Otto Johnson Passed Away

Otto Johnson

Shihan Otto Johnson
May 2, 1959 – November 2, 2004

Shihan Otto Johnson’s life was tragically taken in a hit and run accident  in San Bernardino, CA on November 2, 2004. He was laid to rest on November 20, 2004 at the Desert Mortuary in Salt Lake City, Utah. A memorial service and celebration of life was held at the Shuyokan Dojo on December 11, 2004 to celebrate the life of Shihan Johnson. Olohe Solomon Kaihewalu of Hawaiian LUA did the honors of leading the prayer vigil for the Memorial Service.

Hanshi Otto Johnson began his study of Wado-Ryu Karate-Do 30 years ago under the tutelage of Hanshi Toshio Osako Hanshi. Osako is a three-time All Japan Karate Champion and coach at “the renowned and feared”

Nichi-Dai University of Tokyo in Japan. Hanshi Johnson is a graduate of the Karate Instructors Training Program at Nihon University, under Toshio Osaka Hanshi. Osaka instructed Johnson personally for the World Wado-Ryu Karate Championships held in the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan and International Karate Championships held in Osaka, Japan in 1979. Johnson won both gold medals. He is a former World International Karate Champion and the first African-American to ever accomplish this feat.

Hanshi Johnson’s home dojo is in San Bernardino, California. He trains many law enforcement personnel, including those in the Los Angeles Police Department (L.A.P.D.), Salt Lake Sheriff’s, Salt Lake City Police (special tactics personnel), Department of Parole and Corrections personnel (California).

He has served as a coach to many local, regional, national, and international champions. He is a 5th level World Karate Federation (WKF) licensed referee and is qualified in law enforcement martial arts. He is in constant demand for his seminars and personal lessons.


  • 1995 – 1998 – Team Coach to 3 Silver Medal Teams in Arizona Wado Sport Karate    Championship, sponsored by Marlin Moore and Ray Hughes in Arizona, Coach and Competitor
  •  1995 – 1996 – Silver Medalist, United States Wado Karate Federation Tournament
  • 1996 – Silver Medalist Team, Fumio Demura’s Japan Expo Karate Tournament
  • 1996 – Coach of the Silver Medalist Team, Fumio Demura’s Japan Karate Tournament
  • 1979 – International Karate Champion – Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1979 – Outstanding Karate Player – World Wado-Ryu Karate-do – Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1979 – Outstanding Karate Player – Utah Open
  • 1979 – 3rd Place Weapons, Utah Open


  • Appeared in movie “Little Bigfoot”, directed by Art Camacho, 1996
  • Featured on numerous television documentaries, “Sports Talk Television Show” in San    Bernardino, “Today Show” (NBC), featured on all major networks, including ABC, NBC,    CBS, and several cable stations
  •  Star of 6 videos
  • Producer of 3 videos


  • Featured on the cover of Black Belt Video Magazine, 2000
  • Featured on the cover of Karate Star Magazine, 1998
  • Author of 2 books: “American Wado Manual” and soon to be published “New Testament to    Living for Wado Karate”, by Hanshi Otto Johnson, 7th Dan, Karate-do, Wado-Ryu Karate


  • Demonstrator for many famous celebrities, including bodyguard work for people such as Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho.

Shihan Johnson was issued his 7th Dan certificate on April 25th, 1998 which was signed by the late Masaru Shintani under the authority of the Wado Kai of Shintani Karate Federation of North America.