Hanshi Ronald Downton

Hanshi Ronald Downton – 9th Dan

Hanshi Ronald Downton was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in January of 1952. He moved to Georgia as a pre-teen & spent his teen years studying and competing in gymnastics. His dedication to gymnastics helped to formulate the type of martial artist he would eventually become.

In 1972, at the age of 20 marked the beginning of Downton’s martial arts journey at the Fischer School of Karate. His first Senseis, Phillip and Bobby Fischer taught him in the early years and provided the foundation for basics, sparring, and kata.  In 1973 Downton met Soke Richard P. Baillargeon and Shihan Joseph R. Ruiz. It is their direction that helped mold this karate-ka, mostly interested in Kumite and Sparring, into a well-rounded Master of the Arts in Kobudo, Jiu-Jitsu, Kempo, Karate-Do, and Iaido.

1975 proved to be a monumental year for Downton as he received his Shodan rank in the art of Karate-Do. While he continued to train and teach at the Fischer Dojo, this eventually came to an end as the Fischer Dojo closed midway through the year. The positive outcome of the dojo closing resulted in Downton opening his own first commercial dojo. In early 1978, the Dojo relocated to Conyers, GA where it resided for 3 years.

As the demand for his instruction grew, so did the number of students under his tutelage. In 1981, the demand for additional floor space allowed Downton to open a new 3,000 sq ft dojo in Conyers to accommodate the need. The demand didn’t stop there, and after 5 years at the new location, Downton began opening new dojos in the surrounding areas. Throughout the next several years Downton would continue to expand and would ultimately run 4 dojos, with a roster of approximately 400 students.

In 1986 Hanshi Downton resigned from the NKJU – National Karate Jiu Jitsu Union and joined together with Soke Joseph Ruiz in the newly formed IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union. Hanshi Downton considered the IKKU to offer something that most organizations could not offer. That being the expertise of a true master of the arts, Soke Joseph Ruiz.

In 1989 Hanshi Downton made the difficult decision to close his commercial dojos and build a private dojo at his home location in Social Circle, GA. Hanshi Downton now operates Tora Shin Karate Kai, the IKKU Hombu Dojo out of this location. He continues to lead classes and instruct small groups on the floor while preserving the teachings of Soke Joseph R. Ruiz. As well, Tora Shin Karate Kai host numerous events for the IKKU at large.

Currently, Hanshi Downton is the Assistant Director of the International Karate Kobudo Union (IKKU) and runs the Hombu Dojo for the organization. He has now been an active leader in this organization for over 31 years. He has continued to follow Soke Ruiz over the years, while his own expertise of the arts evolved and was polished into that of a true Master.


1975 – Shodan (1st dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu

1981 – Nidan (2nd Dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu

1985 – Sandan (3rd dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu

1989 – Yondan (4th dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu

1998 – Rokudan (6th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu

2002 – Awarded the Title of Kyoshi

2003 – Nanadan (7th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu

2008 – Hachidan (8th dan) and Awarded the Title of Kyoshi-Sei

2015 – Godan (5th dan) in Koga Ryu Kobudo

2016 – Kudan (9th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu


50+ years of experience in Okinawan and Japanese Warrior Arts

Assistant Director of the International Karate Kobudo Union

Kudan (9th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu

Godan (5th dan) in Koga Ryu Kobudo

Yondan (4th dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do