John Devine began his study of Isshinryu Karate in May of 1968 at the age of 19, with Sensei Ron McClellan, a student of Master Jack Sipe. He earned the rank of Sho Dan on April 4, 1972 and began training directly under Master Sipe. He currently holds the rank of Ku Dan (9th degree).
His training with Grand Master Angi Uezu began in Middletown, PA in 1972. Master Devine’s training continued with Master Uezu when he came to visit and taught at Master Sipe’s dojo, until 1985 when Master Sipe retired from teaching. In 1986, following Master Sipe’s retirement, he became a direct student of Master Uezu hosting Master Uezu’s visits, more than 6 times, including the trip in which he brought along his wife, Yukiko. He also traveled wherever Master Uezu would be to continue his training.
Master Devine traveled to Okinawa, Japan to train with Master Uezu in 1986 and was a part of his demonstration team which participated in the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Isshinryu Karate. All senseis and students of Isshinryu Karate in Okinawa were represented at the celebration. He returned to Okinawa in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2005 and in 2008 was promoted to Ku Dan by Master Uezu.
Both he and his students competed in the Rendokai Tournament, where he also judged. He has had students compete on the 1987 USAKF National Team competing in Budapest, Hungary and students competing on the AAU National team in 2000 (Budapest, Hungary), 2003 (Tokyo, Japan), 2004 (Tokyo, Japan) and 2009 (Florida, USA). He was presented with the “Making a Difference Award” by his Local TV station in 1993; and on March 5, 1995 he was presented the Samurai Spirit Award by Master Nick Adler.In 1996, Master Angi Uezu appointed him, along with Sensei Reese Rigby, Co-Vice President of the OIKKA(Okinawan Isshinryu Karate Kobudo Association), a position he still holds today.