The Kosho School of Karate is a division of Pine Tree Group LLC, and is owned and operated by David Hamann, Bob Volz, and Nate England. The school is home to several world-class martial arts instructors, who can always be found at the school during business hours (and often beyond!). Those currently teaching and training include:
David Hamann, Sensei 8th Degree Black Belt
David Hamann began his karate training on October 31, 1973 at the age of 20 under Sensei Phillip Koeppel, Shorei-ryu Chief Instructor. Hamann enrolled in the newly opened Pekin, Illinois dojo, one of several schools Sensei Koeppel operated across the central United States. Soon after his promotion to yellow belt, Hamann began business management training with plans of some day operating one of Sensei Koeppel’s schools. For the next six years Hamann studied karate under Master Koeppel and his black belt students. Hamann also began teaching and operated several of Sensei Koeppel’s dojos in Peoria, Pekin, Cleveland, Dayton, and Champaign, IL.
During this time, Mr. Hamann traveled the United States Karate Association (USKA) tournament circuit, competing in national and international competitions; taking first place 22 times, second place 11 times and third place 6 times. Hamann competed within other organizations including the PKC and AAU, and in numerous Phil Koeppel Schools of Karate inter-dojo tournaments.
David Hamann left the karate business in May 1980 to pursue a design degree at the University of Cincinnati (U.C.). Upon arriving in Cincinnati, Hamann introduced himself to Shuri-Ryu Chief Instructor Michael Awad, requesting permission to train with him, his brothers and students. Hamann was welcomed as a standing member and instructor at Sensei Awad’s Kosho School Karate School.
While attending U.C., Hamann completed design internships in Columbus, Ohio where he organized a karate club and taught for nine months; and in Winchester, Virginia where he taught advanced students at the Tom Glass Karate Club for six months.
David Hamann graduated from U.C. in June 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design. Upon graduation, he took a position with Index Design Associates in Cincinnati. For the following nine years, Hamann continued to train with Michael Awad and students. He also maintained a dojo at the design office where he worked – for personal training and occasional employee lessons.
In June 1993 David Hamann started his own product design business, David Hamann Design, and in January 1994, with a small group of students, he opened the Northside Karate Club in the historic Northside district of Cincinnati. During this time, Hamann continued to train with Master Koeppel and with the Awad’s, which he continues to do to this day.
Over the years, David Hamann taught and influenced hundreds of students in many locations, and continued to compete in tournaments across the country.
David Hamann holds the following rank, honors and positions:
8th Degree Black Belt in Shuri-Ryu Karate
Style Head of Shuri Ryu Karate for the United States Karate Do Kai (USKK)
Double-Axe award recipient – distinguished student of Master Phillip Koeppel
Bushido International Society member – outstanding competitor award, USKK
Ohio State Representative, USKK
President, Life Membership Society, USKK
Member, United States Karate-do Kai association (USKK)
Robert Volz 5th Degree Black Belt
Though he had heard about karate in grade school and high school, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Karate had not yet become commercialized, and there were not many dojos in the area. However in 1976 he finally got his chance to study. He started with Sensei Michael Awad at the dojo in his Elm Street family home. This dojo was in a large two car garage, a wood deck for the workout area, weights, and canvas heavy bags.
During this early period of his training, he was able to meet various famous karate masters who visited the dojo including Robert Trias, Jerry Narlock, Ross Scott and after 9 months of training James McLain visited to help review him and the other students for yellow belt. Sensei Awad was in the prime of his competition career at this time, meaning that the training was always intense.
The date 1981 was one to remember, Sensei Awad found a new location for the dojo. It was a lot of work for the main members of the school, but after four or five months of work, they had the Grand Opening. The new school was open to the public, and much larger than the old home dojo. This was a very fine facility, with an expanded workout area, a larger weight-lifting area, locker room and showers. There were many students at this Dojo and Mr. Volz was assigned to teach a class once a week, which was a great experience for him.
Sensei Awad frequently invited other schools from the area to come workout with at the group, however they would only come once. They always had a hard time making it through the workout. At the end of the session, everyone would kumite, Sensei Awad would always pick out the toughest or the highest rank to spar first, and would knock the wind out of them or knock them down within 30 seconds. In Volz’ words, “I do give those schools credit for coming, most of the schools in our area will never workout with us if they have been invited by Sensei Awad.” It was during this period that Sensei David Hamann, already a black belt under Master Phillip Koeppel in Peoria, IL made his first visit to train at the school.
