8th Dan Kyoshi
Robert B. Herten has loved the martial arts since he was a teenager. At 16 he began what was to become his life’s work by practicing jujitsu with a friend from high school. When he joined the US Air Force in 1963, he learned a little TaeKwondo. But he really began to get serious about karate when he was transferred to Okinawa, an island known for its traditional martial arts masters. There he met his first teacher, Shugoro Nakazato, the master of the Shorin Ryu Shorinkan style of Okinawan karate. Herten knew right away that he had found his calling.
After being discharged from the Air Force, Herten opened his first karate school in Totowa, New Jersey in 1969. Along with teaching traditional Okinawan karate and kobudo (weapons), he developed a unique fighting style. In the early ’70’s he competed in some of the legendary tournaments in New York City. Using a blend of these teaching styles, he built a good strong following of students. For more than 27 years Kyoshi Herten remained a practitioner of Shorinryu Shorinkan and a disciple of Master Nakazato, and, in 1985 was promoted to Nana Dan (Seventh Degree black belt).
Early in 1990, feeling the need to become a student again, Kyoshi Herten went to Lansing Michigan to visit Seikichi Iha, a ninth dan in Shorin Ryu Shidokan—another branch of the same style of Okinawan karate. He knew Iha Sensei was the senior student of Katsuya Miyahira, who, like Nakazato, was a student of Chosin Chibana, one of the great masters of this traditional style. For two years, Kyoshi Herten traveled bi-monthly to Lansing to practice under Sensei Iha. It was hard work changing himself and his students over to Shidokan’s traditional versions of the Shorin Ryu katas and Iha’s style of soft blocking and body shifting. On a visit to Okinawa in 1993, he was awarded an equivalent seventh dan by Miyahira and Iha Sensei’s. In April 2001, Robert Herten was promoted to eighth dan.
In September of 2002 Robert Herten formed his own style of Shorin-ryu Karate, naming it Shin Shorin-ryu and seperating himself from Seikichi Iha Sensei and from the Beikoku Shido-kan Association to form his own United States Shorin-ryu Association.
Reprinted and Edited from Robert Herten Sensei’s web page.