Master Joseph Jennings, a Ninth Degree Black Belt and World Representative for the International Isshin-Ryu Karate Federation (IIKF) began his Isshin Ryu Karate training in the early 1960’s at World Fighting Arts in Buffalo, NY. Under the tutelage of many great instructors including Ed Wipperman, Jim Gordon, Everett Francis and John Overton, Master Jennings developed into an excellent Karate-ka. Wishing to improve his skills to a higher level, he traveled to Okinawa in 1972 and trained under the founder of Isshin-Ryu Karate Chief Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku and his son-in-law and number one student, Grand Master Angi Uezu.
This was in the 1970’s, when the martial arts was just beginning to develop as a viable business. Master Joe Jennings was an innovator and leader of the early martial arts business industry, having developed five successful schools throughout the Western NY region.
Participating in early karate tournaments, Master Jennings developed a name for himself as a top competitor, often winning all three divisions at the event – kata, sparring, and weapons. During the 1970’s until 1982, Master Jennings taught countless students and produced some of the top black belts in Isshin-Ryu of which many are still active today as competitors and successful school owners.
From his time in Okinawa, Master Jennings developed a close friendship with Grand Master Angi Uezu. Master Jennings arranged for Grand Master Uezu to visit the U.S. over a dozen times during the 1970’s through the early 1990’s where he taught seminars around the country. He co-authored the Encyclopedia of Isshin-Ryu Karate Book Vol.1 and through his company Panther Productions produced the highly regarded video series on the complete Isshin-Ryu Karate System with Grand Master Angi Uezu. This video series is regarded as the Blueprint for the TRUE Art of Isshin-Ryu, a complete guide for all students and Instructors to follow. Other Books by Master Jennings include Winning Karate and Full Contact Karate (with World Champion Jean Yves Theriault). Master Jennings has also co-starred with Louie Neglia in the Martial Arts action movie “Sun Dragon.”
Now living in southern California, Master Jennings continues to teach Isshin-Ryu Karate and travels the world giving seminars on his life-long art. Master Jennings is a true innovator and an outstanding representation of the honor and humility of the martial arts.