The Shorin Ryu Karate Do Club of Portland, Oregon was started by John Murphy in 1975. Murphy Sensei’s interest in karate and the martial arts began in the early 1960’s while a member of the US Marine Corp. He began his study while stationed in Hawaii. There he learned many basic techniques and movements of karate. However, he was eventually relocated to the birthplace of karate, Okinawa, Japan. As many other service members, he asked a local of the best place to study karate and was taken to Eizo Shimabukuro’s (O’Sensei) dojo. While there, he trained very regularly for a period of a few years, earning the rank of shodan on the same day as other notable student’s of O’Sensei, Eiko Shimabukuro (O’Sensei’s son) and Herbert Wong. In 1968, he was sent to Vietnam to participate in the Vietnam War. After a few years, he was fortunate to have an opportunity to train again with O’Sensei in Okinawa.
Upon his return back to the United States, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area. He studied with Richard Kim and others, continuing his knowledge of karate. He also opened up his first dojo in Sunnyvale, California.
A move back to the Pacific Northwest was in order however, winding up in Portland, OR. Here he began teaching karate with a former student from Sunnyvale at Portland Community College (PCC) in the mid 1970’s. In 1978, they decided to go their separate ways and Murphy Sensei ended up teaching five classes a week to a packed dojo at PCC. Here the workouts were often very physical and demanding but never sacrificed the art. In 1980, the club was fortunate to have O’Sensei visit and be a guest instructor. Budget cuts to state funding eventually forced the reduction of the number of classes taught at the community college. He continued to teach regularly for over 20 years, volunteering his time to pass on his knowledge. In 2002, his senior student became the main instructor of the club, while other students have formed their own dojos in the Portland metro area.
Murphy Sensei continues his role as the club director. He periodically conducts seminars for the club, participates in promotions, telling stories, and continuing to pass on his knowledge of karate. All of his students are truly thankful for passing on his knowledge and inspiring us all.