Wah Dojo and Kyokushin Karate
Sosai Mas Oyama
At the age of 9, Mas Oyama began studying Southern Chinese Kempo under the tutelage of Mr Yi, an employee on his father’s farm. Then at the age of 15 he moved to Japan where he joined the Yamanashi Youth Air Force Academy and then the Imperial Japanese Army.
Later the same year, he became the student of Gichin Funakoshi and by 1941 aged 18, he was already a second Dan black belt, progressing to fourth Dan before he was 21.
Oyama would always refer to Funakoshi as his true karate teacher and would later state that of all the things he learned from the founder of the Shotokan system, kata was the most important.
After the end of World War Two, Oyama began to train under fellow Korean Nei-Chu So, an exponent of the Goju Ryu style and one of Gogen The Cat Yamaguchi’s best students. He also took up Judo at this time and within four years was a fourth degree black belt in the discipline.
n 1952, he travelled the United States for a year, demonstrating his karate live and on national television. During subsequent years, he took on all challengers, resulting in fights with 270 different people. The vast majority of these were defeated with one punch! A fight never lasted more than three minutes, and most rarely lasted more than a few seconds. His fighting principle was simple — if he got through to you, that was it.
If he hit you, you broke. If you blocked a rib punch, you arm was broken or dislocated. If you didn't block, your rib was broken. He became known as the Godhand, a living manifestation of the Japanese warriors' maxim Ichi geki, Hissatsu or "One strike, certain death". To him, this was the true aim of technique in karate. The fancy footwork and intricate techniques were secondary (though he was also known for the power of his head kicks).
These life and death struggles brought notoriety to Oyama. Oyama used this notoriety to help establish his Kyokushin organization. Oyama's reputation grew with each bullfight and each challenge match, as he defeated wrestlers, boxers and judo stylists alike in no-holds-barred bouts. He was an equal-opportunity fighter, taking on any man from any combat system who wished to challenge him. For nearly fifty years, fifteen million plus members of Oyama's worldwide Kyokushin Karate organization witnessed this man's incredible feats. Whether from the power of his strikes, the strength of his handshake, his remarkable teachings or through the teachings of the instructors and branch chiefs that Oyama produced, everyone associated with him knew that this esoteric name was not inappropriate.
Oyama was a living legend until he passed away April 26, 1994, at the age of 71 from cancer. A battle against an opponent he couldn't beat with his hands and feet.
His death was met with sadness in not only kyokushin circles, but the rest of the martial arts community as well.
Hanshi Don Buck
Don Buck met Mas Oyama in the mid 1950’s. Hanshi Buck was one of the first non-orientals to instruct the Kyokushinkai style of Karate and he received his 4th Dan on September 8, 1960.
One of the first requirements for Black Belt required Hanshi Buck to do the 100 man kumite. Not to just fight 100 men but he had to win 100 matches. Which he did. Mas Oyama would take Hanshi Buck to different dojos and do challenge matches. Some of the workouts were 4 to 6 hours long and very physical, but that was exactly what Don liked.
Mas Oyama and Hanshi Buck would be sparring and, as Oyama would say, “you do not hit hard enough,” and Hanshi Buck would blast him and say with a laugh, “how was that,” and Mas Oyama would say “Osu”! This was their fun.
Hanshi Buck’s first school opened as Oyama’s Karate in 1957. It was the first Kyokushin Dojo opened in the Continental United States. Years later he changed the dojo name to the School of the Tiger in San Francisco, CA. Hanshi Buck opened many schools in the years that followed. His schools were opened mainly on military bases all over the San Francisco bay area. He wanted military people and their families to be able to train.
Hanshi Buck had schools in the Alameda, Benicia, Treasure Island, Lafayette and Concord where he personally taught classes. His largest school was at Little "C "Athletic club in
Concord CA. Little "C" Athletic club was a club where kids could train in Karate, Judo, Boxing , Wrestling Handball and Weightlifting.
