Walter Dailey

Hanshi 10th Dan. Founding member US Rengokai. Board of Directors

Kaicho, Zenshu-Ha Shorinji-Ryu Karate Do
60 years experience.

Sensei Walter Dailey III was born in Philadelphia in 1940.  As a young boy, Walt was intrigued by a book called “What is Karate?” written by Oyama Masutatsu. Throughout his schoolyears, Walt was determined to someday seek out the island of Okinawa and fulfil his dream of learning karate. He also had a keen interest in joining the U.S. Navy and becoming part of the UDT (underwater demolition team). He prepared for that day through constant physical workouts, weight lifting, and gymnastics.  In spite of his UDT dream, Sensei Dailey ultimately joined the U.S. Army Airborne program in 1959.  He was sent to Electronic Technician School, and went through Jump School at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.  He was then assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, but in 1960 he volunteered for attachment to the 2nd Battalion/503rd Airborne Brigade in Okinawa. Walt was overjoyed with the transfer because it gave him the opportunity to fulfill his lifetime karate dream.

On Okinawa, Sensei Dailey fell in love with the people and the culture.  Not long after his arrival on Okinawa, Walt located his teacher Shimabukuro Zenryo Sensei (founder of Seibukan Shorin-ji Karate Do).  Sensei Shimabukuro had studied under the legendary karate master Kyan Chotoku, and was teaching with his son Zenpo at the Stillwell Field gymnasium in Sukuran (the U.S. Army military base). Sensei Dailey began his studies at the gymnasium, and would often work out at the Shimabukuro home or in an adjacent tomb area next to the house (the Seibukan hombu Dojo was not yet under construction). This small beginning under Shimabukuro Zenryo was the catalyst that got Sensei Dailey hooked for life. He became part of the Shimabukuro family, and to this day Walt refers to O’Sensei Shimabukuro Zenryo as “Papa.”

Sensei Dailey helped the Shimabukuro family built the hombu dojo near their home in Jagaru. He attended many demonstrations and had the opportunity to meet, share with, and demonstrate before several very well-known Okinawan Karate masters such as Nakamura Shigeru, Nakama Chozo, Chibana Chosin and Nakazato Joen. When he left Okinawa at the end of his tour, he was given the Shimabukuro family title of “Zenshu,” along with the authority to bring Seibukan to America.

In 1962, Sensei Dailey started the first Seibukan Karate dojo in America in Norwood, PA.  In 1963, he brought Zenryo’s son Zenpo from Okinawa to assist him in operating the new dojo and he continued to grow his students in the Newark, NJ area.  In 1965, Sensei Dailey returned to the honbu dojo in Okinawa and trained with Zenryo Sensei for another 2 years. He was promoted to Yondan (4th degree black belt) on December 6, 1966. 

In 1971, Sensei Dailey opened another Seibukan Dojo in Edgemont, PA. Business growth was going well on the east coast, so he then started three more dojos in the Philadelphia region: Marcos Hook, Villanova University, and Lansdale.  He also taught schools in the Delaware area: Wilmington, New Castle, and the University of Delaware.

In 1976, a serious automobile accident almost brought his martial arts training and activity to an end. It was only through his desire to continue with the love of his life that allowed him to return, but in a limited physical capacity.  

In 1981, Sensei Dailey moved west to Grand Junction, CO. He remained there for a couple of years and co-founded the Budokan Martial Arts Academy.  He was able to instruct the karate portion of the Academy which included classes in Aikido, Shorinji Ryu Karate, Judo, Shorinji Kenpo, and Japanese Kendo.

In 1984, Walter returned to Philadelphia, and in 1996, he became the Executive Producer and writer of the periodical called “Bugeisha: Traditional Martial Artist.”  The magazine spotlighted and featured the world’s most knowledgeable martial artists. 

Sensei Dailey also founded and operated a business called “Kemco, Kobudo Equipment Manufacturing Co.”  He produced high quality Kobudo weapons for many years before relocating to the warmer climate of Florida.  Sensei Dailey has been a serious student of Okinawan martial arts history for nearly 60 years. 

In 1997 he was approached by Tim Rodgers and Angel Lemus at his home in Pennsylvania and after discussing the future of Karate after the Seibukan North American Branch dissolved, he agreed to be support them both and traveled to  Morristown Tennessee on March 1st, 1997 for the founding of the Zentokukai and has been a part of the organization as their councilor ever since.

He is affiliated with Shorin-Ryu Zentokukai Tode (Timothy Rogers, Hanshi 10th Dan), Takahashi-Ha Shuri-Te (Garry O’Conner, Hanshi 10 Dan), Koshinkan Karate Kobudo Kyokai (Kazuo Hoshiyama, Hanshi 10th Dan), and Kyante Ha Shorinji-Ryu Karate-Do (Larry Hall, Hanshi, 10th Dan). 

Sensei Dailey currently holds the rank and title of 10th Dan, Hanshi and is on the Board of Directors of the United States Okinawa Karate Kobujitsu Rengokai

Contact Walter Dailey