Tsutomu Ohshima (b. August 6, 1930) trained in sumo from age 3 to 13, kendo from age 8 to 15, and Judo for four years at the same time. He completed 20 kendo and judo special trainings as a young boy. Mr. Ohshima began training in Shotokan Karate in 1948 at Waseda University in Tokyo under Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi, Hiorshi Noguchi, Shigeru Egami, Toshio Kamata-Watanabe, Todao Okuyama, and Matsuo Shibuya.
In 1952, Mr. Ohshima was appointed captain of Waseda University Karate Club and was awarded sandan by Master Funakoshi.
In 1955, Mr. Ohshima arrived in California where he planned to attend UCLA and obtain a master’s degree in political science, but first he needed to improve his English. While struggling to make ends meet, he was persuaded to teach karate to a small group in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. March 25, 1956, the first practice was held and Southern California Karate Association (SCKA, later renamed SKA) was born.
Jon Beltram (b. July 10, 1941) began Tae Kwon Do training at age 17 in Lexington, Missouri where he’d been boxing. Over the next ten years, he earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do, Okinawan Shorei Kempo, Okinawan Goju-ryu, Japanese Goju-ryu, JKA Shotokan, Judo, and Aikido. He was active in commercial karate and the tournament circuit where he earned a reputation as a very tough fighter.
Jon Beltram attended the Nisei Week Tournament and was deeply impressed by Tsutomu Ohshima, shihan of the Southern California Karate Association (SCKA later became SKA) who made an amazing demonstration.
Mr. Ohshima accepted the invitation of Shobu Academy where Jon Beltram was Director of Karate. Mr. Ohshima led practice and made demonstrations.
Mr. Ohshima was unable to visit, but sent his junior, Mamoru Ohara, to KC Academy of Judo and Karate. Mr. Ohara remained for several months before moving to the University of Illinois in 1967.
Jon Beltram became a member of SCKA (birth of Kansas City Shotokan Karate Club)!
Jim Kaplafka began Shotokan Karate practice at University of Illinois under Mr. Ohara.
Mr.. Ohshima sent Shoji Okabe to replace Mr. Ohara. Mr. Okabe and Jon Beltram became lifelong friends. Mr. Okabe moved to the University of Illinois where he started the Illini Karate Club.
KC and Illini groups had an exchange practice. Jon Beltram and Jim Kaplafka became acquainted.
Jon’s first special training at Lake Arrowhead, CA.
Jon Beltram, Gary Rubyor, Shoji Okabe attend Jon’s 2nd special training at Lake Arrowhead, CA.
Mike Lyon began jiu-jitsu practice in Philadelphia.
Jon Beltram, Don DePree, Jeffrey Klein, Ron Thom, and Henry Wilkerson were selected by Mr. Ohshima to compete in the first World Karate-do Championship held in Tokyo, Japan. Jon was appointed team captain.
Longview Community College Dojo founded by David L. Mills, sankyu, under Jon’s supervision.
Donnie Duncan began karate practice with another group.
Mr. Ohshima led the first Midwest summer special training (Champaign, IL). Ohshima Sensei led all Midwest special trainings until he retired from special training in 1984 after his 100th special training.
David Altman began practice under Jon Beltram at St. Ann’s Church.
Jon attended the first godan examination held at Melrose Dojo in Los Angeles.
Mr. Ohshima awarded Jon Beltram and Jim Kaplafka yodan during a grading at St. Ann’s Church.
Midwest summer special training at Wentworth Military Academy.
University of Kansas Dojo founded by David Lightner, nidan.
Carl Johnson began practice with another group.
1982 Group at St. Ann’s: David Lightner, Earl Rand, David A. Mills, Jon Beltram, Greg Barstow, Dan Lobmire, Donnie Duncan
KC dojo moved from St. Ann’s Church to the Shawnee Community Center.
Midwest summer special training at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana was led by Jon Beltram, the first Midwest special training not led by Mr. Ohshima.
Mike Lyon began practice under Jon Beltram.
KC dojo moved from Shawnee Community Center to Beller’s Dance Studio.
Jon Beltram and Jim Kaplafka elected to SKA board of directors.
KC dojo moved from Beller’s to Susie Brown’s Body Trends where it would remain until 1996.
First Midwest spring special training held in Kansas City led by Jon Beltram.
The Midwest Region sent Carl Johnson, shodan, to compete at Nisei Week Tournament.
Mr. Ohshima visited KC in May for a fantastic weekend of practices at Susie Brown’s Body Trends and parties. Ohshima Sensei agreed to allow Beltram, Lightner, Lyon to produce and market several video productions of practices and three videos were produced.
Mr. Ohshima appointed Mike Lyon as the KC Dojo manager. After summer special training, Mr. Ohshima appointed Mike Lyon as SKA Midwest Regional Manager..
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) Dojo founded by Mike Lyon, shodan.
Mike Lyon was awarded 1988 Midwest Member of the Year.