Hanshi Donald Buck was promoted to 7th Dan (Shichidan) and International Kyokushin Organization Branch Chief of the United States in 1989 by Sosai Mas Oyama. He was the last Appointed representative for the United States. Hanshi Buck also founded the American Kyokushin Karate Organization (AKKO).
Don Buck was a San Francisco police officer and used his martial arts to assist him in making arrests and he often worked the paddy wagon by himself.
Don Buck was born on September 2, 1926 in San Jose, California. He passed away September 11, 1998 in his home in Benicia.
Hanshi Gary White
Hanshi Gary White began studying Taekwondo in Buffalo New York at the age of 14. Upon moving to California in 1970, and after seeking out Hanshi Don Buck, Gary began studying Kyokushin, training with both Don Buck and Mas Oyama, quickly moving up through the ranks, and being awarded his first black belt in 1975.
In conjunction with his Kyokushin training, Hanshi White also studied Kung Fu with Mariette & Hanshi Buck in the late 70s and early 80s.
Throughout the years, Hanshi White has coordinated many karate wilderness retreats, taken select students to Southern California for the North/South tournaments as well as numerous local tournaments throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley.
Hanshi White was the Chairperson, Taekwondo for eight years and Vice Chairperson for four years – Pacific Association of the Amateur Athletic Union.
During his martial arts career, Hanshi White has taught at Hamilton Airforce Base in Novato California, Treasure Island in San Francisco, Lafayette, CA at Marriette Bucks school, Hanshi Buck’s public school in San Rafael, Alameda Naval Air Station in Alameda and Mare Island in Vallejo before joining us at Wah Dojo in Pleasant Hill.
Shihan Tyrone Wah
Shiahn Wah started his Kyokushin Karate training in Concord, CA, at Little "C" Athletic Club with Hanshi Don Buck and Alice Aguchi at the age of 11. Shihan Wah's training was in Kyokushin Karate, Judo and Aiki JiuJitsu.
Shihan Wah also trained at Hanshi Bucks house in Benicia, CA on the weekends. Shihan Wah was an avid competitor in the AAU Regional and National Tournaments in Karate and Judo. Shihan Wah was Moved up to the adult division for AAU Tournaments at the age of 17 . He was also the youngest team member in the Legendary Kyokushin North / South Tournaments at the age of 14 .
Shihan Wah started as an assistant instructor for Hanshi Don Buck and would teach classes in Hanshi Don Bucks absence. Hanshi Don Buck appointed Shihan Wah to teaching his own class in Moraga, CA (1989) and a few years after that, Shihan Wah opened up another class in Martinez CA.
Shihan Wah took over classes in Concord, CA for Hanshi Buck and in 1994 Shihan Wah combined the Moraga, Martinez and Concord classes to one location, Wah Dojo - Kyokushin Karate in Pleasant Hill, CA. Wah Dojo was the first commercial dojo opened under Hanshi Don Buck and the AKKO since the mid 80s.
Shihan Wah has coached and trained students participating in local point sparring tournaments like GSKA and CKL, AAU Regional and National traditional karate tournaments, AAU Jr. Olympics and full contact bare knuckle style Kyokushin Karate tournaments.
Shihan Wah continues the teachings of Sosai Oyama and Hanshi Buck. Many of Shiahn's students have gone on to be competitive in karate tournaments, both full and non-contact. Some have opened their own dojos and some have even gone on to make their way to the silver screen.
Wah Dojo Senior Instructors
Sensei Harry Wilson
Sensei Wilson Started his Martial Arts training in 1960. Sensei Wilson started his Kyokushin Training with Shihan Bobby Lowe in Hawaii. After briefly training in Kyokushin Sensei Wilson trained in Goju-Ryu Karate and earned a brown belt.
Shihan Wilson also trained in Kajukenbo with Professor Emileo Bautista. Sensei Wilson's brother and sister are high ranking Black Belts under Professor Bautista. Sensei Wilson has a Shodan in Okinawan Kobudo Weapons under Shihan Mikio Nishiuchi.
