Martial Arts For The Heart

Martial Arts Dojo & Sports Photography

Sensei's Gabbard's Background

Sensei David Gabbard

Ku Dan 9th Degree

(New Picture Coming Soon)

Sensei's Gabbard's Instructor


Shi-Han Phil McElroy

Ku-Dan 9th Degree


The Karate School Of Nashville opened in 1966 by Sensei John Denny Shaffer. This Dojo was one of the most successful and competitive schools in all of North America producing over 150 experienced Black Belt Instructors .

Sensei McElroy was in charge of operations at the Dojo and was busy leading the group of tough and hardened Black Belts when Sensei Gabbard attended his first class.

Sensei Gabbard started training in Isshinry Martial Arts Karate in 1975 . At that time he and his family had just moved to Nashville from Florida and possessing a life long dream to study Me visited the local Dojo in his neighborhood.

"The first time I walked into the dojo I watched Master Jim McDonald working out with a couple of other Black Belts and some students, I was amazed at what I saw and knew I had to take classes there".

After much persuasion his Mother decided that he could indeed participate, and maybe this would help in giving him some direction with his often misdirected youthful energies.
His first Instructors of  influence were found in the beginners class, these Instructors were Ronnie Ladd, Mike Hammons, Phil Whittle, and Ron Gregory. 

September 1975  Yellow Belt

Sensei Gabbard continued in his studes and was promoted to Black Belt at the age of 16.
At that time he was the youngest person at the Dojo to achieve this ranking.

First Black Belt 1st Place Trophy with Trice Fasig 1978

* Mr. Gabbard went on to become one of the most successful fighter in all of Isshinryu Karate by winning over 150 Karate Tournaments

* Sensei Gabbard has won the Tennessee State Open Championship 7 times

* The Isshinryu Karate Hall Of Fame Kumite Grand Championship Tournament 4 times

* Undefeated 9 years at the American Okinawan Tournament in Bayone New Jersey

* In 1989 he was the ranked as the #1 Heavyweight Fighter in region nine which was made up of all of the South Eastern States

* Sensei Gabbard also has won 5 Gold Medals and 1 Silver at the Tennessee Police Olympics for the Martial Arts Competition

*Sensei Gabbard also competed in Full Contact Kickboxing
and trained several successful competitors, of which competed for the United States Title

* Sensei Gabbard has been inducted into 5 separate Hall Of Fame organizations

* World Sokeship Council Hall Of Fame

 * World Karate Union Hall Of Fame

* Browns Masters and Legends Hall of Fame

* Don Nagles AOKA Hall of Fame

 * Isshinryu Hall of Fame

* Named Karate Ka of The Year in 1983 and 1987

* Recieved The Spirit of Isshinryu Award at the Isshinryu Hall Of Fame

* Team Coach For the 2005 IIKA Mens and Womens Fighting Team

* These fighting teams are the "Defending World Champions"
in the "2006 Best of The Best Team Challenge" to be held September 30th in Bayone NJ



Law Enforcement

Sensei Gabbard worked for the Williamson County Sheriffs office for nine years from 1993-2002. During that time he served as Patrol Deputy (Reserve) and was promoted to the rank of Training Sergeant.  Sensei Gabbard became involved with the S.W.A.T Team at that time and helped execute entry operations for the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force. He was placed in charge of training Patrol personal as well as S.W.A.T. team members in various aspects of hand-to-hand combat and advanced weapon and firearm tactics.

Body Guard
Mr. Gabbard has also served as a licensed Certified Armed Body Guard in the state of Tennessee
and has rendered personal protection services to some of the worlds top Movie Stars and Musical Talent.
Some of Mr. Gabbards Clients have included....
-Actor Steven Segal
-Comedian Tom Arnold
-Music Personalities Donnie And Marie Osmond
-Country Music Stars Vince Gill & Amy Grant
-Christian Musician And Comedian Garry Chapman
-Pop Star Group Hanson


The Grand Masters

Grand Master's Long & Nagle

Grand Master Long Knoxville Colesium

Grand Master Nagle

Grand Master Mitchum



My Greatest Acheivement


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