As a birthday present to himself, Butch Hill began his study of Isshin-Ryu March 16, 1975 at the Karate School of Nashville which was operated by Mr. Denny Shaffer and Mr. Phil McElroy. He arrived at the dojo riding his "Harley" supporting long hair, a beard and earring. Bets were taken on just hold long he would last.
Mr. Hill worked nights at his job with the U. S. Postal Service and attended day classes. By the time he had made Green Belt, Mr. Hill had demonstrated sufficient leadership skills that he was called on to help teach classes. He has always been able to balance his commitment between his family, his job, and Isshin-Ryu.
During Mr. Hill's years as a tournament competitor he won many trophies in both open and Isshin-Ryu events; he is remembered by all who fought him as a fierce competitor who always treated his opponent and the officials with respect. As he advanced through the ranks, he began to give more and more back to the art. He not only demonstrated some excellent fighting techniques, he also became very involved in studying the katas and finding new bunkai for each of the moves. His motto is, "You need to use the vehicle of fighting to get to the higher aspects of Martial Arts".
After his competition years were behind him he continued to demonstrate superior fighting skills in the dojo. The students who had a sincere interest in learning became part of "Team Nashville" which continues to excel at tournaments to this day. Mr. Hill has taught and influenced such competitors as David Gabbard, Tony Williams and Sandra Strong.
Mr. Hill continues to serve on the International Isshin-Ryu Karate Association Board of Directors and has also served on the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame Board of Directors. He has served as Tournament Director at most of the I.I.K.A. sanctioned tournaments for several years as well as the Hall of Fame Tournament.
One of Mr. Hill's main contributions to Isshin-Ryu has been bringing together diverse Isshin-Ryu practitioners. He has taken time off from his busy schedule to travel across this nation working with the leaders of other organizations and teaching seminars to independent schools which had no organizational ties.
In addition to all the accomplishments mentioned above, Mr. Hill has studied the art of Jujitsu and has been promoted to Dan rank in this art. He has used his jujitsu training to explain and expand upon Isshin-Ryu techniques.
Mr. Hill has founded a self defense school based on the tenets of Isshin-Ryu. At this school, Mr. Hill also teaches firearms and knife training. He is an NRA certified instructor in Home Firearm Safety, Basic Pistol and Personal Protection. His training school is certified by the state of Tennessee to teach the state handgun carry permit class in six Middle Tennessee cities.
Twenty-four years seems like a short time to accomplish all of this, but Mr. Hill has made Isshin-Ryu the main focus of his life. He has passed on to young men and women the proven skills and techniques that Master Shimabuku intended from his inception of this art so many years ago.