Sensei Elaine Smith is a 7th degree black belt (shichidan) and began traditional karate–do training in the early 1970's while an undergraduate student in upstate New York. She studied traditional Goju Ryu, founded by Masters Kanryo Higaonna and Chojun Miyagi, before returning after college graduation to her native Philadelphia. She has continuously trained the martial arts to the present day, with forty of those years studying traditional Shotokan as a direct student of Grand Master Teruyuki Okazaki, 10th Dan founder of ISKF, who was himself a direct student of Supreme Master Gichin Funakoshi and Master Masatoshi Nakayama.
In 1992, at the request of Grand Master Okazaki, she founded Tustin Shotokan Karate Club where she served as chief instructor for twenty-seven years. Sensei Smith graduated from the premiere Instructor Training Program of the JKA and ISKF in 2003. She is a qualified Karate Instructor, Examiner, and Tournament Judge/Referee. In 2011, Sensei Smith achieved the rank of 7th degree black belt (Shichidan), which made her the first woman in ISKF’s East Coast to achieve this level and placed her among the highest-ranking women in ISKF worldwide. She was appointed to the ISKF East Coast Technical Committee in 2017.
Sensei Smith retired from ISKF in 2019 and created Meikyo Shotokan Karate-Do as a vehicle to teach anyone who wants to learn and use karate-do as a vehicle to improve themselves. Sensei Smith draws upon her genuine love of the martial arts, passion for continuous learning, her precise technical skills and her experience as a professional educator to tailor karate instruction to each individual’s learning style, strengths, needs and abilities. She is patient, devoted, and works tirelessly, empowering and inspiring her students to overcome adversity working to refine their technique and improve themselves. She encourages her students to stick with and use their training through the ups and downs of everyday life in order to reap the true benefits of karate-do.