Master Dan Popp began his study of Isshinryu karate in 1982 at the age of 15 under his father, Frank Popp. After earning his Sho Dan in 1984 at the age of 17, he starting teaching Isshinryu karate alongside his father every weekend. After 14 years of study under Don Monismith, Sensei Popp progressed to the rank of Go Dan. In 1990, Dan began his study of Kendo under DukYeong Kim and eventually earned the rank of Yon Dan. Kim Sensei also provided instruction in the art of Shodo, Japanese calligraphy, concurrently with Dan’s Kendo training.
Dan recorded an impressive record on the open tournament circuit throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with top finishes for kumite, empty hand kata, and weapons kata. Along with his many Grand Championships for kata, Dan won the gold medal in Black Belt weapons for 4 consecutive years at the Keystone State Games, Pennsylvania’s Olympic-style athletic event held every summer. Among his many awards and accomplishments, Sensei Popp was also named the 2008 Male Instructor of the Year by the International Isshinryu Hall of Fame.
Dan joined the Order of Isshin-Ryu in 1996 under the instruction of Master Toby Cooling (IHOF 1988). Opening his first dojo at that time, he was accepted into the Order of Isshin-Ryu as a Ni Dan. His dedication and commitment earned him promotion to Roku Dan in the Order of Isshin-Ryu in February 2012.
Dan conducts his entire life in a manner that exemplifies the spirit of martial arts, Hobo Kore Dojo (“your life is your dojo”). He has traveled extensively to spread the art of Isshinryu karate and visited other Sensei in such places as New York, Maryland, Delaware, Nevada, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Australia. In addition to Isshinryu, Dan trains in various other forms of martial arts including Kendo, Presas Style Arnis, Chi Ryu Jujitsu, Hsin Yi-LiuheBafaChuan, and SindoMuso-Ryu Dojo.
A 1994 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Professional Accountancy, Dan is employed by the National Credit Union Administration where he serves as a federal examiner specializing in IT audits. As such, he has earned both CISA and CRISC certifications. In 2012, Dan published his first book,Sensei’s Final Lessons, a memoir which tells the various lessons learned during the last five years of his Kendo Sensei’s life. His next book project, The Floating Brush, will cover the art of Shodo, or Japanese calligraphy.
Dan resides in Harrisburg, PA with his daughters Britteni and Kayla.