Welcome to OKKA – Mullica Hill
Welcome to OKKA in Mullica Hill. As a new or perspective student, you may have questions about our school, the curriculum, or other aspects of our program.
History of OKKA – Mullica Hill
The Okinawa Kenpo Karate Academy program has been located in South Jersey for more than 30 years. Kyoshi Brian DiGori founded OKKA in Pitman. The program has grown to four independently owned and operated dojos (schools) with a shared curriculum.
The Mullica Hill school opened in September 2011. We moved to the current location at 33 South Main Street in August 2016.
The Coakley Family
TJ, Fran, and Aidan Coakley operate the Mullica Hill Dojo. The Coakleys have 20+ years of martial arts experience. The family started karate together in 2002. All of the Coakleys are licensed Sensei.
Sensei Fran (6th degree black belt) is a NJ/PA certified teacher (K-12) with 10 years of class room experience. Sensei Fran was also a substitute teacher in Harrison Township Schools for several years and has significant experience with special needs and developmental programming. Sensei Fran is a graduate of Villanova University.
Sensei TJ (6th degree black belt) is a career IT Management professional (Retired). He holds a MBA from Villanova University, and is a certified Personal Trainer. Sensei TJ is also part of the Adjunct Staff at Rowan University.
Sensei Aidan (5th degree black belt) is a student at Rowan University.
“The journey to black belt starts with the courage to put on a white belt.”
Grand Master Nakamura (Left)
Master Odo (Right)
About Okinawa Kenpo Karate
As the name would suggest, the origins of Okinawa Kenpo can be traced back to the island of Okinawa Japan. While the underpinnings of our curriculum date back hundreds of years, the modern collection of Kata and Combinations came about through the work of Master Nakamura. Master Nakamura was born in 1894 and lived in the City of Nago. His first introduction to karate came at the Icchu Middle School, in Shuri where Karate had just been introduced to the educational system. His instructors included Kanryo Higashionna, Kentsu Yabu & Chomo Hanashiro. Yastune Itosu also made periodic visits to the school. Upon graduation from the middle school, Nakamura returned to Nago, where he continued his training under Shinkichi Kunioshi, the successor to the legendary Naha “Bushi” Sakiyama. In 1953 Nakamura established his own dojo in Nago City, calling his form of the art “Okinawa Kenpo”.
In 1955, Masters Shigeru Nakamura and Zenryo Shimabuku, formed the “Okinawa Kenpo Renmei”. Master Nakamura is known for his development of the “Bogu Gear” that allows for less risk while contact sparring.
The Current System Emerges
After Master Nakamura’s death in 1969, the Okinawa Kenpo Renmei, appointed SEIKICHI ODO as Master of Okinawa Kenpo Karate. As Master of Okinawa Kenpo, Seikichi Odo was also installed as President of the All Okinawa Kenpo Karate-do League. Shortly afterwards, Master Odo officially added the weapons to the Okinawa Kenpo system, with the result being what we now know as “Okinawa Kenpo Karate-Kobudo”.
In the mid-1970’s Master Odo created the “Okinawa Kenpo Karate Kobudo Association”, to be renamed in 1983 to the “Okinawa Kenpo Karate-Kobudo Federation”. Today Master Odo is ranked as Judan (10th Dan) in both Karate & Kobudo, and is considered one of the top weapons practitioners in the world today. In 1998, Master Odo renamed the Okinawa Kenpo Karate Kobudo Federation to be the“Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu Federation”, and changed the name of the arts taught under his direct auspices to “Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu”. Master Odo served as a member of the IKKF Executive Board from its inception in 1991 to March, 1999. Master Odo passed away on March 24, 2002 in Okinawa, Japan.
Our Local System
Kyoshi Brian DiGori, during his time as a United States Marine in Okinawa, trained under Master Odo. Hanshi, Ronald Dargan, also trained under Master Odo, and is the current ranking Belt of the OKKA system having earned his 9th Dan.
Karate develops the whole child – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Martial arts are about determination, goal setting, and commitment.
Fran is the Mother of Dragons… her background in education allows her to tailor her approach to teaching each student.
Aidan is a 5th degree black belt (godan). He enjoys working with the blackbelt ranks and loves the teaching sparring and weapons curriculum.
Jimmy Kweeder is a 5th degree (Godan) black belt and senior instructor with OKKA in Mullica Hill.
Sempai Randy is currently a 3rd degree blackbelt (Sandan). Randy started assisting instructors as part of CIT (Certified Instructor Training) and recently moved to instructing classes. Randy works as an IT Consultant, but finds it very rewarding to work with the students and to continue his learning in Martial Arts.