Our accomplished instructors invite you to become part of the TBK family.

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Stephen Robinson

Sensei Robinson teaches teenage and adult karate classes. He is a 6th degree black belt in shotokan karate with more than 30 years of training. He was nicknamed Deshi (disciple), by his instructor Shihan John McClary of Philadelphia, for his passion and long hours of training. He’s 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.


  • Developed and coached 12 world karate champions at Triangle's Best Karate

  • Has served on the National Referee Council for AAU Karate since 2009

  • Has served as Head Official at international events since 2006

  • Named to the World Union of Karate-do Federations (WUKF) Referee Commission in 2018, the first American to join this elite 7-member council in 23 years

  • In 1997, he and two other Americans won gold in Team Kata at the World Karate Confederation in Italy.

  • In 1993, he won world championship titles in Individual Kata and Team Kumite at the Traditional Karate International Confederation in Panama.


Cyndy Yu Robinson

Sensei Yu is a 6th degree black belt in shotokan karate and a 1st degree black belt in shito-ryu. She has tested for shotokan ranks before JKA Sensei Kenichi Haramoto and Hidetaka Nishiyama, and before legendary Hirokazu Kanazawa, Kenzo Mabuni, and Osamu Ozawa.

Sensei Yu currently teaches youth classes, cardio, and women’s self-defense seminars. She has degrees from Stanford University and UC San Diego, and was a swimmer and cheerleader in high school.


  • NC AAU Karate Program Director (2006-present)

  • U.S. national women’s team coach, invitational 14th annual Wado-Ryu Championship in Fukuoka, Japan (2019)

  • Five-time AAU women’s national champion (1993-1997) in Individual Kata

  • Member of three U.S. National Karate Teams for international tournaments


Craig Lawton

Sensei 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 4th degree black belt (YonDan) and lives with two other black belts, his daughter Brianne and his son Joshua, both of whom were  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.


Patrick Rainey

Sensei Patrick Rainey began training karate in 2005 and demonstrated incredible flexibility and athleticism in his first class.  As a 4th degree black belt, 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.

Ken Schiman

Sensei Ken Schiman started UechiRyu in college and brought an undeniable fighting spirit to Triangle's Best Karate beginning in 2006.  He loves the martial arts and coaching boys and girls of all ages and abilities in the day to day training as well as national level competitions.  Coach Ken is a 3rd degree black belt who trains everyday for physical and mental health while developing and managing IT systems.  Coach Ken played football and lacrosse in high school. 

Dimple Katira

Sempai Dimple is a second degree black belt who has trained  at Best Karate since 2007.  When in high school, she was introduced to Jiu-Jitsu and Shotokan Karate and fell in love with martial arts ever since. She manages IT projects for the State of North Carolina.

Dave Henshall

Sensei Dave Henshall, Yondan Shito-Ryu, has studied various traditional weapons since 1995 with Sensei Dometrich and others.  He teaches kobudo (weapons) and coaches our local and national team members.  Sensei Henshall also teaches karate at Carolina Martial Arts in Durham under Shihan Kevin Gurganus.  Sensei Henshall competes regularly in Open Hand Kata and with Sai, Kama, Bo, Eku, and Tonfa!  


  • Active senior/master competitor in kobudo, kata, and kumite (2010-present)


J.J. Yu-Robinson

J.J. has been a consistent member of the dojo since age 4 and a competitive karate-ka since age 5.  He is currently a 2nd degree black belt and conducts the Brown Belt, sparring, and conditioning classes.  J.J. also plays football for Broughton High School and pick-up basketball. 


  • Won 7 Gold Medals (3 in forms, 4 in sparring) at the 2019 AAU Karate National Championships, including Mandatory Kata as well as Open Flag Kata in his first year competing as an adult.

  • Team Captain for the U.S. team at the 2019 ISF World Combat Games in Budapest, Hungary. Won a bronze medal in kumite.

  • One of 7 Americans at the 2018 International High School Olympics in Morocco.

  • Won Bronze at the 2018 WUKF World Championship in Scotland

  • Won title of World Champion (Gold) in Sparring (Ages 13-14) at the 2016 WUKF World Championship, after winning 7 straight matches

  • Won two to six Gold or Silver Medals at AAU Karate National Championships for ten years, 2008-2018.