The history of Ishinryu Karate SF

In 2018... 

The Ishinryu Karate SF dojo first opened its doors to San Francisco in February 2018.


Sensei Cassidy Lynne is the head instructor. He has been a student of Sensei Tony Hails since 1991 and currently holds a 5th dan with Ishinryu Karate (Awarded by Ishinryu Karate International, the Australian Karate Federation and World Karate Federation) as well as a 1st dan with Shotokan (Shotokan Karate International Federation [SKIF]).


After moving to San Francisco in 2015, Sensei Cassidy dedicated his spare time to studying karate under different instructors. For the most part, Shotokan was the most available and thanks to that he was able to learn and improve many of his Shotokan techniques. 


Throughout this time he was also searching for a place that could best match his vision of a dojo that combined traditional Japanese karate together with sport WKF (World Karate Federation) karate in San Francisco and the Bay Area. 


It was then in 2018 that Sensei Cassidy decided that it was the right time to open a dojo, together with Sensei Addie and Sensei Thierry under the banner of Ishinryu Karate International, affiliated with the WKF and under the guidance of Sensei Tony Hails. 




Sensei Tony Hails

Sensei Tony Hails is the number one Ishinryu student worldwide and currently holds a 8th dan blackbelt as well as a lifetime accreditation as a World Karate Federation kata and kumite coach.

In 1975 Sensei Tony began his training at the hombu in England with Sensei Ticky Donovan. He was a keen student and then instructor for Sensei Ticky. 

Sensei Tony competed for England and later emigrated to Australia, quickly becoming an Australian Citizen. He was an incredible competitor, winning dozens of titles domestically and many at international events. 

He competed at four WKF World Championships, two as team captain and achieved two fourth places (team and individual) in 1986. Impressively he won many Asian Pacific medals, the most spectacular being individual and team gold in 1989.

Whilst competing he also coached NSW and later was part of the coaching team for Australia. He has also coached at four senior and four junior WKF World Championships.

Since 2008 Sensei Tony has been the Mentor Coach to the Fijian Karate Federation, developing their squad and coaching staff to greatly improved international performances.

During his time in Australia, Sensei Tony built up an impressive team of senior instructors including Stuart Kaighin, Alison Peachy, Leighton Wren and Cassidy Lynne.

From left to right: Sensei Leighton, Sensei Tony, Sensei Ticky, Sensei Alison, Sensei Cassidy.

From left to right: Sensei Leighton, Sensei Tony, Sensei Ticky, Sensei Alison, Sensei Cassidy.

It all started when...

David 'Ticky' Donovan opened the first Ishinryu dojo in Dagenham, near London in 1973.

A unique style, Sensei Ticky combined his acquired knowledge of other karate styles including Kyokushinkai, Wado-ryu (training under Tatsuo Suzuki) and Shotokan (Hirokazu Kanazawa and Keinosuke Enoeda).

Sensei Ticky wanted a name that meant "open mind" but when translated it came out as "empty head" and the idea was quickly scrapped. He later came up with the name 'Ishinryu' meaning "All of one heart".

In addition to being the founder of Ishinryu, Sensei Ticky's successes include:

- British Champion (1973, 1974, 1975)

- World Champion (1975)

- Awarded O.B.E (1991)

- Coach and manager to the British and English national karate teams (1977 to 2008) during which Britain won numerous European and World championships (consecutive 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990).

- Coach and mentor to many champions (who have gone on to become national coaches (Wayne Otto, Tony Hails, Ian Cole, Phil Laing).

Sensei Ticky currently holds a 10th dan and continues to lead Ishinryu.


ticky donovan ishinryu karate founder.jpg