Sensei (Instructors)

Staff Instructors

Spence Sensei John Spence  Chief Instructor 7th dan/Kyoshi

United States Shibu-cho/Shorin-Ryu Butokukan

Sensei John Spence is the U.S.A Shibucho/branch director for Shorin-Ryu Butokukan karate under Hanshi Sokuichi Gibu, 10th dan/Judan. He has trained in Shorin-Ryu karate for over 20 years and is a certified instructor in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu and Okinawa Kobudo. Sensei Spence travels to Okinawa, Japan every year for training at the World Headquarters in Urasoe City.

He has trained with some of the top martial arts instructors in the United States and Okinawa and aside from Shorin-Ryu, Sensei Spence extensively trained in Judo while attending college.

He has served as the self-defense instructor for the LSU Law School and the American Institute of Banking.Sensei Spence has conducted seminars in the United States and South Africa on Shorin-Ryu karate and Okinawan Kobudo and also created an 11 video/dvd series on Okinawan Karate and Kobudo that sell worldwide today.

Aside from a karate instructor, Sensei Spence is a fifth grade teacher at Matoaka Elementary School in Williamsburg. He earned his B.A. from Catawba College and his Master’s Degree in Education from the College of William & Mary.

He was also the recipient of the 2003 Fulbright Memorial Fund Japanese Scholarship where he studied education for a month in Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture. He was inducted into the Who’s Who of American Teachers in January of 2006




 Williams Sensei Dave Williams  Assistant InstructorGodan/ 5th Dan

Sensei Williams began his karate training in Shorin-Ryu karate in 1992 and trained for 12 years under Sensei Vernon Mason, rokudan. He received his shodan in August of 1996 and currently holds the rank of Yondan/4th degree Black Belt. He also holds the rank of Shodan in Okinawan Kobudo. He has been training under Sensei John Spence since April of 2004 and has been a great addition to our family. Sensei Dave has a great love for teaching others and watching so many children become excellent atheletes and students is very rewarding to him. He is a firm believer that martial arts is a great tool for helping children and adults build self esteem and self confidence.

Aside from karate, Sensei Dave is a designer at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. He is also a USA swimming certified certified stroke and turn judge and devotes many hours to help out in a sport which his children are involved in. He and his wife, Sheri and children Ryan and Kailey live in Tabb.


 Wilson Sensei Joe Wilson Assistant Instructor Godan/ 5th Dan


Joe Wilson grew up on Okinawa and started his karate training in the Futenma Uechi-Ryu dojo under Kanei Uechi Sensei. This was unusual at the time as not many foriegners were allowed to train there, especially young ones. Through a friend of Joe’s father, Joe and his dad were both allowed to train at the Uechi-Ryu headquarters.

He has been training at the Williamsburg dojo since 2001 and holds a Nidan/ 2nd degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate. Joe is one of the managers at Paul’s Deli in Williamsburg and spends a great deal of his time teaching at the dojo.