Master Donald E. Vitale, born in Alton, Illinois in 1945, began his dedication and commitment to the martial arts while serving as a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps from 1961 to 1966 when he served on the Fleet Marine Force vertical and amphibious assault team in Cuba, Vietnam, and Okinawa, training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. A decorated Marine Corps Veteran, he has studied Shorin-ryu, Goju, Tae Kwon Do, Chi Lin Quan, and Isshinryu Karate. Master Vitale earned his brown belt in Tae Kwon Do in 1968. Years of perseverance, dedication, and active practice as a first generation Karate-ka in Isshinryu led to attainment of the ranks of Sho-Dan in 1979 and Go-Dan in 1986. Don currently holds the rank of 8th Dan, being promoted in September of 2011 by Ralph Passero, Don Nash, Ernie Temple, Brian Fitzgerald, and other distinguished Isshinryu Masters he is proud and honored to call his friends. He serves as the Head Instructor of Reiki Isshinryu Karate Dojo, serving students in New Jersey, Florida, and Maine. His dojo is founded on the philosophy of promoting the universal life force through the practice of Isshinryu and the healing arts of Reiki, Chi Gung and Zen Shiatsu. Master Vitale credits Walter Van Gilsen and Gary Alexander as prominent influences on his growth and continuing development as a lifelong student of Isshinryu and the martial arts.
During the course of his career journey in the study of the martial arts, Kyoshi Vitale has been duly recognized and awarded by many prestigious Karate-ka, including Grand Master Isaac Henry Jr’s Outstanding Achievement Award, Grand Master Don Nagle’s American Okinawan Karate Association’s Hall of Fame honor, Soke Ed Brown’s Masters, Legends and Pioneers of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Grand Master Gary Alexander’s Lifetime Golden Pioneer, Martial Arts Leadership Award, Hall of Fame Award, and IAMA Award as founder of Reiki Isshinryu Karate Dojo. He acts as the New Jersey Representative for the United States Karate Association. Additionally, he was inducted into the AMAA Hall of Fame in 2005, received the World Karate Union’s Master of the Year and Life Achievement Award in 1997 and has also been acknowledged by Action Martial Arts Magazine with induction into their Hall of Fame, their Outstanding Achievement Award as well as their Good Will Ambassador to the Martial Arts Award in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Master Vitale is honored to serve as a founding, lifetime member, and Trustee of American Isshinryu, Inc. and presently remains very active in the promotion of its mission to promote the legacy of Don Nagle by helping to take Isshinryu to the next level through service and support of the Isshinryu community. He is privileged to sustain and uphold Chief Grand Master Shimbaku’s dream by regularly supporting his esteemed and admired martial arts colleagues as a valued judge, a respected referee, tournament officiant, instructor, and mentor.