Master Wheeler and
his wife, Ruth
Mr. Allen Wheeler, passed
away February 14, 2005 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville.
He was 85.
Mr. Wheeler was born October 11th, 1919 in Knoxville. Mr. Wheeler
served his country in the United States Army in the European
Theater during World War two. He was an automatic rifleman and
hand to hand combat instructor in the Army.
For over 57 years Allen Wheeler extensively studied and taught
self-defense and the history of karate. As a Karate Master,
he served as a leader and positive role model, teaching personal
improvement to people of all ages, races and backgrounds. Master
Wheeler believed Karate would be a good way to attract young
people, and instill in them the values of self-improvement,
goal setting, hard work and good citizenship.
Mr. Wheeler’s was a hand-to-hand combat instructor during WWII.
He began his training in Isshin-ryu karate in 1961. He opened
Wheeler’s School of Karate in 1971 in Powell TN. Mr. Wheeler
started the first Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle in
a Karate School in the United States. His family is active in
karate, his wife, daughter, son and grandson are all black belts,
making three generations of karate experts.
Allen Wheeler excelled as a teacher of Isshin-ryu Karate. He
authored and co-authored 6 books. The first book published in
1978 has sold over 100,000 copies.
Master Wheeler founded the “Okinawan Karate Do Union” in 1987;
it is an association of Martial Artists with members across
the United States and many countries around the world. Internationally
recognized martial arts experts from all over the world came
to visit and train with Master Wheeler and his students in Powell
TN. The techniques and theories taught and practiced at his
school make it one of the most advanced, on-going martial arts
instructional activities in the United States.
His students saw him as a leader in life as well as karate.
He helped many people through the most difficult of life’s challenges.
He had many longtime students that trained under his direction
for over 30 years. They said, “The depth of his knowledge and
the size of his character made him a true master of Isshin-ryu
Master Wheeler explored a connection between martial arts and
traditional Chinese medicine. This study discovered ways of
helping people with a wide variety of ailments. Master Wheeler
encouraged his students to study this area further and find
more ways of helping people. Many of his students have developed
skills in healing. Some work with cancer patients and help relieve
pain and the side effects of chemotherapy. Others work with
hospice groups and Church based healing organizations. Many
others just help those who they meet in daily life with whatever
problem they have. His students tell of how this teaching has
changed their lives for the better.
Master Wheeler felt that helping people was far more important
than fighting. He would say that when you help someone you can
make a friend and that is the best defense of all.
The recognition and awards he received are too numerous to list
in total so a few of his accomplishments are:
PhD, in Karate, awarded by the, “College of Yudansha” of the
World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, July 9, 1988.
Ju Dan (10th Degree Black Belt) July 8, 1993.
He was awarded, “Headfounder of the Year” in 2000 by the World
Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
He was inducted into the International Karate and Kickboxing
Hall of Fame in 1993.
The Hawaii Martial Arts International Society honored Master
Allen Wheeler with the “Golden Lifetime Achievement Award.”
They also designated the Okinawan Karate Do Union the 2003 “Organization
of the Year.”
He was inducted into the International Isshin-ryu Karate Association
Hall of Fame 1983.
He received the “Master Shimabuku Award” from the Okinawan Karate
Master Wheeler was past president of the International Isshin-ryu
Karate Association and the Okinawan Karate Do Union.
Twice Master Wheeler was chosen by his peers as the Instructor
of the Year.