Master Z’s Induction

Master Z’s Induction into the
Isshinryu Hall of Fame

Z and plaque

The school is pleased and proud to announce the induction of the school’s Founder and Chief Instructor, Master Z. Szelap, into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame. This is the most prestigious award that can be given to a Master in the Isshinryu style. Masters inducted annually into the Hall of Fame come from all over the world including Japan, India, and China. Master Z is one of only 134 Masters that have been given this honor in the 60 year existence of Isshinryu. 

Ed, Mr. Z, Szelap’s passion for the Martial Arts commenced in the 1970’s. He had the good fortune to train with notable Masters: White, Adams, Melton, Pittaway, Santilli, Woods, Kersey, Pogue, Sadubrae, Bartley, Advincula, Harrill, Armstrong and Cavalla. Mentioning these men is important, as Mr. Z. says, “You must honor your roots. These men helped me become the martial artist I am.”

His desire to promote Isshinryu as a “Sensei” was fueled by his training and competing in the 70’s thru the 90’s To further his teaching skills, he traveled throughout the country participating in seminars taught by such greats as Lewis, Wallace, Hayes, Demura, Reyes Sr., Rhee, Donnelly, Ross, Oyata and Graden, through the NAAMA and NAPMA organizations. He earned the title: “Certified Instructor of Martial Arts” from the World renowned Cooper’s Institute, certifications by Grand Masters Angi Uezu and Kichiro Shimabuku, and Renchi status from Fusei Kise’s organization, Grand Master of Shorinryu, thru Master Thomas Edwards. He also studied and taught Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, Tai Chi Combat, Krav Maga, Kung Fu and Japanese Sword.

Since opening his dojo in 1992, Mr. Z has received countless IHOF Awards, including Male Instructor, Sensei of Senseis, Outstanding Contribution and Spirit of Isshinryu; most importantly having his dojo, Family Self Defense Center, nominated for Top Isshinryu Dojo for 10 years. His students have amassed hundreds of awards and thousands of tournament wins while always demonstrating good sportsmanship and respect.

Throughout the schools 25 years, Mr. Z has promoted hundreds of Black Belts, currently with 28 actively training and teaching Black Belts ranging in age from 11 to 68. Four of his Black Belts have opened their own satellite schools. The dojo’s Novi, Michigan location has become the “Home of Isshinryu Karate”. With 170 students and 50 private students, the school promotes over 200 kyus per year. Mr. Z developed methods to teach “anyone” no matter the physical capabilities or age. His five movement forms, three bunkai trees and two-person fighting katas have helped achieve this. He freely shares his knowledge with all Instructors. His true desire has been to help disadvantaged youth thru Martial Arts, creating a 501c3 charity, Families in Defense of Youth. The charity’s sole purpose is to provide scholarships for deserving children to participate in karate classes. His work created a “Special Needs” program for young adults.

Students do well because of the instruction and care they receive. He has brought Isshinryu to a family setting, including young children, their mothers and fathers, all learning in an environment that encourages “One Heart, One Way”. Mr. Z‘s dedication to his art shows his desire to see Isshinryu stand strong among all martial arts, today and for decades. As a Sensei his duty is to lead by example and live an honorable life. His school tells the story of a great Instructor, competitive students, and supportive parents. This IS Isshinryu!

Mr. Z, a 7 th Dan, teaches 6 days a week, alongside his wife, Ms. Chris, a 6th Dan. He is the father of 3 grown children. In their free time, Chris and Z enjoy their 3 Classic Cars. Mr. Z sincerely thanks the IHOF Board, and is humbled to be inducted into such a prestigious group of Isshinryu Masters. Many thanks to the “FSDC karate family” for their undying support, hard work and dedication toward the realization that Isshinryu has something for everyone. His message, simply:

“Your personal best is always a win. Be respected WITHOUT ego. Show your ability without bragging, and of utmost importance; always show kindness in all situations first!”

Induction Speech Video