Bill Gibbs

Sensei Gibbs began training at the age of 39. At that time he was a B ranked Squash player looking for a good cross training activity. His son, Jay, was just beginning Isshinryu Karate, and he realized what a rounded set of skills it employed. In October of 1996 he walked onto the deck at a local Isshinryu school for the first time, and has never looked back.

His training took the same route through the belts that any younger student would take, with a fairly successful tournament record on the way. On December 6th 1999, he tested for, and earned his Shodan.

His training continued, and the tournament circuit got tougher, but still Sensei Gibbs always had time to assist in the instruction of other students. In fact, many of these students have gone on to achieve great things in Martial Arts, competition and education. After several years of more advanced studies, Sensei Gibbs was promoted to Sandan on Sept. 28, 2003.

Shortly after receiving his SanDan, The dojo he was attending closed, and he went to Michigan to train with Sensei Dennis Koss and the late Sensei Tim Schutte. When Master Al Panazzola opened his dojo in September of 2005, Sensei Gibbs realized what an opportunity this was, and contacted him to request to be accepted as a student. After a few months of observation and instruction, he was accepted as a student at Karate Rocks Family Martial Arts where he continues to advance his knowledge of Isshinryu. After several years of refining his skills, Sensei Gibbs was promoted to YonDan or 4th degree Black Belt.

In August of 2013, Sensei Gibbs was tested by the AOKA testing Board, consisting of Grand Master Steve Young, Master Panazzola and Master Dan Harrison. It was a gruelling test, but after two and a half hours, Sensei Gibbs was awarded the rank of GoDan, or 5th degree Black Belt. He was also awarded his Instructor’s certificate. It was an honour to be recognized by such a prestigious panel.

Sensei Gibbs is very involved in Auto Racing having held a Sports Car Club of America National Flagging License, and an IndyCar World Series Observer’s License. He travelled internationally with IndyCar assisting in the safe execution of their events in Detroit, Toronto, Vancouver, Mid Ohio, Michigan Int’l Speedway, Monterrey Mexico as well as others. From 1986 to 1988 he served as Chief of Flagging and Communications at Waterford Hills Road Racing in Waterford, Michigan, where he still attends races a few times every year.

Sensei Gibbs was accepted into the Order of Isshin-Ryu Martial Arts organization in 2021 with the Karate Rocks Family Martial Arts Dojo.

Sensei Gibbs continues to enjoy instructing other students, and particularly enjoys bringing Isshinryu to older students. Come on out, and discover what he learned…

It’s never too late to start a life-changing activity.
Sensei Gibbs was the recipient of the Karate Rocks Hall of Fame Award in 2011.