The Isshinryu Hall Of Fame

All Isshinryu Practitioners Building & Recognizing Master Tatsuo Shimabuku's Vision Together

Michael Schaefer (Inducted 2015)

Michael Schaefer was born on November 10, 1959 in Detroit, Michigan.  In 1972, he moved to Florida with his parents, and in 1974, he began training in the martial arts.  After graduating from high school, he moved to Tampa, Florida in 1978 to attend the University of South Florida.  While a student there, he continued his martial arts training at a Jhoon Rhee school and he graduated in 1982.

After graduating, he returned to Detroit to consider his career goals and continue his martial arts training.  Finding a quality dojo was more difficult than expected.  After visiting over two dozen schools, a future student told his brother that the best instructor in the area was Grand Master Willie Adams.  He began calling every school in the phone book and after a two-month search, he walked into the Detroit Karate Club on Dexter and Davison in Detroit on a hot and humid June day in 1982 and immediately knew this was the dojo meant for him.  There were no windows, air conditioning, or fans; just hard training students with incredible skills.  It was perfect.

Grand Master Adams accepted Mr. Schaefer as a student and he began training every chance he could.  After three months he returned to Florida after finding it difficult to obtain a good job in Detroit.  Upon his return to Florida, Mr. Schaefer realized what an opportunity it was to train under Grand Master Adams and knew he had to return to Detroit.  He decided he would apply to law school and return to Detroit to study law and continue training under Sensei Adams.

In April 1983, Mr. Schaefer returned to Detroit and continued his training at the Detroit Karate Club and in the fall of 1983 he began his studies at the University Of Detroit School Of Law.  He scheduled his law school classes so he could train six days per week; he earned his Sho-Dan degree on April 5, 1986, and the following month graduated from law school.  He passed the bar exam that year and began practicing law and continued his daily training with Sensei Adams.

Sensei Schaefer competed on the tournament circuit through the 1990’s, and in 1994 he opened the Grosse Pointe Karate Club where he taught classes three days per week and continued his training with Sensei Adams.  In July 2009, Sensei Schaefer was promoted to 7th Dan before a Board that consisted of Hall Of Fame inductees Grand Master Harold Mitchum, Grand Master Willie Adams, Grand Master Nick Adler, Grand Master Samuel Santilli, Grand Master Albert Mady, Master Carl Martin, and Master Clyde Dennis.

Sensei Schaefer realizes how fortunate he has been to have had the opportunity to be taught Isshinryu by Grand Master Adams.  He has been introduced to so many great martial artists who have never hesitated to share their knowledge with him.  It is with this experience that Sensei Schaefer teaches his students, and he vows to continue to teach Isshinryu as it has been passed to him.

Sensei Schaefer lives in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI with his wife Mary and two daughters, Natalie and Stephanie.  For the past 26 years he has worked for AAA Michigan as a Senior Trial attorney in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.