Sensei Steve Pohle started karate practice in 1972. He is an ISKF certified “A” rank Instructor, Examiner and Judge*, as well as a member of the ISKF Technical Committee. He has been teaching in Hampton Roads since 1981, first at the YMCA, later moving to Warwick Village. Mr. Pohle holds the rank of Hachidan (8th degree).
Pohle Sensei moved from Ohio to Hampton Roads in 1981, starting his club at the YMCA having not found a Shotokan club in the area. Ever since, he has actively trained and taught in the ISKF, setting an example of “Shoshi ni kaeru” ( retaining the mindset of a beginner), at all times as he progressed in rank and certification. He continues to attend trainings with other instructors whenever possible, and often returns with new drills and concepts to his own dojo.
Pohle Sensei counts half a dozen active instructor trainees and several certified instructors among his students. He is active in the collegiate organizations, ECCKU and NCKA, which provide any collegiate Shotokan student access to training and tournament participation regardless of affiliation (or not) with a Shotokan school.
Sempai Guy Via has been training since youth. He holds Godan – (5th degree) and is an ISKF licensed instructor. He has been teaching at SKHR for over a decade and is a popular instructor, tournament judge and collegiate karate mentor. He is also a licensed Judge (Class C). Mr. Via graduated from William and Mary, where he also trained in Shotokan karate and participated in the collegiate organizations.
Sempai Johnny Miller is ranked Godan and has been training with Mr. Pohle since 2005, when he returned to Hampton Roads from New York as a Shodan (1st degree). Johnny is the Sensei (head instructor) at the Smithfield YMCA in addition to teaching Monday nights in the dojo. Mr. Miller is a professional percussionist and graduate of the Berklee School of Music.
Sempai Kevin Dorst began training at age 5. He is ranked Yondan (4th Degree) and has also been an Instructor for over a decade. Mr. Dorst is active on the collegiate karate circuit as an instructor and also as a judge.
Sempai Melissa McDowell began training in 1987, in Maryland. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland – College Park. After moving to Virginia, she began Shotokan practice in 2005. She is ranked Yondan, is a licensed ISKF instructor and a Class C judge.
*ISKF certified instructors, (sensei) teach classes and mentor students. Examiners are instructors who are qualified to test and promote students. A judge acts as referee at sanctioned competitions. Each qualification rank confers additional privileges and responsibilities to the license holder.