Elmar T. Schmeisser

I was born in 1950, and began my Karate training in the summer of 1968 at Tracy's Kempo Karate in San Mateo, CA. That fall, I went to college (UCSD) and began training under Mr. Hidetaka Nishiyama (Shotokan/JKA); summer training was continued in Stanford University. Three and a half years later, I was ranked at shodan.

Upon graduation in 1972, I went to the University of Massachusetts for 2 years to earn my master's degree, and exchanged teaching Karate for learning Judo from Mr. Noriyasu Kudo, earning sankyu (Kodokan style) in 1973. Mr. Kudo also taught Shukokai (Tani-ha Shito-ryu) Karate under the guidance of Mr. Shigeru Kimura (New Jersey). The following year was spent in Stanford University working, training Karate and learning Omote-Senke Japanese tea ceremony. In 1975 I earned nidan from Mr. Nishiyama, and started to train with Mr. Chuck Okimura (Shotokan of Hawaii) and Mr. Isao Wada (Renshinkai). Through them I met Mr. Leroy Rodrigues (Shotokan/Shorinjiryu).

In 1976, I went to the University of Florida for the doctorate degree, taught Karate at the University Shotokan dojo, and trained in Aikido, eventually earning sankyu (Yamada style) in 1980.

In January of 1981, with a newly earned Ph.D., I entered the Army (Captain, Medical Service Corps) and was stationed in San Francisco, CA. For the next 4 years, I trained with (and taught for) Mr. Rodrigues, earning my sandan and my senior instructor's certificate in the American Teacher's Association of the Martial Arts in 1984. I was then assigned to the School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio, and taught Karate for the YWCA, as well getting introduced to Kendo and Kyudo.

In 1987, I left active duty to accept a faculty position as Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky . Here, after dojo promotion to yondan by Mr. Rodrigues, I trained in Aikido for a further year (receiving nikyu, Saotome style in 1988) and in the Fall of 1988, started a Karate P.E. class. At this time I was registered as a level C examiner by the America JKA Karate Association (Mr. Ray Dalke, Chairman).  In 1992, I was promoted to godan by Mr. Rodrigues; this rank as later recognized by the International Society of Okinawan/Japanese Karate-Do (ISOK) in 1994 prior to an early administrative promotion to the grade of rokudan in 1995 by ISOK's co-founder, Dr. Weiss, based on the rokudan granted by Mr. Rodrigues, the other co-founder of ISOK.  I was also awarded the Master Instructor's license by the American Teachers Association of the Martial Arts (ATAMA) in the same year.

In 1997, I left the University to accept a position at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.  Here I restricted my Karate practice to training with selected senior students in an apprenticeship mode, and in 1998, was awarded the title of Renshi by ISOK, and was appointed to head the administration of ISOK a year later.  I resumed training in Aikido  (Nishio style,) with Mr. Bill Weaver at the ShoAnJuku Dojo (Mr. Masakazu Tazaki, supervising) to further deepen my understanding of the grappling techniques hidden in the kata of Karate-do.  In addition, I started training in Iaido (Soshoryu) to complement my aikido training.  Further, I resumed kendo training and started training in koryu Kenjutsu (Gomokawa Kaishin Ryu)  and Iaijutsu (Tamiya Ryu), both under the guidance of Mr Tetsuzan Kuroda (Japan) to expand my knowledge of the older martial methods.  Mr. Tazaki promoted me in Aikido to ikkyu in 2000 and to shodan in 2001, as well as to sankyu in Iaido.  In late 2001, I moved from Texas to accept a civil service position at the Army Research Office in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, from which I retired at the end of 2012.  Here I found a dojo for karate-do, and also located a Kyudo dojo to work on the internal aspects of budo (currently ranked shodan).  In 2004, I transferred the executive operating authority of ISOK to Mr. Craig Hargis, and returned to teaching, giving seminars and rank examinations for ISOK when asked, while continuing to teach Shotokan karate locally, and as ancillary classes for my advanced karate students, Nishio-style Aikido and Japanese sword methods (Kendo kata and Soshoryu Iaido).  On July 19th of 2004, I received recognition from ISOK for 7th Dan based on Mr Rodrigues recommendation and the service/teaching title of Kyoshi.  This teaching title was later reaffirmed by Mr. Rodrigues at the Shinkyu Dojo in San Francisco.  With an expansion and reorganization of ISOK in 2006, I again assumed some duties in its administration, and was a member of the Senior Technical Council until it closed as an organization in 2018.  The International Shotokan-ryu Karate-do Shihan-kai has also recognized and registered the rank, and with the submission of a thesis, I was awarded their Kyoshi certification as well. Recently, Shinkyu Shotokan has awarded me an 8th Dan with a courtesy title of Hanshi. The rank has been recognized and registered with ATAMA, as has the ISKS and ISOK Kyoshi certifications.

Over the past 50 years of training and teaching, I have been ranked in Karate-do, Aikido, Judo, Iaido and Kyudo; been awarded Instructor (Shidoin), Senior Instructor (Sensei), Master Instructor licenses (Renshi) and Senior Master Instructor (Kyoshi) licenses (ATAMA), and currently hold the grade of Nanadan in Karate-do and the title of Kyoshi (ISOK, ISKS) and Hachidan (Shinkyu and ATAMA). Finally, I maintain my Aikido, Kendo and Iaido kata as well as my koryu sword practice and continue Kyudo and Cha-no-yu to maintain a balance between the active and meditative arts, and balance between the worlds of budo and bujutsu. 

This page was last updated on 06 April 2019