After only a few years, Sensei Awad purchased a new Dojo at 2121 Beechmont Avenue, the current location of the school. No more rent, this Dojo was ours! It was in the heart of town and had a lot of potential, however it was much larger and needed a lot of work. For many months, Volz and the other members worked hard until the school was finally ready. The Grand Opening for the new school was in June of 1983, but it was to be much larger than the previous opening, as Master Robert A. Trias was in attendance. There was a closing ceremony of the old Dojo, with a procession from the old Dojo to the new one. This was a very fine ceremony, following was a seminar and a banquet. It was a nice experience for all those involved.
The new Dojo was considered to be one of the finest in the world. Many more students joined and the main core of our Dojo has also grown. Sensei David Hamann was now living in the area and training at the school regularly. Some of the best Karate men in the country visited the school, and Mr. Volz was there for all of them. This includes additional visits by Grandmaster Robert Trias, Master Phillip Koeppel, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, Takayoshi Nagamine, John Pachivas, John Jelks, James McLain, Tex Cobb, and many more.
The Dojo is not far from Mr. Robert Bowles’ Dojo in Ft. Wayne, Indiana allowing Mr. Volz and the other members to easily compete in his tournaments. Volz was in attendance when Sensei Michael E. Awad won the Grand Champion of Mr. Bowles’ tournament of 1985.
In Volz’ words, “I want to thank Master Robert A. Trias for spreading such a complete system of karate in the United States. Shuri Ryu is a system that may be studied for a life time. Also, I would like to thank Sensei Michel E. Awad for his knowledge and the time he has given me over the years. Also his brothers Mr. Richard Awad and Mr. Thomas Awad and my fellow karateka.”
In 2013, Sensei Awad retired from actively teaching the martial arts and running the school. In February of 2014, Robert Volz, Sensei David Hamann, and Nate England took over ownership and management of the school. Mr. Volz continues to teach weekly at the school, passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation.
Nate England 5th Degree Black Belt
Nate England began studying traditional Okinawan and Japanese martial arts in October of 1995 at the Academy of Okinawan Karate in Peoria, IL under I.S.A Shuri Ryu Chief Instructor, Shihan Joseph Walker. As a brown belt he began joining in staff meetings, and became the school’s student manager. Mr. England studied all the martial arts taught at the school including Karate, Kobudo, Judo, and sword. He was promoted to black belt in August 2000.
That year Mr. England entered the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, IL to pursue a degree in architecture. Finding no martial arts groups to train with, he founded the University of Illinois Shuri Ryu Karate Club. He remained the head instructor of this club until 2007. In 2003 he entered Miami University in Oxford, OH to pursue a Masters Degree in Architecture. From 2003-2005 he ran the Miami University Shuri Ryu Karate Organization. Both of these University clubs produced many excellent karate practitioners. During his time at Miami University, Mr. England would occasionally make the trip from Oxford to Cincinnati to train at the Kosho School of Karate.
In order to further his training and understanding of traditional martial arts, Mr. England lived in Okinawa, Japan (the birthplace of karate) from July 2007 to May 2010. During that time, he was able to train with many of the top Martial Artists in Japan and Okinawa. He spent the most time studying Kishaba Juku Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu with Katsuhiko Shinzato, Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo at the Mei Sui Kan Dojo with Chosho Fukuhara, Iaido with the Okinawan Iaido Club with Tadashi Takeda and Kenji Nakaima, and Shidokan Shorin Ryu at the Shidokan Honbu Dojo with the senior students of Katsuya Miyahira (Including: Meiyu Takara, Morinobu Maeshiro, Minoru Makishi, Seiyu Nakamura, and several others!). Mr. England regularly returns to Japan for training and certification.
In 2010 Mr. England returned to the United States, landing in Cincinnati, OH and began training regularly at the Kosho School of Karate under Shuri Ryu Chief Instructor, Sensei Michael Awad, Sensei David Hamann, and the other senior instructors. In 2013, Sensei Awad retired from actively teaching the martial arts. In February of 2014, Sensei David Hamann, Robert Volz, and Nate England took over ownership and management of the school.
