Prof. Phillip M. Skornia
                 Direct Lineage of Grandmasters 
         Shorinji Zendo-ryu Karate TM
All Japan Karate Association International TM
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Master Skornia is the highest ranked non-Oriental Black Belt accredited by the All Japan Karate Association International.  He began studying martial arts (Karate, Jujitsu, grappling and boxing) and Oriental Philosophy in the late 1940's.  

Master Skornia started his first studies of traditional martial arts in Okinawa, Japan under the 10th Degree Grandmaster Eizo Shimabuku (1959).  Master Shimabuku was taught by Grandmaster Chotoku Kyan and other Grandmasters.  Master Skornia became the direct descendant of the Shaolin Monastery system, "Shorinji."  For full history, go to : 

Shorinji Kempo Karate, through the Shobayashi Shorin-ryu  Karate system, was brought from China (original Shaolin Temple) and developed in Okinawa.  This art was taught to Chotoku Kyan who developed this Shaolin Temple (Shorinji) style to a higher level named Shobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate.  He passed this style on to his highest student, Eizo Shimabuku, who in turn taught Mr. Skornia.  Master Skornia is the highest ranked non-Oriental Black Belt accredited by the All Japan Karate Association International.  He began studying martial arts and Oriental Philosophy in the late 1940's.  He started his formal studies in Okinawa, Japan under 10th Degree Grandmaster Eizo Shimabuku (1959), a direct descendent of the Shaolin Monastery system, "Shorinji."  He earned his first degree Black Belts  in Shorinji-ryu Karate and Ryukyu Jujitsu the following year.  

Interesting note: Prof. Skornia's First Degree Black Belt certificate was signed by both Grandmaster Shimabuku and Kanken Toyama, founder of the All Japan Karate Association.

Skornia returned to the United States the first time as President of the All Japan Karate Association of America.  He began teaching for the Academy of Judo & Karate in 1963 as a lowly instructor, then a 3rd Degree of the unheard-of Asian art of Karate, with only two students.  He started training with  Master Moon, a 4th Dan in Korean Karate of Tang Soo Do.  Interestingly, Master Moon was the highest ranked Tang Soo Do Black Belt in the United States,at that time.  Skornia added his new knowledge to his training (very similar) and soon earned his Black Belt in Tang Soo Do.

(Note:  A little known fact - the Black Belt in Tang Soo Do was really
deep blue),

Upon arriving in America from Japan, Mr. Skornia contacted Master Hidetaka Nishiyama and joined the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF). He has maintained his advanced JKA training and his close relationship with Nishiyama Sensei for nearly 50 years until his death. Later, Mr. Skornia and Mr. Nishiyama had a long conference about the future of traditional Karate and maintaining the high quality and rank standards that have been achieved just before his passing.  Mr. Skornia earned his 4th Degree Black Belt after teaching and training with several other masters and teachers of other styles of Karate. 

For full history and training go to:

Mr. Skornia was promoted to Chief Instructor of the Academy, after an extended training trip back to Okinawa (Shimabuku) and Japan (JKA Headquarters) in 1968.  He earned his 5th Dan plus trained for his 6th Dan requirements, which he was to earn four years later, having  24  years experience. On this same trip, Mr. Skornia had the opportunity to meet and train with Grandmasters Oyama (Kyokushinkai), Yamaguchi (Goju-ryu), Ohtsuka (Wado-ryu), and Tani (Shudokai).He again trained with Grandmaster Shimabuku in person in 1972.

Mr. Skornia trained with many other masters of Japanese and Okinawan Karate plus with the founder, Choi Hong Hi,  and  the highest ranked instructors of Tae Kwondo.  Later, he was to travel to China to train in Ch'uan-Fa Kung Fu, first to Taiwan and twenty-five years later to mainland China, He trained in several cities and at the  original Shaolin Temple itself, outside of Xian.  

