Hanshi John Snyder
- 9 th Dan Karate
- 9 th Dan Hanshi Kobudo
- Senior American Student of Grand Master Seikichi Odo
- Ryu Kyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu International Board of Directors
Mr. Snyder was born on 7/7/53 in Pittsburgh , PA and began training in 1971 in karate and judo. Since 1982 most of his studies have been with his current sensei, Grand Master Seikichi Odo, of Agena, Okinawa . He traveled twice to Agena where he temporarily resided in order to further his studies with Grand Master Odo .
Mr. Snyder’s goal as a martial artist is to see that the traditional teaching and methods of Master Odo continue to spread and grow through teaching opportunities both nationally and internationally. Another objective is to develop well rounded students encompassing the Mind Body Spirit equation and to enable them to achieve life long goals in all areas of endeavors using concentration, discipline and attitudes that reflect a true martial arts spirit.
Awards and/or certification highlights
- USKA Bushido Award 1981
- Okinawa Island Wide Fighting Champion 1982
- Okinawa Wide Over-All Grand Champion 1982
- OKKKF Competitor of the Year 1984
- OKKKF Competitor of the Year 1985
- OKKKF Coach of the Year 1986
- USKA National Champion 1991
- USKA World Champion 1991
- Samurai Spirit Award 1992
- PA Karate Hall of Fame 1994
- Appointed USAKF Jr. Team Coach 1995
- World Kobudo Federation Master of the Year 1997
- USKA PA State Champion (7 times)
- USKA Regional Champion (5 times)
Our philosophy can be summed up in one word, “OSU”. When martial artists (Bugeisha) meet, you will find them bowing to each other and the room often will be filled with a resounding OSU! The bow we know is a sign of respect and OSU is a greeting or request that goes back to the old days of martial training. OSU is a contraction of the OSU – SHINOBU.
OSU means to push ahead or never give up! SHINOBU means patience. The way requires patience and constant practice because there is no end and no goal, there is only practice. As martial artists, we train daily in constant vigilance for the battle and the battle never comes. The truth is, in our modern society there are very few times when a swift kick or timely punch will be what you need to help you survive a busy day. I believe the real battle is not a physical confrontation but a battle within ourselves each of us face every day. The battle is to train or not to train; to strive for perfect technique or to settle for mediocrity; to make each day a personal best or to settle for less.
Transferring the lessons we learn through martial arts into daily life through goal setting, hard work, concentration and indomitable spirit, we can obtain greater academic, personal and professional success. We do this through consistent, continuous persistence. Patience is the key. Never give up! “OSU”!
I was born in Reading, PA. I am married and I have a daughter and son. My full time career I am a police officer with The City of Reading Police Department in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I also work part time teaching a motorcycle course for The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Motorcycle Safety Program (MSP). I am certified by The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) as a motorcycle instructor ridercoach. My friends call me by my nickname of Trail. I acquired this nickname during my yellow belt test and it has stuck with me ever since.
- In 1981 at the age of 11 years old I started my karate training at the Heilman Karate Academy in Reading, PA.
- In 1987 I received the “outstanding karate student of the year award” within our dojo.
- In June 1990 I earned my Black Belt.
- In July 1991 I competed in The United States Karate Alliance (USKA) World Karate Championships tournament in New Orleans, LA.
- I took 1st place in Men’s Black Belt Traditional Japanese/Okinawan Kata
- I took 2nd place in KOSHIKI, light weight Black Belt (bare knuckle) full contact fighting.
- In 1992 I was rated as a National Champion and ranked 10th place in the Men’s Black Belt Kata Division by The United States Karate Alliance for recording the most competition tournament wins in the United States of America.
- In 2002 I received an award from Berks Women In Crisis for “Police Officer of The Year“.
- In July 2005 I competed in The World International Police Fire Olympic Games (WPFG) in Canada.
- In 2006 certified as a R.A.D. Instructor (RAPE AGGRESSION DEFENSE SYSTEMS). This is a self defense course that is only taught to women of all ages. This course is specifically designed for those women going off to college and those who live or work in high risk/crime areas.
During my karate training I have competed in numerous tournaments and attended numerous karate seminars. During my police career I have received annual training in the use of force as well as other training. I am certified in Pressure Point Control Tactics (PPCT). I am certified with The ASP Expandable Baton, PR-24 Baton, Oleoresin Capsicum Aerosol Training (pepper spray), and with a Taser. I also received Verbal Judo training. I have been on both the karate demo and tournament teams. I have competed up and down the East Coast including Canada. I have assisted with and taught several self defense courses for both men and women. Including one course we taught to high school seniors during their gym class in the Antietam School District. I have only been trained in one specific style of karate which is Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu. This is a traditional Okinawan Karate and Kobudo style. We train with real traditional Okinawan weapons or as it is referred to as kobudo. I have been trained by my Sensei John Snyder ever since I was a yellow belt. This was under the direct supervision of Grand Master Seikichi Odo. I followed Sensei John Snyder when he left the Heilman Karate Academy and he opened his own dojo, East Coast Karate in West Lawn, PA. Grand Master Seikichi Odo, lived in Okinawa, Japan and he was the founder of The Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu Federation. Dai Sensei Odo would travel to the United States every year or two to train us and evaluate our progress with his style of karate.
I will leave you with this Okinawan phrase which has guided me in both my karate training as well as my personal life and it means “to never retreat, surrender and never give up”…
“HIKE O TORANAI”