Carol Burris

Master Carol Burris, Ku-Dan (9th Degree Black Belt), began training in 1976 under the instruction of J.C. Burris. She was awarded the rank of Shodan in 1978 by Master Harold Long and J.C. Burris.

A quick and strong natural martial artist, she had great success as a tournament competitor. Her quickness and technique made her almost “automatic” in kata, kumite, and weapons competition. She accumulated over 200 1st and 2nd place trophies during her competitive career. The IIKA Nationals, Battle of Atlanta, Battle of Nashville, and Ben Kiker’s southern tournaments were a few of her wins.

As an instructor, Sensei Burris is without question one of the best. Her greatest asset is the uncanny ability to motivate students. Her students are always well disciplined with excellent technique, and they believe they are the best.  As an instructor, Burris believes that students must like what they are doing to be successful, so making training fun without losing any of the rigor or discipline, makes students look forward to coming back to class for the next session. Sensei Burris has learned her lessons well, and she applies what she has learned to ensure that her students succeed.

Master Burris organized “Ladies of Isshin‑ryu” in 1994 for the purpose of inspiring women to be more than casual members of an Isshin‑ryu school. She stressed that women could be leaders in their dojos, within their communities through the martial arts, and within the larger national arena of Isshin‑ryu. Since her efforts started years ago, much progress has been made by women in the martial arts, and Isshin‑ryu in particular. This is not to say that the progress is the result of her efforts alone, but she was one woman who had a message and exerted the leadership.

On January 15, 1994, Sensei Burris became the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Roku-Dan (6th degree Black Belt) by the Board of Directors of the International Isshin‑ryu Karate Association after an intense review. In 2010 she was promoted to the rank of Hachi-Dan (8th degree Black Belt), and in 2022 she was promoted to the rank of Ku-Dan (9th degree Black Belt) by the International Isshin‑ryu Karate Association.

Among her honors was being recognized as one of four “Isshin‑ryu Women Pioneers” at the 2018 KIAI Grand Nationals. She represented the legacy of Master Harold Long. She has received multiple Hall of Fame awards and inductions, but the most meaningful was her 1998 induction into the prestigious Isshin‑ryu Hall of Fame.

She continues to be active teaching seminars as well as promoting Ladies of Isshin‑ryu, the Isshin‑ryu Hall of Fame, and the International Isshin‑ryu Karate Association. Sensei Burris currently lives in Cartersville, Georgia, with her fellow IIKA Board member and husband J.C Burris.