Sensei Wilson returned to Kyokushin and trained with Sensei Jerry Grove (another of Hanshi Buck's Black Belt students). Sensei Wilson earned his Shodan in 1991 and his Nidan in 1995. Sensei Wilson came to Wah Dojo after Sensei Grove closed his Dojo in 1995.
Since coming to Wah Dojo, Sensei Wilson has been a driving force in adding new forms and Kobudo weapon Katas to the Dojo. Sensei Wilson is currently a Rokudan (6th Dan).
Sensei Justin Luo
Sensei Luo started his martial arts training in Kyokushin Karate with Shihan Wah in 1991 at the age of 11. He earned his Jr. Shodan at the age of 13 and was awarded his full Shodan when he turned 16 in 1996.
When Sensei Luo went to college, he started a Kyokushin Karate Club class at UC Irvine. He ran that club for three years then returned to WahDojo. He's also trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Small Circle Jiu Jitsu and Judo. He has competed in non-contact point style tournaments and full-contact Kyokushin style tournaments, taking a third place at the World Oyama Tournament (SF).
Sensei Luo likes to visit other Dojos, near and far, to expand his view and knowledge of Martial Arts.
Sensei Luo is currently a Yondan (4th Dan) and teaches adult classes twice a week. Sensei Justin likes to focus his classes on physical fitness, body conditioning and Kumite (fighting).
Sensei Bob Guelld
Sensei Guelld started his Martial Arts training in 1988. Sensei Guelld started his Kyokushin training with Sensei Jerry Grove (another of Hanshi Buck’s Black Belt students). Sensei Guelld also trained under Sensei Harry Wilsons guidance in Kyokushin and was introduced to Okinawan Kobudo Weapons at Sensei Groves Dojo.
Sensei Guelld came to the Wah Dojo in 1994 after Sensei Grove’s Dojo closed, Sensei Guelld continued his Kyokushin training under Shihan Wah and Sensei Wilson. Sensei Guelld received his Shodan in 1994. Sensei Guelld is currently a Yondan.
Sensei Guelld continues his training of Okinawan Kobudo under Shihan Mikio Nishiuchi and his organization International Okinawa Kobudo Association in 2004. Shihan Nishiuchi studied Kobudo directly from Hanshi Shimpo Matayoshi and Kaicho Kinjo Takashi, under Hanshi Matayoshi’s organization, Zen Okinawa Kobudo Renmei, In Naha, Okinawa. Sensei Guelld is a Nidan in Okinawan Kobudo under Shihan Nishiuchi.
Sensei Philip Lappin
Sensei Lappin began his Martial Arts journey in Massachusetts at the young age of ten while living on the East Coast. His training included Judo (2 yrs), Kung Fu (1 yr) and Karate (1 yr). After moving to California, Sensei Lappin trained in Uechi-Ryu Karate (1 yr).
Sensei Lappin began his training with Shihan Wah at Wahdojo in 1998 and is currently Sandan (3rd Dan). Sensei Lappin focuses the students training on the fine points of Kata so students can take their kata to the next level. Sensei Philip's son Matthew is also a Shodan at WahDojo.
Sensei Shinta Susanty
Sensei Susanty started her journey of Kyokushin Karate in Indonesia and trained from 1978-1981. She achieved her 3rd Kyu (brown belt).
Sensei Susanty moved to the US in 1983. In 2009, Sensei Susanty decided to continue her Kyokushin journey and started training with her three children at Wah Dojo.
Sensei Susanty received her Shodan (Black Belt) in 2019. Sensei Susanty is a very dedicated student. As an instructor, Sensei Shinta likes to focus students on mastering the fundamentals of basic techniques. She enjoys working with the younger students, helping them learn the Kyokushin Way. We are very blessed to have her and her family as part of our Dojo.