Passed In 2012
Joel Chandler began studying judo and karate in 1961 and in February of 1968 was introduced to lsshin-Ryu karate. In August of 1968 he opened his first dojo and began teaching seven students, one of which is still with him. Over the years he has established affiliate dojos in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and North Carolina. He has studied under Ed Johnson of Fort Worth, Texas; Steve Armstrong of Tacoma, Washington; Harold Mitchum of Albany, Georgia; and Toby Cooling of Elkton, Maryland.
Sensei Chandler conducted twenty-three consecutive open tournaments in Louisiana before moving to North Carolina. He was instrumental in establishing the Louisiana Black Belt Hall of Fame for Martial Artists along with David Jordan of Ruston, Louisiana. This organization was established to recognize the efforts and accomplishments regardless of style or association.
Among his achievements are listings in Bob Wall's Who's Who in Karate, 1971; Who's Who in Martial Arts, 1982/83; Who's Who in Martial Arts, 1985; and Master, Founders and Leaders of American Martial Arts, 1985. From 1981 to 1989, he was the president of the United Isshin-Ryu Karate Association under the directorship of Master Harold Mitchum. In 1986, he was inducted into the Louisiana Black Belt Hall of Fame. He has received numerous awards from civic and martial arts organizations throughout the years. In 1991, he formed the Tatsuo Kan Society which has become one of the leading organizations in the Isshin-Ryu community.
He has traveled throughout the United States, conducting seminars and clinics on Isshin-Ryu karate. He travels approximately 16,000 miles per year to promote and further Isshin-Ryu karate. Sensei Chandler has written numerous articles for martial arts publications and has authored two books: "The Secrets of Isshin-Ryu Karate" and "Isshin-Ryu Karate: History and Kata."