First annual Nisei Week preliminary tournament held to choose competitors. Kelly Rudolph, Donnie Duncan, Carl Johnson, and David Lightner were selected.
Mike Lyon fought for the East Coast team at Nisei Week and took 2nd place.
John Rogers, nidan, founded South Kansas City Dojo.
Jon Beltram, EdD, awarded Doctor of Education from U of KS.
Mr. Ohshima visited for another weekend of practices at Longview CC and Susie Brown’s Body Trends.
George Boje, nidan, founded Merriam Dojo.
Jon Beltram, Donnie Duncan, Carl Johnson, Patty Richardson, Mike Lyon, David Lightner, David Altman attended Harmony 1990, the first Worldwide Shotokan gathering at UCSB in Santa Barbara, CA. Donnie Duncan tested for yodan but did not pass.
John Rogers and Andy Brown founded Ford Claycomo Dojo.
Carl Johnson was awarded Midwest Member of the Year.
Donny Duncan passed yodan, the first of Jon’s students to attain the rank.
At annual Midwest Tournament in Chicago, Carl Johnson placed 1st in jiyū-kumite and Mike Lyon placed 1st in kata.
Mr. Ohshima led a tour of Japan. David Lightner, Carl Johnson, and Mike Lyon attended. Mr. Ohshima chose Carl Johnson to compete in kumite and David Lightner and Mike Lyon to demonstrate jiyū-ippon gummite at Waseda University 60th Anniversary.
Don DePree, godan, SKA Executive Vice President, led a weekend of fantastic practices.
Sada Honda, godan, BBC President, led a weekend of practices.
John Teramoto, godan, BBC vice president began teaching at KU and made regular visits to KC Dojo to lead practices.
Beltram’s Bad Boys made another trip to Cozumel – diving, drinking, dancing.
Basehor dojo founded by Greg Barstow, sandan.
AT&T Dojo founded by Mike Lyon, sandan.
University of Nebraska Dojo founded by David Altman, sandan.
Jon Beltram led exchange practices at UNL Dojo.
Jon Beltram led his 50th special training and announced his retirement from special training leadership (though he’d attend several more).
Basehor dojo moved to the Kansas City Club led by Andy Brown.
KC Dojo moved to Cultural Arts Center, Prairie Village.
Kansas City Dojo celebrated its 30th Anniversary in October 1996. A commemorative album was published by Mike Lyon, David Altman, and Val Barnett with contributions from many members. Approximately 90 members came together for a weekend of practices led by Ohshima Sensei.
Daniel Chemla led a fantastic practice at the Kansas City Art Institute, followed by our traditional meal at Bo Ling’s Chinese Restaurant.
David Altman was awarded Midwest Member of the Year.
Mr. Ohshima visited Kansas City to celebrate the grand opening of the new dojo at 2026 Broadway in downtown Kansas City. Just before the final mokuso, he patted his tanden and told us, “Your mind here, your breathing here, your practice here, your life here.” After mokuso, he asked us to polish the floor the way we’d like to polish our minds.
Kansas City Shotokan Karate Club was awarded Midwest Dojo of the Year.
Mike Lyon was awarded Midwest Member of the Year.
The Grand Opening Celebration of Shotokan Ohshima Dojo was the big event of the year. Jon Beltram passed godan. David Altman tested for yodan. In autumn, Carl Johnson passed yodan in Montreal with his uke, Jeremy East.
Jon Beltram, godan, was awarded 2000 Midwest Member of the Year.
David Altman passed yodan at Cate School (Mike Lyon, uke).
Mike Lyon was awarded 2003 SKA National Member of the Year.
SKA President Ron Thom visited Kansas City and led a practice April 27, 2007.
Mike Lyon was awarded 2008 SKA National Member of the Year.
UNL awarded 2011 Midwest Dojo of the Year.
David Altman was awarded 2013 Midwest Member of the Year, and UNL was awarded 2013 Midwest Dojo of the year.
France Shotokan celebrated its 50th Anniversary July 11-13, 2014 in Saint-Lô and Cherbourg, Normandie, France. The celebration included practices led by Ohshima Sensei, dinners and parties, an international tournament, and a godan test. David Altman was invited to test. Many of his juniors travelled to France, enjoyed the celebration, and were thrilled to hear David’s name among those who passed to godan.
UNL Dojo celebrated its 20th Anniversary September 13-14, 2014
2014 November kyu test in Kansas City
In February, SKA President, Ron Thom led practice in Kansas City.
Jon Beltram, David Altman, Carl Johnson, Mike Lyon, Mike Bedinger, Thomas Ngundo, Julia Makiejus, and Ken Richardson joined more than 700 others to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of SKA at Shotokan Ohshima Dojo near Santa Barbara, California.
Lien Phan and Quang Nguyen were awarded 2016 Midwest Member of the Year. Kansas City Shotokan Karate Club was awarded 2016 SKA National Dojo of the Year. Mike Lyon was awarded 2016 SKA National Member of the Year.