MN instructors along with Shihan Fumio Demura. From left to right, Richmond McCluer,
Dave Evenson, Shihan Demura, Fritz Speck, Bob Plughoeft and Nick Duchateau.
Shihan Fumio Demura
Shihan Fumio Demura is Chief Instructor and President of Japan Karate-do
Genbu-Kai International of which the Japan Karate-do Genbu-Kai is a
member. Shihan Demura visits Minnesota annually to teach seminars and to
insure the Minnesota program meets his standards.
Shihan Demura is one of the world's best known and respected martial artists.
He won the All-Japan Championship in 1961 and came to the USA in 1965.
He was chosen to Black Belt Magazine's Hall of Fame as Karate Instructor of
the Year and Martial Artist of the year. As Chief Instructor for the
Japan Karate-do Genbu-Kai International he has over 25,000 students in more
than 30 countries. He was chosen the National Association of Professional
Martial Artists Man of the Year in 2000, and was promoted to 9th Dan in
Shihan Demura is often considered the role model for Mr. Miyagi in the
Karate Kid series of movies, where he performed as stunt double for Pat
Morita in playing that role. He has also performed in Rising Sun and the
Island of Doctor Moreau.
Don Zarlenga founded Demura-ha karate in Minnesota in 1972 while
teaching at the College of Saint Teresa. Dr. Zarlenga began
training in karate under Dan Ivan in 1961 and continued training
and teaching when Fumio Demura became chief insrtuctor for that
group. He developed a reputation as a strong dojo fighter.
While doing work towards advanced degrees in physics, he did
research on the bio-mechanics of karate techniques. He left
Minnesota in 1974 but his legacy remains. Dr. Zarlenga passed away in 2014.
Fritz Speck began training in karate in 1972. He received his shodan (1st
degree) black belt in 1974, his nidan (2nd degree) in 1985 and his
rokudan (6th degree)in 2016. He received his nidan in Toyama Ryu
Batto-Do (Japanese sword art) in 2016. He received Yondan (4th degree) in
Okinawan Kobudo in 2016. He was inducted into the Masters Hall
of Fame in 2000, and received a special Humanitarian Award in the induction
ceremony in Newport Beach, CA. In 2009, he was indcuated into the
Shito Ryu Karate-do Genbu-kai Hall of Fame in 2009. From 1975-1980 he was
the co-founder and co-owner of the first commercial karate school in Winona. From 1980 to 1992 he
taught karate at the Winona YWCA and St. Mary’s University. In 1992 he founded
the Winona Family YMCA youth karate program, and taught in that program until
2001. From 1995 to 2000, he taught advanced classes and weapons classes at the
Japan Karate Federation karate school in Winona. He currently teaches adult and
junior karate and weapons at the corporation'’s full time school and is co-instructor
at the Winona Family YMCA Karate program. . Mr. Speck is the
Minnesota State representative of Japan Karate-Do International, and is the
Senior Instructor for Minnesota Genbu-Kai. Japan Karate-Do Genbu-Kai
International certifies him as an Instructor.
Richmond McCluer began studying karate in 1972 with Japan Karate-Do Genbu-Kai. From
1976-77 he was a special student of the organization’s head, Sensei Fumio
Demura, and resided in the organization’s headquarters in Orange County, CA.
He also studied Okinawan Karate under Sensei Robert Billington while living in
Minneapolis. He received his shodan (1st degree black belt) in 1995,
nidan (2nd degree black belt)in 2002, sandan (3rd degree black
belt) in 2008 and yondan (4th degree) in 2015. He also holds the rank of sandan in Toyamu
Ryu Batto-do . He helped found the YMCA program in
1992, and taught in that program until 1996. From 1995-2000 he taught at the
Japan Karate Federation school in Winona. He has also helped teach the Winona
State University program from 1999 to the present. He currently teaches adult
karate and Toyama Ryu Batto-do (Japanese sword arts). In addition he frequently
lectures on a variety of subjects, including the law and self-defense, mental aspects of
self-defense and awareness/habits for safety. The Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai
certifies him as an Instructor. Mr. McCluer is a 1982 graduate
of the University of Minnesota Law School. He has been selected a Minnesota
Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense multiple times including 2006 and 2007. After
a successful career as a public defender, Mr. McCluer is a partner in the law
firm of Price, McCluer and Plachecki.
David Evenson began training in Japanese karate under Fritz Speck in 1976.
He received his shodan (1st black) in 1980 and his yondan (4th degree black
belt) in 2015. He helped found the YMCA program in 1992 and is currently one
of the instructors for that program. He has also trained the Winona Sheriff’s
Posse in self-defense techniques, and has taught seminars at Winona Technical
College and St. Mary’s University. He is certified as an Instructor by Shito-ryu
Bob Pflughoeft began training in karate in 1974, and began training with the Japan
Karate-Do Genbu-Kai under Fritz Speck in 1976. He received his shodan (1st
degree black belt) in 1995, nidan (2nd degree) in 2002, and sandan(3rd degree)
in 2008, and yondan (4th degree) in 2015. He also hold the rank of shodan (1st degree)
black belt in Okinawan kobudo. He helped found the YMCA Youth Karate Program in 1992
and has assisted in that progam until 2001. He currently teaches noon
adult classes at our dojo. Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai certifies him
as an Instructor.
Mr. Howe started karate through the Winona State University karate club in 2004
and received his first degree black belt in karate in 2012. He holds a
degree is Sociology/Criminal Justice from Winona State University, with
an internship in social work. He is co-instructor in the Winona Family
YMCA Karate program.
Valerie Edwards Robeson
Sempai Edwards Robeson began karate training in 2000 although
she observed karate classes as a parent before then. She earned her first
degree blackbelt in 2010, and her nidan (2nd degree) in 2015.
She coordinates early morning training at the karate dojo. Sempai Edwards Robeson
has a Masters degree in social work, and directs that program at
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.
Sempai Samantha Zimmerman earned earned her first
degree blackbelt in 2016, and tested for her first degree
blackbelt in Okinawan Kobudo in 2017. She is the associate
instructor for the Winona State University Karate Club.
She has competed successfully in kata, kumite, and kobudo
and holds a Bachelors degree in Ecology.
Sempai Matt Biesanz tested for his karate shodan in 2017.
He competed in football, wreseling, and baseball for Winona
Senior High school, and played amateur baseball for the Winona
Lejetz and Winona Chiefs. He coordinates the Goodview Youth baseball
program. He also was in the US Army Airborne Unit which included
being stationed along the Korean DMZ.
Hannah Judisch Mesiar
Sempai Hannah Judisch Mesiar earned her karate nidan in 2016 and teaches
karate for the Eau Claire, WI Parks and recreation district. She holds
a Bachelors Degree in Education (Special Education Emphasis) and teaches
Special Education in the Eau Claire district. She is also certified as a
life guard and to teach First Aid/AED/CPR.