Stephen Robinson is a 6th degree black belt in shotokan karate with more than 21 years of training. He was nicknamed Deshi, (disciple), by his instructor, Shihan John McClary of Philadelphia, for his passion and long hours of training.  In 1993, he won world championship titles in Individual Kata and Team Kumite at the Traditional Karate International Confederation in Panama.  In 1997, he and two other Americans won gold in Team Kata at the World Karate Confederation in Italy.  In recent years, he has served a head official at national and international events and is certified as Senior Referee.  He trains people across the U.S. as AAU Karate officials.  He has also become a favorite demonstration partner for world renown instructors including Nishimura and Mirza.  Sensei Robinson has a degree in kinesiology from Long Island University, spent a decade in corporate America and 6 years in the personal training industry, and now teaches karate full-time.  He played football and ran track in high school.

Cyndy Yu Robinson is a 6th degree black belt in shotokan karate and a 1st degree black belt in shito-ryu.  She has tested for Dan ranks before JKA Sensei Kenichi Haramoto and Hidetaka Nishiyama in California, and before legendary Hirokazu Kanazawa, Kenzo Mabuni, and Osamu Ozawa.  She was 5-time AAU women's national champion (1993-1997) in Individual Kata, and was a member of three U.S. National Karate Team for international tournaments.  Sensei Yu currently teaches youth classes and has taught kickboxing and women's self-defense seminars for more than 7 years.  She has degrees from Stanford University and UC San Diego, and was a swimmer and cheerleader in high school.

  Both Sensei Robinson and Yu have trained with foremost Japanese masters in karate and kobudo (weapons).

Sensei Craig Lawton is a charter member of Best Karate dojo; he started training from our opening day in 2004.  Sensei Lawton completed two years of instructor training in Philadelphia, teaches beginner and advanced adults, and is part of the coaching staff for the dojo's competition team.  He is a San Dan and lives with two other black belts, his daughter Brianne and his son Joshua both members of the AAU Karate Junior National team.  Sensei Craig also is an executive with an international banking institution.  His high school sports were swimming and water polo.

Sensei Patrick Rainey began training karate in 2005 and demonstrated incredible flexibility and athleticism in his first class.  As a San Dan now, he is everyone's favorite Karate Intro for Kids instructor.  He also serves as Head Coach for Best Karate Competition team.  Dr. Rainey has a PhD in chemistry and has worked as a research scientist, a teacher at the NC School of Math and Science, and as a consultant for medical labs.  Sensei Patrick's high school sport was football.

Sensei David Reif is our youngest instructor and biggest "kid".  He has been training in the martial arts since 1998, always finding the best dojo wherever he was studying - he is a nidan in Goju-Ryu and a San Dan in shotokan karate and has trained in tae kwon do, kenpo, and more.  Once a top recruit of the US Environmental Protection Agency in computational toxicology, he and his wife, Dr. Motsinger, are both professors of genetics, statistics, and bioinformatics at NCSU.  Sensei Dave played football and soccer in high school.

Senpai Ken Schiman came to Best Karate with years of Uechi Ryu karate experience.  He holds the rank of ShoDan and assists with several classes a week.  Senpai Ken was selected for the AAU Senior Karate team, has won several medals in kata and kumite at AAU national karate championships.  He loves the thrill of competition and coaching his sons in karate and soccer, and coaching all of the kids at Best Karate.  His high school sports were basketball and football.

Triangle Best Karate • 9113 Leesville Road • Raleigh, NC 27616 • Phone:919-844-5555 • ©2008 • email us