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Okinawan Karate Clubs

8830 Currie Rd.   Northville, MI 48168 


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Michigan Karate History

Kenneth Pittaway

pittaway-lowres011Kenneth Pittaway was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and moved to New Jersey after graduating high school in 1960. It was here that he met Don Nagle. Pittaway was immediately drawn to the martial arts. Noteable personalities in the school at the time included Gary Alexander (then a brown belt), James Chapman, Robert Murphy, Don Bohan (a Marine, and part-time student), and Ed Doyle (now a 9th Degree Goju Ryu)

After three years of extensive study, Dr. Pittaway returned to his home town and opened the first karate school in Michigan on 7 mile Rd. in Detroit. This dojo remained open and teaching Isshinryu until 2004.

bobwhite_noxonIn 1965, Dr. Pittaway met Doug Noxon, a Sho Dan from Chicago and student of James Chapman. Pittaway and Noxon became good friends Dr. Pittaway asked Noxon to join him in running the Isshinryu schools that Dr. Pittaway had started. Pittaway was a Ni Dan and Noxon a Sho Dan. Pittaway and Noxon schools gained a reputation second to none. The schools were patterned after the New Jersey dojo where Pittaway had earned his black belt. Angi Uezu, representing Grand Master Shimbaulku, visited Dr. Pittaway's school and gave official recognition and satisfaction with the spirit and curriculum within the school. After a two week visit, Pittaway was promoted to his 5th Degree Black Belt with the title of Renchi Go. The first Black Belt granted at the school went to Willie Adams. Following Adams were notable black belts: William Pogue, Norbert Donnelly, Tyrone Melton, and Robert White. Pittaway sold the schools, which at the time consisted of two commercial schools, a Windsor Ontario YMCA, and a Madison Heights Michigan YMCA, to pursue a dream for which he later earned a doctorate.

Isshinryu was introduced to Canada by Pittaway and Noxon. Norbert Donnelly had his own school in Waterford, MI.

Although not openly teaching at any one dojo since leaving his school, Dr. Pittaway has continued to study and train martial arts; exploring different styles and approaches along the way.

After establishing a state licensed complimentary medical school clinic, he returned to his first love: the martial arts.  He currently is the chief instructor of the Okinawa Karate Club

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