Mr. England has traveled extensively throughout the United States to train with top notch instructors. He has also traveled internationally including Canada, 6 trips to Japan and Okinawa, living in Okinawa for 3 years, and in 2012 he toured South Africa with Yoshio Kuba, Imtiaz Abdulla, and Miwa Kanazawa to help promote traditional karate in the country.
Mr. England also hosts a weekly martial arts podcast, Chop Talk which focuses on Karate, traditional martial arts, and Japanese culture. Guests include Shuri Ryu Chief Instructor Michael Awad, head of the Okinawan Kenpokai and Goju Ryu Instructor Yoshio Kuba, and karate legend James McLain.
England holds the following ranks in the martial arts:
5th Degree Black Belt in Shuri-Ryu Karate
“Tachi “(3rd /4 th Degree Black Belt) in Okinawan Kobudo (Weapons)
4th Degree Black Belt in Shindo Muso Ryu Jo-Do (Short Staff)
3rd Degree Black Belt in Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate
Black Belt (Degrees not awarded) in Kishaba Juku Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu Karate
1st Degree Black Belt in Iai Do (Japanese Sword)
1st Degree Brown Belt in Judo (Japanese Grappling)
Marcos Sastre 6th Degree Black Belt
Mr. Sastre been practicing martial arts in 1973, under Chester Richardson in the Shuri Open System where he was introduced to basic karate knowledge, procedure and technique.
In 1975, he met Sensei Michael Awad and began training with him in Shuri Ryu at the newly founded Kosho School of Karate. As one of Sensei Awad’s original students, Mr. Sastre has been with the school since the beginning and has seen all of its many changes: The original Elm Street Dojo in the basement of Sensei Awad’s family home, the small Sherman Avenue Dojo, the Beechmont Dojo, and the current version of the school headed by Sensei Hamann.
The principles he learned in karate became a guide to conducting himself in business, society, family, and every aspect of life. According to Mr. Sastre, “Karate is like a friend. It is with you when crisis occurs in life. The influence of Karate-Do (physical, mental, and spiritual) becomes a part of you, as Karate-Do is life long.”
In addition to being a lifelong martial artist, Mr. Sastre is also a professional musician, and can be seen with his band, the Bluebirds, throughout Cincinnati.
Bill Gangloff 5th Degree Black Belt
Evan Jones 1st Degree Black Belt
Tom Awad, Jr. 1st Degree Black Belt
PAST INSTRUCTORS (Shown in alphabetical order per rank.)
Kosho School of Karate instructors that have retired, are not currently teaching at the school, or are deceased include:
Sensei Michael Awad 8th Degree Black Belt
Thomas Awad Sr 7th Degree Black Belt (Deceased)
Richard Awad 6th Degree Black Belt
Tony Awad 5th Degree Black Belt
Richard Berwanger 4th Degree Black Belt
Photo of 1992-93 USKK Heavy Weight Kumite National Champion, Richard Berwanger (right), with Sensei Michael Awad (left).
Mike Davis 4th Degree Black Belt (Deceased)
Jim Simmons 4th Degree Black Belt
Dennis Swingley 4th Degree Black Belt
Randy Alley 2nd Degree Black Belt (Deceased)
Shawn Lenhart 2nd Degree Black Belt
Gerry Sexton 2nd Degree Black Belt
David Swingley 2nd Degree Black Belt
John VanFossen 2nd Degree Black Belt
Adrian Awad 1st Degree Black Belt
Barry Ershwinger 1st Degree Black Belt
Kim Hagerty 1st Degree Black Belt (Deceased)
Barry Kirby 1st Degree Black Belt
Tom Nerswick 1st Degree Black Belt
Grant Numrich 1st Degree Black Belt
Glen Smith 1st Degree Black Belt
Members currently assisting classes are:
Jason Spurlock: 1st Degree Brown Belt in Karate
Joe Thompson: 2nd Degree Brown Belt in Karate
Akhmed Aushev: 3rd Degree Brown Belt in Karate
Paul Tarvin: Purple Belt in Karate, 2nd Degree Black Belt in Jo-Do
Tom Dougherty: Purple Belt in Karate, 1st Degree Black Belt in Jo-D0
Ben Spector: Purple Belt in Karate
Becky Kelly: Green Belt in Karate
Note: We are continuing to compile and update the Instructors List. If you, or someone you know, received a black belt at the Kosho School of Karate but do not appear on this list, please send an e-mail containing your name, rank, photo, and a short karate bio to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.