Karen Bronson was born November 16, 1955 in Arlington, VA. She began her studies in Martial Arts in 1967, studying Judo, Aikido, and Gojo-Ryu at The Dojo in Palm Beach, FL under Sensei Mark Herman. She switched to Isshin-Ryu in 1969 under Richard Ross in Boynton Beach, FL. Moving to Michigan in 1972, she continued training under Sensei Lloyd Russett, John Gimpert as well as David Bastien in Windsor, Ontario. She was Michigan State Martial Arts Champion three consecutive years, 1975-1978.
Moving to Florida, Karen, along with David Bastien, opened the Mighty Warrior Dojo in Lake Worth, FL in 1979. Entering the Air Force, she taught Isshin-Ryu at Patrick AFB in Cocoa Beach, FL. After spending a 7 year tour, she returned to Michigan to attend the University of Michigan. While there, Sensei Bronson opened the 2nd Mighty Warrior Dojo in Ann Arbor.
In 1991, Sensei Bronson moved to Empire, Michigan where she opened the Glen Lake Dojo. During the next few years she opened and operated 4 active dojo's at one time, taught self-defense, self awareness as part of school curriculum, and introduced martial arts as a school sport to be recognized for a school athletic letter.
Over her 37 years in Martial Arts, she was inducted into several Hall of Fames including AOKA and World Head of Sokeship Council. She received awards from the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame for Dojo of the Year, Female Instructor of the Year, Spirit of Isshin-Ryu and Lifetime Achievement.
Sensei Bronson held a degree in Dual Diagnostic Clinical Psychology which helped her to develop a program focused not only on the physical martial arts, but also on such areas as effective thinking, anger management, self awareness, self-esteem, conflict avoidance and diffusion, and goal setting. She taught her students to recognize personal responsibility and to live with honesty, pride and honor.
Isshin-Ryu was Sensei Bronson's life. She often put aside her own needs to be with her Isshin-Ryu family. She never turned a student away and would always make time for any student. After a long battle with cancer, she passed away in the early morning hours of January 9, 2002. She was found clutching her black-belt in her hands.