Maryville Isshin-Ryu

Maryville Isshin-Ryu is the oldest dojo in Blount County, serving the community and teaching the art of Isshin-Ryu karate.

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the passing of Master Shimabuku.

We find significance in this day when we reflect on the gifts that he passed on to us.

Master Shimabuku created a unique system based on simplicity, which we can learn with grit, in the simplest of dojos.

As we advance in our training we increasingly learn to apply the principles of Isshin-Ryu into the challenges of our daily lives.

Thank you Master Shimabuku for giving us something that we can not repay. The dream lives on.

Maryville Isshin-Ryu is excited to reopen at 7pm on Monday June 1st. It is a great time to continue or start training, especially if you need to lose some Covid weight or burn off some stress.

We will be practicing social distancing and look forward to seeing everyone on Monday!

Until we can meet together again, keep in mind that you don't need to be at the dojo to practice.

[03/23/20]   Maryville Isshin-Ryu Karate Classes will remain closed through at least April 3rd.

[03/22/20]   Students and friends, we would like to share an insightful message from Master Shamblin. We hope you are continuing to train, mentally and physically, during these challenging times.

To our Isshinryu Family,

I watched an interesting video on You-Tube yesterday. It concerned the Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ) response to the Corona virus (COVID-19). It was interesting to see the many ways that our martial arts communities are handling this situation. My hat was off to the BJJ group. Their responses were honest and for the most part, responsible. Most of the instructors were saying that they were going to close their schools during this time, while a few others planned on business as usual, but with as much precautionary methods in place as possible.

However, what caught my attention was a comment made by one of the instructors who said that, BJJ is all about close body contact in training, and that he felt that during this time, it was just too risky to do. In essence, it is very difficult to practice BJJ without another person. That is true. There are many things that BJJ practitioners can do by themselves that can be of great benefit, but without being able to roll with someone, it limits their individual practice options considerably. BJJ groups and martial arts that include striking can still work solo on heavy bags, target work etc., if they have access to them, but standard BJJ training which revolves around primarily grappling on the mat, may need to be limited or altered for a while.

In any event, in karate, we have much of the same problem as our BJJ brothers and sisters. Some of our dojo may have to be closed for a period of time or classes altered to fit the circumstances. Like our BJJ friends, we need to spar. We need practice with live opponents in order to ultimately perfect our skills. However, unlike our friends, we have a tool available to us that we have had all along, and its very nature is designed for times such as this – kata.

During this season of uncertainty and change to our daily lives, I would like to encourage all of our members to look for ways in which we can benefit. In order to strengthen our auto-immune systems, any exercise that you can do right now is helpful. For us in Isshinryu, the physical benefits can coincide with a golden opportunity to laser focus on one of the most important fundamental elements of our art, the kata. If your dojo is closed for a while, and you can’t attend classes, you can still practice your kata at home. You can practice them a lot! You can break the movements down and work on individual parts, concentrating on form, breathing, kiai, placement of technique, eye focus, speed, power – the list can go on and on – with the point being, you have a plethora of material that you can work on, and the beauty is, you can do it on your own.

Not everyone likes kata. I understand that. If kata tends to bore you, then get creative in the ways that you practice them. There is great benefit in that challenge. Here are only a few ideas for your consideration. These are for fun, but I hope that they will lead to a deeper appreciation for more serious kata study.
1) Practice your kata in slow, slow motion. Then practice it as fast as you can go. Alternate back and forth, slow and then fast, for 10 to 20 minutes non-stop.
2) Practice your kata blindfolded. Try to start and stop on the same spot, and facing in the EXACT same direction. (Easier said than done.)
3) Practice your kata outside on un-even ground. Practice your kata outside on un-even ground BLINDFOLDED. (Important safety tip: Don’t do this near a tree or the road.)
4) Practice your kata full speed in regular street clothes. (If you don’t do this, you should. It is a game changer.)
5) Practice Seisan kata with obstacles on the floor that you have to navigate around. (You can come over to my house. My garage is perfect!)
6) Practice Seiunchin kata (with shoes) outside on a loose, gravel road. (Find your balance.)
7) Practice Naihanchi kata in a narrow hall-way.
😎 Practice Wansu with an emphasis on the throw. If you have a heavy bag, take it down and prop it up. Perform the kata and when you get to the throw, toss the heavy bag. This is GREAT training!
9) Practice Chinto kata on a stairway.
10) Practice Kusanku outside at night.
11) Practice Sunsu with distraction. Have your little brother or sister, husband, wife or kids, try their best to distract you in any way that they can. See if you can complete the kata without losing your concentration.
12) Practice Sanchin kata three times a day; in the morning, around noon, and before 7:00 pm in the evening (not later) for a week. Every day. Faithfully. Then, notice how you feel. I think you will be surprised.
13) Have someone video your kata performance, and then study it. Look for specific things that you can improve upon. It can be humbling, but you’ll learn a great deal.
14) Or, any of a million other ideas. Come up with your own unique kata drills.
15) Don’t forget your weapons practice (kobudo). What can you do with them?

