Traditional Karate North Central Region

Regional Representative of the AAKF for clubs in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

2024 July Traditional Karate North Central Region

Traditional Karate North Central Region Newsletter

2024  New black belts and new ranked black belts

2024 mid-year has been great for the Traditional Karate North Central Region (NCR) in helping nine students pass their black belt exam (shodan level) and helping six senior black belts obtain their new elevated dan rank.  Also, in 2023, Sensei Al Kotula, chief instructor at SKM successfully passed his 6th dan (Rokudan) examination as well as Sensei Trung Le obtaining his 5th dan (Godan).

NCR continues to grow both in new students and seeing returning students. The new students have been successful in passing their kyu examination.  Our returning students, who have been away for decades, rededicated themselves to the martial arts and budo spirit to successfully obtained their shodan.

The student’s perseverance and strong training ethics along with excellent teaching by the club senseis are making our region a highly successful organization. Our national organization American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF) is benefiting from our region’s growth and success which resulted in AAKF becoming a stronger organization.

Below is a list of the students and their new dan rank. Congratulations! to everyone passing their dan examination.

Shotokan Karate of MN

  1. Art Rillo……………….Yondan
  2. Joe Geshick  III…..Sandan
  3. Joe Geshick IV……Sandan
  4. Mike Winter………..Nidan
  5. Lisa Lindemann…Shodan
  6. Abdi Omar………….Shodan
  7. Samari Lloyd……..Shodan

Midwest Karate St. Paul

  1. Laurie Elliott………Godan
  2. Steve Tan……………Godan
  3. Scott Olson……….Sandan
  4. Barbara Peham…Shodan
  5. Anne Elias………….Shodan
  6. David Miller……….Shodan

Traditional Karate-do Academy at UMN

  1. Julianna Kimmel….Shodan
  2. Jasmine Beldin…….Shodan
  3. Alexander Ulate……Shodan

Photos of the students who passed their dan examination

2024 June 21 AAKF dan examination

Scott Olson-sandan, Joe Geshick III-sandan, Joe Geshick IV-sandan, Art Rillo-yondan,
Vassil Peytchev (Madison, WI, Yondan), Steve Tan-godan, Laurie Elliott-godan

2024 May Midwest Karate St Paul dan examination – three new shodans.

Anne Elias, David Miller, Barbara Peham

2024 May Traditional Karate-do Academy at UMN dan examination – three new shodans.

Julianna Kimmel, Jasmine Beldin, Alexander Ulate

2024 May SKM dan examination – two new shodans

Lisa Lindemann, Samari Lloyd

2024 AAKF National Championships – Highlights

The NCR successfully hosted the 2024 AAKF International Camp and National Championships in Bloomington, MN from June 19-22.  Representatives from the Mid Atlantic, Western, South Atlantic, and Southwest Regions joined the host North Central Region in participating in the 61st AAKF National Championship. It was great to see karateka from around the country train together, renew friendships, and meet new friends. 

The International Camp ran for the first three days and featured seminars on kata (Wednesday), kumite (Thursday), and tournament scoring and judging (Friday). Senseis Mahmoud Tabassi, Alex Tong, Richard Kageyama, and Albert Cheah from the AAKF Technical Committee were the featured instructors. In addition, many other regional senseis taught portions of the International Camp. Among those chosen to teach were Senseis Al Kotula (Minneapolis), Trung Le (UMN), Laurie Elliott (St. Paul), Vassil Peytchev (Madison), John Hyatt (South Carolina), Brian Hayes (Washington, DC), and Tom Meagher (Northfield). 

The International Camp concluded with model matches to train both competitors and judges, then Dan exams. Congratulations to those receiving promotions:

  • 3rd dans: Joseph Geshick  III, Joseph Geshick IV, and Scott Olsen
  • 4th dans: Art Rillo and Vassil Peytchev
  • 5th dans: Laurie Elliott and Steve Tan

The National Championships took place on Saturday, starting with spirited competition in kata and kumite among the youth and adult kyu ranks in 3 rings. Following their medal ceremonies, the competition moved to the center ring for the adult black belt division which featured women’s kata, men’s kata, team kata, women’s kumite, men’s kumite, and fukugo. 

The day culminated with a dinner at the host Best Western Plus Bloomington hotel where judges, competitors,volunteers, and family members socialized and made plans to meet up next summer for the 2025 AAKF National Championships in Madison.

Special thanks go to Tournament Coordinator Laurie Elliott, NCR Director Art Wong, and special assistant Keith Sullivan.

Photos/videos from Michael Ching from the 2024 AAKF National Championships: (note: you should be able to view the below Facebook photos/videos without a Facebook account. Photos/videos are made public)

2024 AAKF National Champioships – Judges and Athletes

2024 AAKF National Championships – results

Below are the final results from 2024 AAKF National Championships. Congratualations to the athletes and their hard work you put in to make this a successful tournament.


Gerry Ramaker October 19, 1944 – May 17, 2024

It is with great sadness to report the passing of Gerry Ramaker, Godan, an instructor at Shotokan Karate Minnesota club. Gerry was looking forward to participate as a judge at the 2024 AAKF National Championships. Click here to read more about Gerry Ramaker’s life.

Gerry Ramaker – Shotokan Karate Minnesota

Upcoming Calendar of Events and Registration

  • Upcoming events
    • tbd
  • NCR 2024 plans
    • October 19 NCR/SKM fall Shiai at SKM. More details to follow.
    • October 26 NCR/SKM Kumite seminar at SKM. More details to follow.
    • November 2nd Madison Tournament. More details to follow.
    • November 16th U of M Tournament. More details to follow.
  • NCR 2025 plans
    • January 25, 2025 NCR/SKM winter Shiai at SKM. More details to follow.
    • March 1, 2025 NCR/SKM kata seminar at SKM. More details to follow.
    • March 29, 2025 NCR/SKM spring Shiai at SKM. More details to follow.
  • AAKF upcoming events:
    • 2025 – AAKF National Champtionships and International camp. Madison, WI More details to follow.

Click here to see past event videos and click here for past event photos from the NCR video and photo Library.  Click here for additional photos from the U of Mn club photo library.

Dan Examination Schedule

  • NCR and AAKF dan exam schedule
    • tbd
  • Dan examination testing requirements shodan-sandan – click here
  • Dan rank registration required when you pass your dan exam – click here

Traditional Karate North Central Region Subscription

Art Wong – Traditional Karate North Central Region Director, Godan

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