Sensei Stanley Crump
Stanley Crump began studying Uechi-ryu (a style of Okinawan Karate) in 1994. In 2017, he earned his Rokudan (6th degree black belt), and in 2011 – a Shihan certification (Master Level Instructor) under his teacher, Grand Master Kiyohide Shinjo. Stanley has traveled extensively to enjoy personal, advanced training from some of the world’s foremost masters of karate, including Grand Master Kiyohide Shinjo (Sensei Stanley’s direct teacher), Narahiro Shinjo, James Thompson, Seiko Toyama, Kanmei Uechi, Shinyu Gushi, and Bill Hayes. In 1996, he began teaching karate throughout Howard and Montgomery Counties. In 2006, he opened the Okinawan Karate Dojo (formerly known as Ellicott City Fitness and Karate). Sensei Stanley has competed in international tournaments all over the world (Japan, Canada, United States, Argentina, and more) and has won 1st place in the Heavy Weight division of kumite (sparring) multiple times. His attention to detail and application can also be found in his study of kata, as he has been a top-finisher in this event in several all-style, international/invitational tournaments.
Having completed certified courses in Reiki (the ancient art of healing and therapeutic touch) under Dr. Rik Lostritto, Ph.D, Sensei Stanley works to strike a balance in his understanding, training, and instruction of the hard and soft aspects of karate. On a personal note, Stanley has certifications in CPR and First Aid, worked for 22 years in the healthcare industry, is a fitness/bootcamp instructor, and a Spartan Racer! Since 1996, he has facilitated Bridges and Helping Hands mentorship programs, in-school karate/leadership training, and has been an active/involved HCPSS business partner and PTA member with more than 10 schools in Howard County and 2 schools in Baltimore City. Stanley is married with three kids.
Sensei Mark Gaspar
Mark Gaspar began studying Uechi-ryu in 1981 under Sensei Bob Galeone in Annapolis, Maryland, and continued his training under Marty Dow in Takoma Park, Maryland. After suspending his formal training for several years, Mark returned to his training and joined the Okinawan Karate Dojo in Ellicott City in 2006. Mark currently holds the rank of Rokudan, 6th degree black belt that he earned in July 2019.
Over the years, Mark has attended numerous training sessions where he has received advanced training from several of the world’s most respected Uechi-ryu masters, including Kiyohide Shinjo, Narahiro Shinjo, James Thompson, Kanmei Uechi, and Shinyu Gushi. Mark is a partner in a Baltimore law firm and is also an owner/operator of the Okinawan Karate Dojo. He is married with 3 kids.
Robert Wilkie graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science studying Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics. He began training in martial arts his senior year (Fall 2013) and started studying Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. He has trained in a mix of other styles including Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do, Boxing, and Judo/Jujutsu at the UMD Black Belt Club before joining the Okinawan Karate Club where he was first introduced to Uechi-Ryu. Both clubs helped Robert discover his passion for the martial arts. After graduating, he joined the Okinawan Karate Dojo in August 2014.
He left the scientific industry to become the full-time head instructor in September 2016. He earned his Shodan (1st degree black belt) in July 2017, competed in the 1st International Karate Tournament in Okinawa, Japan in August 2018, and earned his Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in July 2019. He also trains in Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai (traditional Okinawan weapons) under Sensei Masakazu Kinjo and is the instructor for our Kobudo classes.
Connor Witt is a 28 year old, lifelong Karate student. He began studying at age 4 in Taekwondo, and quickly switched to Karate at age 5. He studied for 7 years before being awarded his black belt in Hayashi-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do. After taking a break through middle school from training, Connor picked the mantle of study back up in the style of Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu, in which he earned his second, 1st degree black belt. He earned his shodan (1st degree black belt) in Uechi-Ryu in July 2019.
After High School, Connor joined the US Army, and served as a Paratrooper for the 173rd Airborne Combat Brigade, stationed in Vicenza Italy. He served 1 deployment in Afghanistan, and left the military shortly after returning. Connor now strives to grow with his surroundings, finding joy participating with the community and comfort in his continuing study of the martial arts.