Sometimes we hear criticism of the practicality of kata. That is okay. You don’t have to practice kata to be a great fighter. At the same time, because you practice kata, it does not mean that you can’t be a great fighter. Kata gives you another tool in your tool-box; one more way to train your mind and your body – not just for fighting, but also for life. In the event that you cannot train regularly with other people, which may be the case for many of us now, know that we have a tried and true, built in training method that has worked well for a long time. This season will pass. My hope is that once it does, we will understand the value of the things that really matter – a “return to basics” if you will. Isn’t it funny? Our karate ancestors seemed to understand this all along.

William Scott Shamblin
Member, I.I.K.A Board of Directors

Important news from Parks & Rec regarding COVID-19: Springbrook Recreation Center will be closed until further notice. Karate classes will not meet. Each of us are encouraged to train at home.

[03/16/20]   No Maryville Isshin-Ryu classes will be held this week.

[02/06/20]   Students and instructors, please be advised the dojo will be closed this evening (February 6, 2020), due to area flooding and potentially hazardous road conditions.

Please stay safe. Turn around, don’t drown!

[02/02/20]   Curious. What was the last kata you practiced outside the dojo? 🤔

Classes begin in 2020 on Monday January 6th. Our weekly kids class begins Wednesday January 8th.

Both classes begin at 7pm and are taught at the Alcoa Springbrook Center. No appointment is necessary and there are no contracts.

We look forward to seeing you in the new year! Make it Happen!

Merry Christmas from Maryville Isshin-Ryu!

Happy Thanksgiving, from your friends at Maryville Isshin-Ryu!

Thank you to all our veterans on Veterans Day. Freedom isn’t free, and we appreciate your sacrifice.

The Springbrook Center will be closed during the week of October 14 thru October 18th, for annual maintenance.

Our dojo will not have classes during this time. Enjoy the break, and we will see you for regularly scheduled classes next week.

Best place in town to learn how to kick!

Maryville Isshin Ryu wishes you a happy, relaxing and safe Labor Day.

The dojo will be closed on Labor Day and will reopen for the Wednesday kids class at 7pm. We look forward to seeing you then!

Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks & Recreation Commission

Adult and youth karate classes with Maryville Isshin-Ryu at Springbrook Recreation Center are on-going with the opportunity for new students to join anytime. Visit our website,, or check out their page for more info on how to join!


Photos from Maryville Isshin-Ryu's post

Here’s what was up in class tonight.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day, from Maryville Isshin-Ryu!


[06/23/19]   Thank you to Sensei Doug Headrick for visiting our dojo last week. Mr. Headrick gave his time generously and shared his extensive knowledge of Isshin-Ryu bunkai and ground fighting techniques.

We look forward to training together in the future!


Mushin means "No mind" and is achieved when a person’s mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, ego or emotions during combat or everyday life. That means that a person is totally free to act and react towards an opponent without hesitation, and without disturbance from such thoughts.

Class was busy, fun and productive tonight. Students worked on the heavy bag, practiced katas and did kumite with the black belts.

Congratulations to Peyton on his promotion to yellow belt!

Meningitis Now


This is Maisie Catt, she contracted meningitis as a baby and as a result her legs were amputated...Here she is showing off her amazing moves in front of the World Taekwondo President Choue Chung 🧡 What an inspiration you are ✨@CattMaisie

The dream lives on.

New York Karate Dojo - Medford, NY

Training is for everyone.

You’re never too old to start training!!! No excuses!!!

The dojo will be closed Monday May 27th in honor of Memorial Day.

Our Wednesday kids class and Thursday adult class will be held as normal, beginning at 7pm.

In honor of Madison’s graduation, there will no adult class tonight.

Congratulations Madison! 🎓

The adult class will resume Thursday at 7:00 pm.

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1537 Dalton St
Alcoa, TN

Opening Hours

Monday 19:00 - 20:30
Wednesday 19:00 - 20:30
Thursday 19:00 - 20:30
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