John Roseberry-Shihan started Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan in 1971, and we now have affiliate schools in at least seven different states and two foreign countries. All organization students who test for black belt in Karate do so at Hombu Dojo here in Lincoln, under the authority of Shihan. Over the past forty years, from all these different schools across the world, Shihan has only awarded about three-hundred Shodan certificates (mine is #287). That works out to around seven a year. It seems as though some other places give out that many in a month, at one single school.

My Shodan certificateRoseberry’s is not a black belt factory, we don’t sell our belts. If you’re just interested in buying one, Sensei Dave said he will sell you one for seven dollars and then you can go away and stop wasting his time (but it doesn’t come with authentication). My family and I are the most recent people from Hombu Dojo to achieve Shodan in Karate. That was in 2009, and it will probably be another year or two before anyone else from Lincoln tests for black belt. At eighteen, I believe my daughter is currently the second-youngest person in the entire organization to hold the rank of Shodan in Karate.

I’ve heard it said that the difference between our blacks belts and some “other” black belts is that if you lined up ten of each, only one of theirs would actually be able to fight, and only one of ours wouldn’t ;) All I know is that when it comes to collectibles, the lower the number you have, the more valuable it is. As far as I’m concerned, #287 is priceless.


6 comments on “Priceless

  1. The only thing that puzzles me about the karate classes I've seen at the dojo is that it seems like they never do any free sparring. Do they do it on a specific night or is there some other kind of methodology behind not sparring as much.Maybe it's only because I only see Monday night classes. I know Ken does the sparring classes but I don't think those are only for Karate. Just wondering not doubting the prowess of the Karate guys.

  2. I didn't mean to imply anything, maybe I didn't word my first sentence the best :) I was actually hoping you'd tell me which night they sparred so I could come watch. In my defense I've seen the end of almost every Monday class since April.

  3. Our curriculum is large and varied, and there is no set day or time that we do anything. However, the end of Karate class will often focus on kata, and sparring is done earlier. If I only saw the last twenty minutes of Jiu-Jitsu, I'd think all we ever do is grapple ;)Sparring is not as big of a focus here as in some other schools, because bunkai and kiso (two-man drills) are a big part of what we do, to build muscle memory.However, we do still spar, and whenever it's done in Karate class (as opposed to sparring class) it is never point sparring. Our free sparring incorporates any and all techniques, including takedowns, chokes, armbars, wristlocks, etc. as well as punching and kicking. The first time someone ever took me down and mounted me, it was when I was sparring Sensei Brad on the Karate floor.

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