Eddie Lynn Johnson was born in Fort Worth, TX, on April 1, 1941. On April 24, 1958, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and entered active duty service in mid-July.
As a Marine, he arrived in Okinawa on December 6, 1959 and started training in Isshin-ryu karate on December 19, 1959. Sensei Johnson trained alongside many Isshin-ryu notables such as Shinsho Shimabuku, Harold Mitchum, Jim Advincula, Sherman Harrill, Clarence Ewing, Tom Lewis, Steve Armstrong, Bill Blond, Ralph Bove, Frank Van Lenten, Don Bohan, and Jake Eckenrode.
Sensei Johnson was a founding member of several Isshin-ryu organizations: Steve Armstrong’s AOKA, Harold Long’s IIKA, and Harold Mitchum’s UIKA.
In 1970, Sensei Johnson returned to Okinawa to train with Master Shimabuku. During that visit of almost three weeks, he reviewed all our empty hand and weapons kata with Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. He also assisted with teaching at Master Shimabuku’s Agena dojo.
After returning home, Sensei Johnson sent a letter to Okinawa. Master Shimabuku did not recognize Sensei Johnson by name, so a response with a picture of himself was sent back to Okinawa. When the picture was received, Master Shimabuku recognized Sensei Johnson. In a return letter to Sensei Johnson, Master Shimabuku said “Eddie karate too much good!” Sensei Johnson returned to Okinawa in 1985 and 2010.
Today, Sensei Johnson lives in Ft. Worth, Texas. He no longer maintains a dojo but continues to teach Isshin-ryu karate and kobudo at his “Old School Isshin-ryu Brotherhood” workouts. The gatherings are held so that Sensei Johnson can continue his passion … teaching his direct students and guests the Isshin-ryu he was taught by his sensei, the founder of Isshin-ryu, Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku.
Sensei Johnson, known as one of the best kept secrets in our style, will celebrate 60 years in Isshin-ryu this December 19, 2019. Sensei Johnson is one of our few remaining first generation students … and of this select group, he is one of a small handful that is still actively teaching Tatsuo Shimabuku’s Isshin-ryu