Board of Directors

GERARD J. BRUNKA (Nanadan, 7th degree black belt) — PRESIDENT
Mr. Gerard J. Brunka began his karate training in Whippany, NJ in 1984. On December 3, 1989, he was promoted to the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt) in Isshin-ryū Karate, which to this day is still one of his fondest memories related to his martial arts training. However, Isshin-ryū Karate is not the only style of martial arts that Mr. Brunka has studied. He has trained in both Krav Maga and RMCAT (Rocky Mountain Combat Applications Training). Additionally, Mr. Brunka has studied Jukaikidō and earned the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in that style. To this day, Mr. Brunka feels that his personal passion for the martial arts continues to enable him to pursue new training opportunities and allows him to pass on his knowledge of the martial arts. Mr. Brunka, or more appropriately Shihan Brunka, has held the rank of Nanadan (7th degree black belt) since February 2011.
In the spring of 1986, Mr. László Á. Koller began his training in Isshin-ryū Karate-dō in Rockaway, NJ. After years of dedicated training, he earned his Shodan (1st degree black belt) during the summer of 1992. Within a short time, he began to teach regularly. It was during this time that his passion for the martial arts grew from a personal journey to a communal one. Fueled by his years of experience as an instructor, his desire to pass along that which he, himself, had learned only grew. However even as a black belt, Mr. Koller’s drive to continue his own martial arts education did not slow. After helping to found the Shinjitsu Do Kai (association) in March 1999, he began his training in Jukaikido and has since earned the rank of Shodan in Jukaikidō. Additionally, he has held the rank of Nanadan (7th degree black belt) in Isshin-ryū Karate-dō since February 2016.
RICHARD L. WERLEY (Rokudan, 6th degree black belt)
Mr. Richard “Rick” L. Werley began his martial arts training in 1989 at a Tae Kwon Do studio at Rutgers University. Shortly afterwards, he changed styles and began his training in Isshin-ryū Karate. Mr. Werley earned his Shodan (1st degree black belt) in December 1995 and has since earned to the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt). While Mr. Werley has always wanted to study Kung Fu, the physical and psychological discipline learned during his years of training have kept him interested and focused on Isshin-ryū Karate. The camaraderie associated with training with his fellow martial artists over the years is an integral part of his dedication to Isshin-ryū Karate. Mr. Werley’s years of experience in karate has yielded both focus and discipline in his everyday life. Mr. Werley’s favorite quote is: “Whatever you believe, you can achieve.” This, he says, relates to self-discipline and the idea behind “mind over matter.”
CHARLES A. JOHNSON (Rokudan, 6th degree black belt) — CHIEF INSTRUCTOR
Mr. Charles “Charlie” A. Johnson is the chief instructor and Sensei of the Belvidere Academy of Karate & Self-Defense. As a former U.S. Petty Officer, instructor of Naval Photography, and instructor of counter-terrorist operations, he states that he always “had a pre-disposition to teach,” which is why he decided to open his own dojo in September 1997. His experience in various martial arts, including boxing, Jujutsu, naval combat, and Jukaikido (Shodan), Mr.  Johnson felt that Isshin-ryū Karate would complement his existing martial arts experience in order to create a complete platform in which the differing styles each helped address one another’s weaknesses. He began his training in Isshin-ryū Karate in 1989 and was subsequently promoted to Shodan (1st degree black belt) on April 14, 1996. Since then, he has continued to train with the members of Shinjitsu Do. His favorite Isshin-ryū empty hand kata is Seiuchin, and he enjoys working with the bō because he is partial to “symmetrical bō work, where one uses the tail end just as much as one would the front of the bō.” Mr. Johnson has held the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt) since February 2011.
MICHAEL T. BURKE (Godan, 5th degree black belt)
Mr. Michael T. Burke began training in martial arts at the age of thirteen. The first dojo he trained at was located in Highbridge, NJ where he studied Shotokan. He left that dojo after eighteen months when his Sensei tragically passed away causing the dojo to change in a way that he disliked. Later, he found his place in Isshin-ryū Karate and earned his Shodan (1st degree black belt) in 2002. Mr. Burke believes that the most rewarding aspect of karate is that of training students, which gives him the feeling of accomplishment. He strongly believes that shared karate training helps to promote a sense of family and belonging, and that the constant challenges associated with continued dedication to the martial arts makes each step forward even more rewarding. Currently, Mr. Burke is a Godan (5th degree black belt) and claims that, “there is no doubt in my mind that I will continue with my karate as long as I live.”
Retired Directors
JEFFREY M. DALY (Yondan, 4th degree black belt) — Retired

Mr. Jeffrey “Jeff” M. Daly held the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) in Isshin-ryū Karate, which he earned in 2003 (he earned his rank of Shodan in 1994). Mr. Daly started his training in Isshin-ryū in 1985 in Newton, NJ. He started his own training after his two sons participated in demonstration classes held at the nearby high school. When his younger son decided that he wanted to continue training, Mr. Daly choose to pursue it with him as a father-son activity. Even though his son stopped training when he went away to college, Mr. Daly continued and eventually earned his Shodan (1st degree black belt) in Isshin-ryū Karate. For Mr. Daly, regular karate training “became my second nature, it was still fun even as a ‘old man’…it kept me young.” Later, he decided to try his hand at training in Aikidō, which he considered to be an excellent compliment to Isshin-ryū. In addition to his Aikidō experience, Mr. Daly had trained extensively in the style of Gōjū-ryū Karate.

Sadly, Mr. Daly passed away in a motor vehicle accident in June 2013. He was a great friend and his wisdom will be missed.