John Roseberry Shihan started teaching martial arts in 1969 and he opened his first dojo in Lincoln NE in 1972. After over forty years of teaching in Nebraska, in August of 2013, Shihan moved to Virginia to be closer to his family. At that time, the hombu dojo for the SRSBK Budo Organization changed from the Lincoln Dojo to the new headquarters at 13478 Naylors Blue Drive in Chester, Virginia.

John Roseberry-Shihan featured in Star City Sports


Lincoln, Nebraska Martial-Arts Pioneer Honored At Madison Square Garden Event

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--Many people would say that a martial-arts, national treasure has, for years, lived a quiet and unassuming life in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unlike many would-be grand masters, John Roseberry has humbly sought answers on the floor of his dojo, and has trained and taught Asian martial arts for the past fifty five years. He has never sought fame, fortune and has consistently shunned the limelight.

On January 17th, John Roseberry was honored for his contributions to the martial arts by the World Professional Martial Arts Organization headquartered in New York City. Two years before, Roseberry had been inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame. The honorary award was presented to Roseberry in the company of hundreds of martial-arts teachers at a ceremony held in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Roseberry-Shihan (title: Master of Teachers) has been training and teaching martial arts longer than most of the self-appointed Grand Masters have been alive", said Chairman of the WPMA Aaron Banks. “He was sweating on the dojo floor when most of today’s Grand Masters were having their diapers changed."

John Roseberry, a career Marine, started training Judo in 1955, and started to train Okinawan Karate in 1956. Prior to training in the Asian martial arts, Roseberry was a Golden Gloves boxer and was the All Armed Services heavyweight boxing champion. Roseberry, stationed in Okinawa, began his martial journey in 1955, and has continued to actively train and teach Asian martial arts for the next fifty-five years.

As a Marine, he was the All Marine Judo champion seven times, and captured the All Services Judo title three times. In 1964 he was the heavyweight alternate for the U.S. Olympic Judo team. Despite all of these competitive achievements, Roseberry says he most cherishes his being the first and only non-Asian to win the Okinawan Judo Championship.

Roseberry trains, teaches, and holds advanced black belt rankings in a number of different martial disciplines including: 10th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate; 8th Degree Black Belt in Judo; 3rd Degree Black Belt in Aikido, and a number of other senior ranks in Daitoryu, Kobudo, and Iaido.

Being in the military was key in Roseberry’s exposure to a wide array of martial arts. He served in both the Korean War and in Vietnam. He was a hand-to-hand and unarmed combat instructor for the Marines and retired at the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. In addition to his teaching throughout North America, Roseberry has taught martial arts in Okinawa, Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Europe and Israel.

For this legacy of training and teaching, Roseberry was honored at the gala event held in Madison Square Garden. There, he received commendation and a special achievement award for the thousands of students who have been exposed to the martial arts because of his community outreach and consistent teaching of traditional Asian martial arts. The award was accepted by Leon Swain, Sensei of a Maryland-based dojo who is a long-time student of Roseberry’s, and is Sensei of a dojo that belongs to Roseberry’s Lincoln-based organization—the Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan Budo Organization.

Shihan (Roseberry) is like this best-kept secret living in the middle of the country, said Swain. “Here, back East, once people hear about him and know what he’s done, everyone wants to meet him, wants to train with him, and he has kind of turned into this legend. He never toots his own horn, and especially here back East, that is unusual. Funny though how he has attained a sort of celebrity status despite he has never promoted himself.

According to all of his senior students, Roseberry believes totally in the martial arts and their ability to solve problems and fix lives. According to his students, he often says, “All the answers are on the floor, that meaning the floor of the dojo where martial artists train. His Lincoln dojo is the oldest and largest dojo in the Midwest. The hundreds of students who train there include a rich diversity: from CEO’s to laborers—cops to psychologists, at-risk teens and middle-age soccer moms. All share in common their training, and the dojo floor.

In 2008 the World Professional Martial Arts Organization, in another Madison Square Gardens event, had inducted John Roseberry in their Martial Arts Hall of Fame. True to form, Roseberry did not attend, and had a senior student accept the award in his stead.

Sho-Rei-Shobu-Kan featured in Star City Sports


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