Master Phillip McElroy Ku-Dan (9th Degree Black Belt) started his martial arts training in 1966 at the Nashville Dojo under Denny Shaffer, who was teaching Kung Fu at that time. In 1967 the Nashville Dojo attended one of the largest tournaments in the South in Chattanooga, TN. It was at that tournament that he met Master Harold Long. Mr. Long offered Denny Shaffer his help and the school changed to Isshin-ryu a few months later. Master McElroy was promoted to black belt in 1969 and had the honor of being the first black belt promoted by Mr. Shaffer. Master McElroy continued to teach, train, and compete throughout the 1970-1980s at the Nashville Dojo. He was a successful competitor, winning first place in the Southeastern tournament in both 1969 and 1973.
In 2002 Phil started the Smyrna FBC (First Baptist Church) Dojo. The
Smyrna FBC Isshinryu program is currently blessed with 65 active members. Classes are held on Tuesdays and advanced classes on Thursdays. The F.B.C. dojo was awarded the Issinh-ryu Hall of Fame Dojo of the Year in 2008 and the I.I.K.A. Dojo of the Year in 2015.
Master Phil McElroy has served on the I.I.K.A. board of directors from 1976 to the present. He was on the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame Board of Directors from 1980-2009. Phil was named the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year in 1983 and was inducted into the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame in 1987. Phil was promoted to Ku Dan in January 1999 by Grand Master Long. In 2010 Phil was inducted into the I.I.K.A. Legacy Circle of Honor.
Master McElroy wants to give every student the chance to reach full potential as a fighter and instructor. He teaches basic and practical techniques that are effective in the street as well in tournaments. Master McElroy's goal is to help each person in his school to develop a good positive attitude that carries over from karate into personal life.