
Jared Goldberg
Casey Chang

Osman Jamil
Robert Nunez

Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt)

Mark Locascio       
Ken Nakamura       
Jean Nakamura       
Ben Ver Steeg       
Carlos Obeso
Scott Davis   

Donnie Ewens       
Don Cavazos       
Jonathon Leong
Alex Matulionis
Christie Kramer

Chris Becker
David Michelson
Dan Hardgrove
Irene Nunez

Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt)

Roger Mansfield
Brian Kitagawa
Charles Turner
Mike Smith
Ken Steinmetz
Robert Robertson
Randy Throne
John Wright
Dewie Lund
Darrol Hval
Johnny Jackson
Jon Spencer
Don Woodmansee
Gerry Presar
Jon DeVries
Ernie Haupt
Don Sutliff
Vince Barker
Bob Chunko
Glenn Peterson
Steve Scudder
Darryl Greer
Ken Koizumi
Chris Tucker
Mike Barber
Frank Bowes
John Caldwell
Alex Castro
Harry Chieu
Earl Collins
Lisa Corton
Rob Davis
Jessica Diaz
Pat Diaz
Paul Dourley
Bryan Edmonds
Jim Emery
Bob Fletcher
Jeff Fujimoto
Dave Halstead
Bruce Hojati
Steve Houston
Dan Hyman
Kevin Imamura
Rusty Johnson
Dave Keeland
Devin Knell
Dave Lee
Mark McComb


Mikyla Morris
Matias Nardi
Garrett Ow
Dave Painter
Kyle Porter
Donna Quinones
Michael Rodriguez
Jon Russel  
Mike Scott
Chris Scott
Tina Smith
Warren Smith
Ken Steinmetz
Jeff Taylor       
Mike Touma       
Kiera Troxell       
Pete Van Zele       
Dave Walten       
Shelli Weldon       
Dennis Wong       
Amanda Hamby
Jenny Blatner
Jeremy Straughn
Bob Hulse
Tina Yang
Alex Hinshaw
Jordan Seng
Ivan Toft
Monica Toft
David Guilfoyle
Kaycee Lai
Beth Crawford
Kristie Angelo
Eric Tapleband
Megan Purn          
Nathan Carlen
David Chung
Blake Nakaoka
Adam Nakaoka
Michael Churng
Ken Shinozaki
Daniel Benitez
Joseph Fraizer
Charles Seipp
Micah Huang
Alejo Enriquez
Scott Huan
Scott Matayoshi
Monika Schultz

Brianna Lynn-Roberts
Debbie Berg
Magdalene Brooke
Vincent Ma
Elizabeth Ortega
John Peretz
Patrick Rodriguez
Johnathan Ivy
Brenda Lozano
Grant Shih
Matthew Alvarez
Keelan Aponte
Noah Ghotbi
Bryan Yamamoto
Stephanie Cruz
Christopher Pei
Ritviz Suresh Gautam
Shane Zackery
Kieran Aponte
Max Chao-Haft
Jeremy Oken
Mark Oken
Evan Hamaguchi
Adrian Vera
Lewis Johnson
Andrea Smith
Steven Rodriguez
David Dang
Donald Taylor
Jennifer Alvarez
Blair Crossman
Miles Mundy
Isaac Tucker-Rasbury
Nathan Goltz
Jessica de Lafeuntes
Jeremy Wang
Christian Vaccese
David Voiles
Tim Richmond
Jeff Bruce
Don Marrolli
Laura St. Martin
Stephanie Ivler
Juan Miguel Nunez
Jose Luis Nunez
Devin Voiles
Gerald Rodriguez
John Flechas


Youth Black Belts

Abby Pellitteri
Jason Chen
Jasmine Tran
Benjamin Lekpor
Clarissa Lekpor

Shihan Dean Pickard: Founder, United States Karate League

Dean Pickard is the founder and former head instructor of the USKL (United States Karate League).*  Shihan Pickard began his training in the martial arts in 1965.  He trained for a short time in a Japanese-Okinawan style under a visiting mathematics professor whose dojo was based in the city of Shonan, Japan. Thus, the name Shonan-Ryu. 

From 1966 to 1970 Shihan Pickard trained in Riverside California under R. T. Nakano of the Statewide Karate League which was founded in Hawaii in 1958 by W. K. Nishioka.   Beginning in 1972, Shihan Pickard broadened his studies to include such styles as: Shito-ryu; Shotokan; Korean Tae Kwan Do; and Tai Chi Ch'uan with Prof. Wen Shan Huang an eminent scholar from China.  Shihan Pickard has also studied kickboxing and the Filipino arts under Dan Inosanto at the Kali Academy in Torrence, California.

In addition to teaching at the United States Karate League, Shihan Pickard has taught martial arts in the physical education departments at Pomona College (serving the Claremont Colleges), L. A. Mission College, and Moorpark College.  He sponsored the Pierce College Karate Club from 1984 to 1992 and taught karate in the Pierce College Physical Education Dept from 1999 to 2004.

Shihan Pickard's publications on the martial arts include:

  • "Philosophy, Spirit, and the Martial Arts," USKL,1993;
  • "United Stated Karate League Training Manual", Vols. 1-3, with Ty Aponte, 1992;
  • "Martial Arts and Meditative Disciplines," Black Belt Magazine, June, 1979.

Shihan Pickard graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a BA, cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa; recieved an M.A. from C.S.U. Long Beach where he was nominated to the Graduate Dean's list; and received his Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate University where he received two fellowships. He was professor of philosophy and humanities at Pierce College for 25 years and adjunct professor at California State University, Northridge for 11 years. He retired from teaching in 2004 but taught classes near his home in Venice CA at Santa Monica College from 2006 to 2011. He currently travels and continues his philanthropic pursuits.

His most recent published works include:

  • "Nietzsche, Emancipation, & Truth" in New Nietzsche Studies, eds. B. Babich (Fordham/Georgetown) & D. Allison (SUNY) ,Winter, 1997;
  • "Logic, Truth, and Reasoning: A Textbook in Critical Thinking", 1997; 2nd ed., 2009.
  • "The Problem of Reflexivity in Habermasian Universalism," Auslegung, Vol. 19, #1, Winter, 1993, pp 1-20.

In addition to his articles, he has written two textbooks on philosophy and has had several book reviews published. He received a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in 1995, was selected for a Liberty Fund Grant & colloquium in 1998; and was selected for Who's Who Among America's Teachers (by the top 5% of America's students) in 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2004.

*Precursor to the USKL (Upland Shotokan Karate League) created by Sensei Ty Aponte.