A Brief History of the Korean Karate Academy

The establishment of the Korean Karate Academy began in 1962, in Detroit Michigan. Mr. Edward Ormanian was training in Judo at the Downriver YMCA in Wyandotte, Michigan, where he met a student who said, “he was in karate.” The karate class was on alternate nights, so Mr. Ormanian went the next night to watch a class.

The instructor was Mr. Dale Drouillard.  Master Druillard had discovered Tang Soo Do as a GI deployed to Korea, where he became the first American to get a blue belt (“black belt.”) under the instruction of style-founder Grand Master Hwang Kee. He returned to Michigan and opened the first karate club in the state.  This was the class that Master Ormanian walked into.

After a few months, Mr. Drouillard became ill in 1962, they sent to Korea for an instructor. When Mr. Sang Kyu Shim arrived, they had about 120 students. Three months later, the club was down to about 25 students. Master Ormanian attained the rank of 1st Dan (“black belt”) at the age of 39, in October 1966.

In March 1968, Mr. Ormanian and his son, Aaron, located a building in Allen Park, Michigan, and opened the Korean Karate Academy, which is now one of the oldest continuing Karate clubs in Michigan. In June of that year, Michael Ban began training at the age of 13.

Mr. Ormanian’s students have entered and won many tournaments. He now has students teaching in many states, from Alaska to Florida.

The Juneau Branch

Michael Ban received his 1st Dan in 1971. He arrived in Juneau, Alaska in August 1978.

In January 1979, Michael Ban started the Juneau chapter of the Korean Karate Academy through the local Community Schools program, establishing a strong, traditional club. The school has attracted and produced many Dans – many of whom brought strength and diversity to the club. Some of them may be instructing you the next time you walk in the door.

Master Stuart Cohen began training with Master Ban in 1982, at the age of 23. He achieved 1st Dan rank in 1989, 4th Dan rank in 2013.

In 2003 he began the downtown branch of Korean Karate Academy with a class of 20 students. His senior student was 7 years old. Two of those students went on to become black belts, and continue to train in martial arts.