Sensei Wesley Nakamoto
Sensei Wesley Nakamoto was born in Honolulu in 1951. He began his martial arts journey first studying Aikido in his youth from 1963 to 1968 under Sensei’s Koa Kimura and Donald Moriyama in Pearl City. In late 1970, Sensei Wes became interested in learning karate and briefly began training in Shotokan Karate-Do under renowned Sensei Kenneth Funakoshi at his Karate Association of Hawaii (KAH) Pearl City Dojo. However, he discontinued his training shortly after to focus on his studies at the University of Hawaii (UH). Inspired by seeing his close friend Peter Yuh progressing in karate at the highly competitive KAH UH Dojo, he decided to resume his training in the Fall of 1971. Sensei Wes quickly advanced to the rank of brown belt in less than a year. By May of 1974, he was promoted to Shodan, and also received his college degree, a commission as an officer in the US Air Force and got married all within a span of one month. Sensei Wes went on to spend a tour at Vandenberg Air Force Base where he was an assistant instructor under Sensei F. Anderson in Lompoc, California, and also taught airmen in his own classes on base. Upon returning to Hawaii, he trained and taught under Sensei’s Ed Fujiwara and Kenneth Funakoshi at the KAH Mililani Dojo throughout much of the 1980’s. By 1988, he was assisting with instruction at the Japan Karate Association Hawaii Waiau Dojo along with his friend, Sensei Paul Imada. Together in 1992, they co-founded the Shotokan Karate Center (SKC). From 1992-2001, Sensei Wes served as President and Assistant Chief Instructor of the SKC. During this time, he also studied Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu kobudo under Sensei’s William Rabacal and Burt Kajitani, and learned Filipino Escrima from Ed Aranita. In 2001, Sensei Wes established the New Hope Pearl Community Karate Ministry, which today is known as Hawaii Shotokan (HIS) Karate-Do Foundation. Over the last several years, he has practiced Yang Tai Chi Chuan under Sifu Calvin Ching, top disciple of the late Sifu Andrew Lum, master of Tai Chi Chuan and Tao Ga Kung Fu. For Sensei Wes, learning the martial arts has truly been a life-long journey.
Sensei Peter Yuh, Jr.
Assistant Chief Instructor
Sensei Peter Yuh, Jr. began his training in Shotokan Karate in Dec 1970 with the Karate Association of Hawaii (KAH), which at the time was headed by the renowned Shotokan Master Kenneth Funakoshi. He quickly rose through the KAH ranks while training at the highly competitive University of Hawaii (UH) Dojo. His UH Karate-Kai peers recognized him for his dedication and hard work, electing him as the University Karate-Kai President in early 1973. Later that year he was promoted to Shodan. In the Fall of 1974, Sensei Peter entered the Air Force and was assigned to Kincheloe Air Force Base, Michigan. While there, he established the Kincheloe Karate Club, sharing his knowledge in Karate with many dozens of students until the base closed in late 1977. In the late 1970’s while stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, Sensei Peter briefly practiced Wado-Ryu with Master Mikio Nishiuchi. Upon returning to Hawaii in 1981, he resumed his training at KAH and the Japan Karate Association under Sensei’s Funakoshi and Ed Fujiwara. He continued to expand his knowledge over the years working and training with various sensei’s and had the great honor of participating in seminars conducted by some of the greatest Shotokan Masters including Masatoshi Nakayama, Hirokazu Kanazawa, and Tetsuhiko Asai. In 2004, Sensei Peter joined Sensei Wes, a lifetime friend who first encouraged Sensei Peter’s venture into Karate back in 1970, to help him with his New Hope Pearl Community (NHPC) Shotokan Karate ministry. He has continued to assist Sensei Wes in the teachings of Karate through NHPC’s transition to the Hawaii Shotokan (HIS) Karate-Do Foundation.
Sensei Wayne Tanaka
Sensei Wayne Tanaka has over 50 years of experience in martial arts beginning with his training in judo as a youth in the 1960’s. In 1969, he began training in Shotokan Karate with the University of Hawaii Karate-Kai, which was a dojo of the Karate Association of Hawaii (KAH) and under the direction of renowned Shotokan Karate-Do master Kenneth Funakoshi. Sensei Wayne quickly honed his skills through extreme hard work and dedication, enduring Sensei Funakoshi’s grueling special training classes, held late at night at the former main KAH dojo at Puck’s Alley. He earned his black belt in 1972 and later went on to open and teach at KAH dojos in Hawaii and on the West Coast of the United States. Over the years, Sensei Wayne has trained and taught with many well-known local Sensei’s and martial arts organizations. In addition to sharing his knowledge of Karate with the HIS Karate-do Foundation group, Sensei Wayne is also a long-time instructor for the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association-Hawaii and the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation Hawaii. Sensei Wayne additionally gives Karate seminars at dojos on Maui and in Las Vegas several times a year. He is a member of the Hawaii Martial Arts Group, consisting of Sensei’s from different Karate styles and organizations. He is also a long-time friend, classmate, and fellow karateka with Sensei’s Wes and Peter.
Sensei Allen Wakai
Sensei Allen Wakai has a long history of training in martial arts dating back to 1956 when he first started taking judo lessons as an active young boy growing up in Hilo, Hawaii. While in high school, Sensei Allen became fascinated with the martial art of karate and began training in Shotokan Karate-Do at a small dojo in Hilo in 1966. Much of his training was directly under local martial arts master Jonathan Tani, who was the United States National Collegiate Karate Champion in 1967; and under the direction of world-renowned karate master Tetsuhiko Asai, who at that time was a Japan Karate Association (JKA) champion sent to Hawaii to oversee the organization’s teachings in the Hawaiian Islands. Sensei Allen continued his training in Shotokan with JKA Hawaii while attending the University of Hawaii in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Sensei Allen moved to Japan in 1982 and trained for two years in the early 1990’s at a highly competitive JKA dojo in Kamagata, Japan. Although considered “old” for competing in tournaments at age 40, Sensei Allen won a Bronze medal in kumite at an All-Japan Championship Tournament. Sensei Allen continually strived to expand his knowledge in karate spending a number of years training and teaching karate with various local karate sensei and organizations, including well-known local Sensei’s George Sasano and Ed Fujiwara, and the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation Hawaii. He also participated in seminars conducted by some of the greatest Shotokan Masters including Masatoshi Nakayama and Hirokazu Kanazawa.