Newville Scorpions Isshinryu Karate




Sensei Harry Aklin (7th Dan)     

Sensei Acklin (Aug 30, 1929—Dec 17, 2000) was one of three people responsible for bringing Master Tatsuo Shimabuku to the United States for the first time, in 1964 (the other two were William Duessel and Jim Morebeto). He had also visited Master Shimabuku three times in Okinawa . Sensei Acklin was promoted to shichi dan (7th degree black belt) by Master Tatsuo Shimabuku.

Sensei Acklin was a former Army paratrooper who started studying Isshinryu just as an exercise, and then pursued the martial art for years. At one point, Master Shimabuku’s son-in-law, Angi Uezu, came to stay in Sensei Acklin’s home for a year, and teach in Sensei Acklin’s dojo. Sensei Acklin was inducted into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame in 1994.Harry Acklin was a retired Deputy Sheriff in the Detective Bureau of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio .



Sensei William Shank  (9th Dan)

         Sensei Bill Shank is a ku dan (9th degree black belt) in Isshinryu, and is the owner and head instructor of the Carlisle Isshin Ryu Karate Club in Carlisle , PA.        

        Sensei Shank began studying the martial arts in 1972.  He received his first level black belt from his original Isshinryu instructor, Rich Garnish (who was a ni-dan). He began studying with Harry Acklin 1975, and received his second through sixth degree black belt promotions from Master Harry Acklin.

       Sensei Shank was later promoted to seventh and eighth dan by Master Georg Iberl and Master Angi Uezu. Master Iberl is a ninth dan under Master Uezu.
         Besides operating his own karate school, Sensei Shank has been an instructor at Dickinson College in Carlisle since 1975, teaching a physical education course in introductory karate and self-defense each semester.

    The Newville Dojo was started by Phyllis Seiders with Sensei Shank's concurrence, and has remained affiliated with his Carlisle Dojo.




Sensei Phyllis Seiders (4th Dan)

Sensei Phyllis Seiders founded the Newville Scorpions dojo in 1997. The club is located in the Big Spring Area Community Center (formerly the Newville Area Community Center ) in Newville , PA.   
Phyllis Seiders is a 4th degree black belt, and a student of Bill Shank.    

After teaching Isshinryu at the Community Center for several years, Sensei Seiders moved to North Carolina in 2001, where she is currently enjoying her retirement and the warm weather. Sensei Seiders no longer actively runs a dojo.



Sensei Jody Smith (3rd Dan) Assistant Instructor

 Sensei Jody Smith began studying martial arts at age 14 under Sensei William Shank of Carlisle Isshinryu Karate Club.  She was promoted to the rank of brown belt by Sensei Shank before taking an extremely long break to concentrate on school and work. Sensei Smith returned to the study of martial arts with the opening of the Newville Scorpions Karate School in 1997 under Sensei Phyllis Seiders.  Sensei Seiders, who also happens to be Smith’s mother, promoted Smith to the rank of Sho Dan on June 20, 1999 and eventually to the rank of Ni Dan on November 19, 2000.  

In November of 2001 Sensei Seiders elected to name Smith as the Sensei of the Newville Scorpions Karate School.  Not long after Sensei Smith was forced to take another break from the study of martial arts (due to the addition of a new family member). Vernon Graham kindly accepted the role as Sensei of the Newville Scorpions and as Sensei to Jody Smith.  Eventually Sensei Smith returned again to Isshinryu Karate and under the instruction of Sensei Graham received the rank of Sho Dan on June 2, 2003.

Sensei Smith wholeheartedly enjoys the study of martial arts and attends class as family, work and schedule allows.  Her family centers on her husband Rodney, daughters, Amanda and Alexa, and son, Dylan.           

With her utmost gratitude, she thanks Sensei Shank, Sensei Seiders, Sensei Graham, and Sensei Line for their devotion to Isshinryu Karate.  Without their knowledge, skill and dedication she would not be where she is today spiritually, mentally or physically, both in her personal life and her study of martial arts.




Sensei Christopher Cecil (5th Dan)

            Sensei Christopher Cecil was promoted to (5th Dan) Black Belt on September 1, 2011 by Sensei Bill Shank.  Before that he was promoted to yon-dan by Sensei Vern Graham.  Sensei Chris began studying Isshin Ryu in 1989 under Sensei Bill Shank.  Sensei Shank had promoted Sensei Chris to 3rd degree Black Belt (san-dan).  Sensei Chris teaches self defense at Cumberland Valley High School where he also teaches Spanish.  Sensei Chris was Head Instructor of the Newville Scorpions dojo in 2005.  Shortly after it was turned over to him, he soon turned it over to Sensei Jeff Line who is now and still is Head Instructor of the Newville Scorpions dojo.





Here is Sensei Harry Acklin with Sensei Phyllis Seiders, Sensei William Shank and Sensei Jeff Line when he was a Green Belt. Sensei Harry Acklin studied with Master Tatsuo Shimabuku as well as Master Shimabuku's son-in-law Master Uezu.




