Shotokan Karate of America – Kansas City Dojo was started in 1966 by Jon Beltram with encouragement from Tsutomu Ohshima, founder.
Jon Beltram, godan (5th degree black belt), past national director and newly appointed Senior Council member of Shotokan Karate of America, is Kansas City Shotokan Karate’s senior instructor. Mr. Beltram began serious martial arts training in 1959 and holds black belts in Judo (Wey Sing Kim, World Judo Champion in 1959), Okinawan Shorei Kempo (under Mel Wise), JKA Shotokan Karate ( under Mr. S. Mikami, 3 time All Japan Champion), Goju Ryu Karate (under Shoichi Yamamoto and Gosei Yamaguchi), and Yun Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do (under Jang Yul Park, 1958 Champion of Korea). Mr. Beltram was a member of the U.S. Karate Team Which competed for the 1970 World Karate Championship in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Ohshima awarded him SKA’s highest rank, Godan (fifth degree Black Belt) in August, 2000. Mr. Beltram has presented free-fighting and self-defense seminars throughout the United States. You can read some great stories about Mr. Beltram in our 30th Anniversary Album. Ninety of Mr. Beltram’s students (and his student’s students) have attained black belt rank.
Carl Johnson, yodan (4th degree black belt), began karate practice in 1980 under Jon Beltram. Carl represented the Midwest at the Nisei Week Tournament in 1986 and 1989 and was pictured on the July/August 1989 cover of Shotokan News. In 1990, Carl was one of five members of the international team at Harmony, the first Worldwide Shotokan gathering in Santa Barbara, CA. Carl placed 1st in jiyu-kumite at the 1991 Midwest championship tournament in Chicago, then traveled to Japan to compete during Waseda University’s 60th Anniversary in Tokyo. He was awarded SKA’s 1991 Midwest Member of the Year. Mr. Ohshima awarded Carl his yodan rank in Montreal in the fall of 2000. Carl led the Longview Dojo, founded by David L. Mills in 1970. for many years until it was disbanded in 2016. Carl has led a number of Midwest special trainings and continues to lead Saturday practices at the Kansas City dojo.
Mike Lyon, yodan (4th degree black belt), has been the director of SKA’s Midwest Region since appointed by Mr. Ohshima in 1988. After boxing as a child, he began jiyu-jitsu training at the University of Pennsylvania in 1969. Mr. Lyon began serious study of martial arts under Jon Beltram in 1984. In 1989, Mr. Lyon won the 2nd place medal for team kumite at SKA’s annual Nisei Week championship in Los Angeles. In 1991, he won 1st place for black belt kata at the SKA’s Midwest championship tournament in Chicago. A few weeks later, he was selected to demonstrate jiyu-ippon kumite at the 60th Anniversary of the Waseda University Karate Club in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Ohshima awarded him the rank of yodan (4th degree black belt) in June of 2003. Mr. Lyon founded the KCAI dojo at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1988, and the AT&T dojo in 1994. He led practices at both dojos until June of 1999 when he passed leadership along to two of his students, Sarah Oliver and Tom Peacher, who had been awarded the rank of nidan (2nd degree black belt). Mr. Lyon was awarded SKA’s Midwest Member of the Year for 1988 and 1999 and SKA National Member of the Year for 2003, 2008, & 2016. Ohshima Sensei invited him to test for godan in 2018 but did not promote him. Ten of his direct students have been awarded black belt rank.
Mike Bedinger, sandan (3nd degree black belt), also known as “The Colonel” – retired US Army Special Forces. (more to come).
Takamasa Morita, nidan (2nd degree black belt) began Shidokan Karate practice in Kyoto, Japan as a child. He won the All-Japan Full Contact Karate Open Tournament two times. At the age of 22, Takamasa moved to Kansas City to complete his degree in accounting. Now president of Morita Taxes, he discovered Kansas City Shotokan Karate Dojo and resumed his practice. Takamasa’s nidan rank was officially recognized at the 2019 Midwest Summer Special Training. He is a strong leader and an accomplished fighter.