Sarah Litman is a Registered Nurse, Certified Health Coach, Certified Child Care Director and Child Care Teacher. She worked at the University of Maryland Medical Center as a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse for over 8 years, prior to taking time off from (paid) work to raise her two children. She has been studying Uechi-Ryu karate since 2018 and holds the rank of Yonkyu (green belt with a stripe). She is often in karate class with her husband, son, and daughter – who are also students of the dojo. Sarah has been office administrator and assistant instructor at The Okinawan Karate Dojo since June of 2018. She has a passion for connecting with and supporting the female students at The Okinawan Karate Dojo, and providing training and social opportunities just for them. Outside of the dojo, Sarah enjoys reading, hiking, horseback riding, and spending time with her adorable mini-Bernedoodle pup.
Brianna Avery is currently a senior at Centennial High School and a student at Howard Community College. She is attending Towson University starting in the Fall of 2020. She is double majoring in Elementary Education and Deaf Studies and minoring in Special Education. Brianna has been assistant instructing since 2019 and holds the rank of Nikyu (Brown Belt + 1 Stripe). Outside of martial arts, Brianna enjoys American Sign Language, painting and volunteering.
Kobi Crump has been a member of the Okinawan Karate Dojo since he was three years old. He received his Shodan (first-degree black belt) in 2017 at the Florida Koshukai and his Nidan (second-degree black belt) in November 2019. He became a member of the OKD teaching staff in 2016. He currently attends Howard Community College. Outside of the dojo, he is a referee for all ages of basketball and he loves to play as well! Two of his favorite pastimes are spending time with his friends and brother, Avery, and playing video games.
Gabi is a Shodan (first-degree black belt) and is a graduate of our STORM program. She has been practicing karate since 2013. She decided to quit circus school so she could learn karate, because she learned how she could apply karate to her every day life.
Karate is one of her many extracurricular activities besides trumpet, jazz, and piano.
Since graduating from the STORM program, She has learned about different things, such as being a role model, a teacher, and a fellow student. Her favorite thing about being on the STORM team was seeing karate from the eyes of a teacher, as well as a student.
Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt).
Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt)
Seth began studying Uechi-Ryu in 2013 under Sensei Stanley Crump and is currently a Shodan (1st degree black belt). Before Uechi-ryu, he trained in Tae Kwon Do and Jiu-jitsu for three years. Gaining experience in multiple styles has provided him with principles that allows him to balance all aspects of life. Balancing a busy school schedule while continuing to train has conditioned Seth for the world beyond high school. The discipline that he has gained from martial arts has positively impacted his academic, social, and work life.
Tara was first introduced to Uechi-ryu in Largo, Florida, under Sensei Ric Martin in January of 1997. She was in search of a traditional style of martial arts that encompassed both hard and soft techniques, which she found in Uechi-ryu. She trained under Ric through Yonkyu before relocating north. Now settled in Maryland, Tara trains and teaches at the Okinawan Karate Dojo. She earned her Shodan in December 2011, her Nidan in March of 2013 and her Sandan in July of 2015 under Sensei Stanley Crump. Tara has also trained with some of the world’s most respected Uechi-ryu masters, including Kiyohide Shinjo, Narahiro Shinjo, James Thompson, and Shinyu Gushi. She feels fortunate to be able to share her passion for Uechi-ryu in teaching at OKD.
Craig began studying Uechi-ryu in 2010 at Ellicott City Fitness and Karate under Sensei Stanley Crump. Craig currently holds the rank of Sandan, 3rd degree black belt, which he earned in July 2017. Craig has attended training sessions throughout the world, and placed as a top-finisher in tournaments in the U.S, Canada, and Argentina. He has been active as a mentor and instructor in the HCPSS since 2011, and facilitates fitness boot camps in Howard County. Like his fellow instructors, Craig continues to refine his own practice of martial arts, travelling to receive advanced training from the world’s most respected Uechi-Ryu masters, including Kiyohide Shinjo, Narahiro Shinjo, James Thompson, and Shinyu Gushi.
WHAT IS UECHI-RYU KARATE?
Uechi-Ryu is a traditional Okinawan style of karate developed by Kanbun Uechi in the early 1900’s, following Kanbun’s training for a number of years in China. On May 5, 1877 Kanbun Uechi was born in Izumi, a small village in the Takinto mountain area on the Motobu peninsula of northern Okinawa. Read more