Sensei Jeff Line (4th Dan) Assistant Instructor  

 Sensei Jeff on November 1, 2015 has stepped down from being head instructor and has placed the mantle of Head Instructor to Sensei Brian Ferguson. Sensei Jeff will continue help out with class when he can. We thank Sensei Jeff for all the hard work over the many years he has been teaching at the school.

Sensei Jeff Line was promoted (December 9th, 2013) to 4th degree Black Belt (yon-dan). He was promoted by his sensei, Sensei Vern Graham.  
The dojo enjoyed celebrating this great accomplishment with Sensei Jeff on that day.

 Sensei Jeff started Isshin Ryu in September of 1997 under Sensei Phyllis Seiders.  
He received his Green Belt in April of 1998 and then his Brown Belt in March
of 2000, both promotions where given to him by Sensei Phyllis Seiders.   Sensei Phyllis moved to
North Carolina and handed the dojo over to Sensei Vern Graham in the spring of 2000.  During this transition, Sensei Jeff had to take some time off training due to his work schedule, it was around a year before he started training again.  It took some time to relearn the kata that he had learned before he took his sabbatical (time off) from Karate.

In September of 2003, Sensei Jeff was promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt (sho-dan).  He was promoted by his sensei, Vern Graham. He was promoted to ni-dan by Sensei Vern Graham & Sensei Christopher Cecil in March 2005. 

Sensei Vern handed the dojo over to Sensei Christopher when he went to hike the Appalachian trail in 2005.  Shortly after that Sensei Christopher handed the dojo over to Sensei Jeff due to his work schedule  and obligations with his teaching job at Cumberland Valley High School .  In August of 2005, Sensei Jeff became Head Instructor of the Newville Scorpions Dojo.  On June 25th, 2008 Sensei Jeff was promoted to San-Dan (3rd Degree) Black Belt by Sensei Vern Graham (Roku Dan).

He is highly respected by his peers and students and is very well like by everyone.  He strives to teach all his students the best methods and listens to new ideas to help teach students new ways to defend themselves and always tries to keep the classes fun and enjoyable. Sensei Jeff has the help of his sensei, Vern Graham.  Sensei Vern came back from vacation and as been helping Sensei Jeff teach the school ever since.  The students at the Newville Scorpions Dojo are very fortunate to have both Sensei Jeff and Sensei Vern teaching them the art of Isshin Ryu Karate. 




Sensei Vern Graham (6th Dan) Assistant Head Instructor  

Sensei Vern Graham is Sensei Jeff's sensei. He was promoted to 6th degree 
Black Belt  (roku dan) on January 1, 2009 by Sensei William Shank. The promotion took place at
Carlisle Isshin Ryu Karate Club and was celebrated with many other black belts, a few came in from New Jersey.  Sensei Vern was honored by everyone's participation at the promotion.

Sensei Vern began studying Karate in 1981 in Woodbridge , Virginia under Sensei Mike Pranger, and then transferred to study under Sensei Pranger’s Instructor, Master Karl Kazuo Hovey, in Fredericksburg , Virginia , until 1985, when he moved to Pennsylvania .  Sensei Graham began studying under Sensei Bill Shank in 1990 at the Carlisle Isshin Ryu Karate Club, starting again as a Green Belt.  Sensei Vern received his Sho-Dan rank in February 1993 from Sensei Shank, was a student in Carlisle , and received all other promotions up to his present rank from Sensei Shank. 

Sensei Graham has been active in Isshin Ryu Karate as a Black Belt, participating in seminars with Sensei Bill Shank, Master William Duessel (9th Dan), Master Arsenio “Jim” Advincula, and Grandmaster Angi Uezu (10th Dan from Okinawa), as well as conducting Women’s Self Defense Classes and several local Demonstrations.  

Sensei Vern Graham became the Head Instructor of the Newville Scorpions in the Spring of 2000.  In 2005 Sensei Vern went on the Appalachian trail, he turned the dojo over to Sensei Christopher Cecil who then turned the dojo over to Sensei Jeff Line, who is now the head instructor of the Newville Scorpions dojo.  Sensei Vern is still one of the main teachers that help Sensei Jeff teach at the Newville Scorpions dojo. He now primarily works out at the Newville school and is one of the major assets of the Newville Scorpions dojo.



Sensei Brian Ferguson (2nd Dan) Head Instructor

On November 1, 2015 Sensei Brian was given the mantle of Head Instructor by Sensei Jeff Line. Both Sensei Jeff and Sensei Vern know they have left the school in good hands. Sensei Jeff will continue to help with the school when he can. Congratulations Sensei Brian on your promotion to Head Instructor.

Sensei Brian was promoted (December 8th, 2013) to 2nd degree Black Belt (Ni Dan).
He was promoted by Sensei Jeff Line & Sensei Vern Graham. He received his Ni Dan belt the next day in class (December 9th, 2013) and celebrated with the whole class.
Congratulations Sensei Brian!

Before that Sensei Brian Ferguson was promoted (December 04, 2011) to 1st degree Black Belt (shodan). He was promoted by his Sensei, Sensei Jeff Line & Sensei Vern Graham.  
The dojo celebrated this great accomplishment with Sensei Brian the next day on (December 5th, 2011) in class.




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