Skornia, the 1961 All Japan Karate Association Black Belt Champion, fought over 1000 matches during his ten-year competition career in Asia.  He has been back to Japan and China five times to train and has been a certified A.A.K.F. tournament judge since 1967.  He is the first person in history to be accepted under the new International Traditional Karate Federation's rank recognition program, which has the highest standards in the world and is authorized through the United States Amateur Karate governing body, A.A.K.F. Certificate #0001.  He is the highest ranking non-Oriental in the world under this stringent ranking program.  Skornia has also been accepted into the Kokusai Budo Renmei, (International Martial Arts Federation) headquartered in Japan.  He is, likewise, the first non-Oriental in history to be granted a master's level in the I.M.A.F. records in Japan.  This organization recognizes Master Skornia as the founder of ZENDOKAITM.  In 1968, Skornia founded the Shorinji ZENDO-ryu Karate Association International, ZENDOKAITM. Prof. Skornia also holds high level Black Belts in Kempo, Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikijitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Goshinjitsu, a teacher's certificate in Shaolin Ssu Ch'uan fa Kung-fu, and is a trained Ninja.  He also trained in Thai Kick-boxing in Thailand. 

Prof. Skornia  has taught for several Los Angeles colleges, and was named Professor of Martial Arts and Oriental Philosophy for the University of Budo Science.  He formally taught at the University of Oriental Studies for several years in Los Angeles.  Skornia also completed a doctoral program under school founder and Zen Master, Thich Thien-An.  Skornia, who holds a Ph.D in Oriental Philosophy, is an ordained Zen Priest (1972) from the Rinzai Daihonza Myoshinji Division of Honazono College, Kyoto, Japan. He studied for four years under Roshi Taizan Maezumi.  He completed his studies at the Soto Zen Mosanstery, Sojiji, Tokyo, Japan.  Prof. Skornia studied Yoga and Vedanta philosophy for several years.  He was personally initiated as a Yogi (1968) in the Yogada Satsanga Ashram in Ranchi, India, which was founded by Yoga master Paramahansa Yoganandaji. 

Interesting note:  Prof. Skornia was the first person in history to teach Zen at the Founder's Science of Mind Church's Ministers College under Dr. Hornaday, circa 1978

Prof. Skornia has also studied under:  Grandmasters Tatsu Shimabuku, Kwon Quon Lam, Ark Yuey Wong, Masatoshi Nakayma, Hidetaka Nishiyama, Richard Kim, Gogen Yamaguchi, Mas Oyama and General Choi Hong Hi.  Skornia is the current all-style liaison officer for the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF).  He is the first lifetime member of the AAKF.  He was featured in the Encyclopedia Britannica (Japan 1975), the Encyclopedia of Martial Arts (1982), Who's Who in Karate and Black Belt Instructor of the Year (1985), and Who's Who in the American Martial Arts (1986).He was inducted into the "Hall of Fame" as Master of the Year, 2004, by the U.S.A. Martial Arts Organization.  Prof. Skornia was invited to be placed on the National Register Who's Who in Executives and Professionals, May 2005, headquartered on Wall Street, New York City, New York. 

For a quarter of a century, Master Skornia was the highest ranked Black Belt in the United States Karate Association.  Written about in his book, Pinnacles of Karate, Robert Trais, Grandmaster and Founder noted Mr. Skornia and Zendo-ryu Karate for the state of California.  His rank for California membership, (8th Dan, highest at that time) was signed by Grandmaster Trais personally before his death.  Mr. Skornia is still in touch with the inheritor of Trais' style, Roberta Trais. 

Interesting Note: Prof. Skornia met Roberta when she was only 5 years old.  Her father was probably the first American Karate Grandmaster in the United States.  He had just started the U.S. Karate Association shortly before Mr. Skornia first came back from Okinawa.  Okinawa was the origin of Trais' style and Prof. Skornia knew his techniques well. 

Note:  Anyone who is interested in membership to A.A.K.F. or the International Traditional Karate Federation, please e-mail us.

Prof. Skornia has been featured in movies and on television and has been written about in every major martial arts magazine in America.  Special Note:  Fighting Stars, April 1985, "I Want to Train Forever" and Karate Kung-Fu Illustrated, December 1986, Cover Story, "History of Shorinji Zendo-ryu Karate," and Karate Kung-fu Illustrated, April 1994, "Shorinji Zendo-ryu Proves that Karate and Aikido Can Mix." 

Prof. Skornia is an Educational Advisor for the Junior National Young Leaders Organization in Washington, D.C.

A bit of trivia:
Mr. Skornia was the model for the first martial arts video game, circa 1973.

 Master Skornia trained in the Shaolin Monastery outside of Xian, China. 

If you are out of the area, state,
or country and interested
in training with 
Master Skornia in Southern California,
or interested in joining the All Japan
Karate Association International,
e-mail us at
Include your location,
phone number, and previous
training and rank.

Of the
International Traditional
Karate Federation
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