Separting Fact from Fiction
By: Deus H. Marchacos, Yondan


First and foremost I want to establish a few facts about Sensei J. Coffman. He began his Martial Arts training on Okinawa under Grand Master Hohan Soken in December of 1961 as a new black belt under Sensei fusei Kise, a Yon-dan rank at the time. Sensei Kise had been an active student of the Grand Master since the early to mid 50's, Jimmy (as known in Okinawa) Coffman was one of Sensei Kise's first American students and was his first American student to be promoted to the rank of Sho-dan (1st degree Black). He continued to train with both instructors, Sensei Kise on a daily basis and bi weekly to bi monthly with Master Soken at the Grand Masters' home dojo.

Because Sensei Coffman spoke Japanese to some extent and Kise spoke English to some extent, Coffman could converse with both of his instructors in their own language. (Interview with Master Soken during first meeting). Sensei Coffman, with the help of others, established the first American run Karate Dojo on Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa in 1960-1961. This was done without deceiving his instructors and was never in a fighting Art to establish, or to start his own style or system of Karate at a later date. This is evident by his own actions for continuing to Honor the rank of 7th dan awarding him by his teachers, back in 1977. He felt then as he continues to feel now, that a sytem takes a life time to learn and master.

Sensei Coffman, continued to train daily until his departure from Okinawa after completing a 3 1/2 year tour of duty. After leaving Okinawa as a Yon-dan (4th degree black belt) with a teachers certificate in hand, he organized his first Karate class at Fort Bragg (Pope AFB) N.C. Durning this time he continued to stay in contact with both of his teachers.

In 1972, Grand Master Soken and Master Kise made their first trip to the States. This was to be the first and only trip for Master Soken; they came to Philadelphia, for the purpose of forming an American Karate Association (OKF), and to renew friendships made with many of their American students. Master Soken became ill and almost immediately both he and Sensei Kise returned to Okinawa; their stay in the States was to be a month or two, instead it was only a week or less.


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