Larry J. Rota, Chief Instructor
Mr. Rota began training with ISKF Mid-America Region Chief Instructor Greer Golden in 1981 at his private dojo Karate Columbus. Prior to his karate training, Mr. Rota was encouraged by a close friend who was already a member of the club, to observe a class in the dojo. Coming from a background of participating in traditional American sport, he recognized the sincere effort given by coaches and students in training. Although the traditions and techniques displayed were unfamiliar, he was impressed by the aesthetics and power demonstrated by the class.
Membership with Karate Columbus quickly followed. Though he had many excellent coaches as a young man, he was soon inspired by the extraordinary teaching skills possessed by Mr. Golden and so committed himself to training under his guidance. As Mr. Golden moved his focus to the Ohio State University Shotokan Karate Club, he followed by joining that outstanding club. Ultimately, through dedicated and difficult training, he received his JKA/ISKF shodan from Master Teruyuki Okazaki in under 24 months.
As the years passed, the University's policy toward non-student participation changed and it became necessary to find new ways to train. Thankfully, in 2000 the opportunity to join the relatively new Columbus Shotokan Karate club emerged as an alternative. Soon thereafter in 2003, Mr. Rota was asked by senior members to undertake the duties of head instructor and he has remained in that role ever since. The ISKF/MAK is the only karate organization of which he has been a member and he plans to continue contributing in that role training for advancement, instructing and participating to expand Karate in Columbus and throughout the region.
"I am pleased to introduce our great Assistant Instructors. Their experience and commitment to our organization and the members of Columbus Shotokan Karate assures a confidence future for us all."
~Larry J. Rota, Chief Instructor
Sean Mahoney, Assistant Instructor
Sean started his martial arts journey in 1981 in Toledo Ohio. He was fascinated with Kung Fu but had no access to an instructor or school. He found a dojo that taught Shotokan karate and eagerly became a member of the ITKF. He studied karate and played multiple other sports while growing up. He went to college and played football but was able to continue to train at a local dojo. After college he returned to Toledo to pursue further education and started training with Sensei Randy Rall. Sean received his Shodan from Master Nishiyama in 1993 during a training seminar at Sugiyama Sensei's Dojo in Chicago. From there he was encouraged to start teaching back what he had been given over the past 12 years. With the help of Mr. Rall he started teaching a class at the University of Toledo that gave students university physical education credits.
After completing his professional education, Sean worked throughout the country and was able to train with wonderful people. He was able to study with Master Nishiyama in Los Angeles, Sensei's Tagamori and Wantanabe in Hawaii, and Sensei Cline in Seattle. He came back to the Midwest and settled in Columbus. He quickly affiliated himself with the Mid America Karate Association while training at The Ohio State University. Through this training with the OSU club he obtained his Nidan under Master Okazaki. He became active in the Mid America kumite and kata teams competing in regional and national tournaments under the coaching of Sensei Golden and Sensei Vaughan.
Sean continues to pursue enlightenment of body and mind through karate. He continues to train to advance his knowledge, ranking and participation on the Mid American tournament teams. His goals are to pass on what he has been taught, compete in regional and national tournaments, and become a certified instructor. He is proud to train with The Columbus Shotokan Club and be a member of the Mid America Karate Association.
Neal Frazier, Assistant Instructor
Neal spent 5 years of his childhood in Tokyo as a military dependent. He began karate at age 16 at Marshall University karate club under Prof. Wendell Sweetser. While there he trained, competed and tested throughout the ISKF Mid-America region and received his black belt in 1986 from Sensei Greer Golden. Both of these instructors had a transforming influence on his life.
After transferring to, and graduating from, the University of Buffalo he received a Japanese Government (Monbusho) Scholarship to study history at Kanazawa University in Japan. There he joined the University karate club, trained under Sensei Mukai, spent 2 weeks training at JKA headquarters with the likes of Sensei Richard Amos, and placed 1st in Team Kumite at the Ishikawa Prefectural Championships in 1991.
After returning to the US he moved to Denver, Colorado and trained under Sensei Yaguchi from 1992-1993, an impactful experience that continues to resonate. While there he landed a job with a Japanese corporation and returned to Tokyo from 1993-1996. During 60-hour work weeks his boss, a judoka, allowed him time to train at JKA headquarters 1-2 times/week under phenomenal instruction.
After returning to the States in 1996 he transitioned to the medical field in Arizona while training locally, and eventually returned to the ISKF Mid-America region in 2004 by way of Columbus, Ohio where Sensei Vaughan and Sensei Oberschlake continue to refine his karate. He lives in Westerville with his wife and kids and trains locally at the Columbus Shotokan Karate Club.