Jason Armstrong, a Shito-ryu Karate Biography
Shihan Jason Armstrong, Ph.D. and 7th Dan, has lived in Japan as an uchi deshi (live in student) with a shito-ryu karate instructor. In his early karate years he placed at national and international kumite & kata events in Australian championships, Pacific championships, US championships (kumite only) and in Japan. His last 15 years of karate have been more focused on bunkai & street fighting statistics and how that intersects with traditional shito-ryu.
Jason has competed in a full contact mixed martial art event inside Japan and paid his way through college by working as a bouncer in the 2nd half of the 1980s. Today, he cross-trains with BJJ once a week to explore karate theories and the MMA world and has authored 4 books on karate, including a novel textbook on evidence based practice (EBP) for martial arts, Fighting Statistics & Karate Technique Selection & Medical Outcomes.
Jason lived in two locations while in Japan, Himeji and Tokyo. While living in Himeji his training was focused across four Renbukan dojo which is a style of the Tani (Shukokai) shito-ryu lineage with blended Mabuni attributes through is head in that era, Sotokawa sensei. Jason also visited dojo of other styles in the Kyoto region regularly & he has nurtured his karate with direct Mabuni shito-ryu (Seito Shito-ryu & learnings from Sotokawa sensei). During his stint living in Tokyo, he taught shito-ryu at a gymnasium dojo local to Ueno Park ,and cross-trained with such dojo as Kyokushin Roppongi and Seto Sensei's dojo of the JKA (Shotokan). Jason received his rokudan (6th dan) in 2007 and also a Shihan title in 2007. In 2014 he was requested to physically test and received a 7th Dan from a panel lead by Hanshi John Sells (8th Dan awarded by Mabuni family).
His martial arts training began with Judo and he quickly switched to karate with the style Renbukan (a shukokai/Tani line derivative of karate), he recieved Shodan from Sensei Greg Story (a now almost lifetime resident of Japan who recived 5th Dan there in 1985). Jason also studied directly with Iba sensei & Sotokawa sensei of the Renbukan style in Himeji Japan. All-in-all, Jason spent 17 continuous years in the Renbukan system with dojo(s) in Australia, the USA and Japan. During most of that time the head of Renbukan was Sotokawa sensei, from whom Jason received direct training.
In 1997 Jason established a Traditional Japanese Karate Network to allow cross-training and support for his students testing for Dan ranks. This group consisted of supporting sensei across the styles of Shito-ryu, Goju & Shotokan. That network exists today and remains as not a style, or single badged organization, but as a linked group of different dojo who network through belts tests, camps and cross-teaching. The website www.Downloadkarate.com acts as a repository of information on traditional karate for the network and as a communication/resource hub for karate-ka of any organization.
Jason has undergone Dan tests and had significant developmental influences from the following sensei in particular:
Left: Hanshi Sells, 8th Dan and Jason Armstrong at the Santa Barbara dojo in California 2006.
Left: Jason's instructor Sensei Young (visiting from the USA) at a bow-in at Jason's full-time dojo on Australia's Sunshine Coast in 2005. Jason opened this dojo on returning to Australia after 12 years aboard.
Jason obtained a doctorate in studies on the medical effects of spaceflight while involved in payloads on space shuttle (through a NASA Center for the Commercial Development of Space) and has a Master’s degree in Electrophysiology. He currently has a adjunct Associate Professor title with the University embedded Australian Insititute of Biotechnology & Nanotechnology.