Kyoshi-Sei Larry Griffin – 8th Dan
Sensei Griffin began his martial arts journey in 1980. His first training was at a small Okinawan Shorin-Ryu dojo in Boston, GA. The dojo closed after a few months but his passion in the martial arts grew stronger and stronger. While working in Alabama the next 18 months Sensei trained at two different Tae Kwon Do dojo’s in Birmingham and Dothan. He attained the rank of 6th Kyu.
Having moved back to South Georgia, Sensei Griffin heard of a traditional martial arts dojo that was only 45 minutes from his home. That dojo was located in Valdosta, GA and was the Hombu Dojo for the National Karate Jui-Jitsu Union (NKJU). The NKJU was headed by Director Richard Baillargeon (SOKE) and the Assistant Director, Joe Ruiz (SHIHAN DAI). In 1982, Sensei Griffin began his Shito-Ryu training at the Hombu dojo. That Shito-Ryu training continues today. He attained the rank of Sankyu while at the Hombu Dojo. In 1983 he was named the Student of the Year. Soke B told him teach class that night. That was his first time instructing a class.
In 1984 Sensei Griffin moved to Albany, GA. He continued his training with a student of Soke Baillargeon, Renshi Gene Murphy at his dojo in Sylvester, GA. Sensei Griffin tested for his Shodan rank in 1986. In 1985 Assistant Director Joe Ruiz left the NKJU and formed the International Karate Kobudo Union in 1986. In 1987 the Sylvester dojo withdrew from the NKJU and joined the IKKU.
In 1988 Sensei Griffin opened his first dojo in Leesburg, GA. It was named the Leesburg Karate Club. Sensei Griffin moved to Atlanta, Ga. in 1989. The dojo was taken over by Renshi Gene Murphy.
Sensei Griffin continued his Shito-Ryu training with Renshi Sensei Ron Downton in Atlanta. He tested for Nidan in 1989. That was his first Dan rank with the IKKU.
In 1990 Sensei became a certified instructor for the Gwinnett County Community School program. He opened a dojo at Meadowcreek High School and latter Duluth High School. That relationship remained until 2014 when Sensei retired from active dojo teaching. On a group trip to Virginia to attend a Seishin-Kai Tournament hosted by Soke Shogo Kuniba, Soke Ruiz gave the dojo a name – KEISHIN KARATE KAI. It means – “Open Heart” Dojo, to capture the spirit exhibited by all the students.
In 1996 Sensei Griffin was one of the seven traditional karate tournament promoters and instructors that founded the Georgia Karate League. The league was formed to provide a safe, fair and a uniform platform for tournaments. The league instituted a certification program for volunteers and referees. A State Champion recognition program recognized outstanding competitors at the annual Awards Banquet. Sensei Griffin was named Chairman of the GKL Board, a position he held for the 15 years the GKL existed.
In 1999 Sensei Griffin was awarded the Title – “Renshi SHINPAI”- (Heart of a Dragon) from SOKE Ruiz, for his dedication, leadership and commitment to the IKKU. His duties include Summer Camp Director, IKKU Event Coordinator, Membership Screening and Assistant to Soke Ruiz and Hanshi Ron Downton.
Sensei Griffin has attained the rank of HACHIDAN- Kotosu Ha Shito-Ryu Karate Do, YONDAN- Kogo-Ryu Kobudo and GODAN- Zen Shoto-Kai Karate Ryu. He has the rank title of- KYOSHI-SEI.
1982 – Began Shito-Ryu Training at the Valdosta Hombu Dojo for the NKJU
1983 – Awarded Student of the Year
1986 – Shodan (1st dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu
1989 – Nidan (2nd dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu
1996 – Co-Founder of the Georgia Karate League
1996-2011 – Chairman of the GKL Board
1998 – Rokudan (6th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu
1999 – Awarded the Title of Renshi SHINPAI – Heart of a Dragon
2002 – Awarded the Title of Kyoshi
2003 – Nanadan (7th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu
2015 – Godan (5th dan) in Koga Ryu Kobudo
2016 – Hachidan (8th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu and Awarded Title Kyoshi-Sei
39 years experience in Okinawan and Japanese Warrior Arts
Hachidan (8th dan) in Kotosu-Ha Shito-Ryu
Godan (5th) – Zen Shoto-Kai Karate Ryu
Yondan (4th dan) in Koga Ryu Kobudo
Yondan (4th dan) in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do
IKKU Summer Camp Director & Event Coordinator