German/American Georg Iberl was one of the first martial arts pioneers who opened commercial dojos in the US.
Georg Iberl, born 1963, began his martial arts training at the age of nine in Germany. Jujitsu and hand-to-hand combat were part of their daily training. In 1958 he decided to move to the United States where his brother already lived, and settled in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. After a short time, he met Mr. Ralph Lindquist and they immediately found they had a common interest in the martial arts and trained in Lindquist’s back yard. Mr. Lindquist introduced Iberl to Harry G. Smith,who owned a karate school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where Lindquist was an assistant instructor. Iberl receivedhis black belt in 1963. In 1964, Iberl competed at Robert Trias’ World Karate Championship in Chicago. This event gathered many prominent martial arts persons not only from across the United States but from around the world and was the first world karate championship.
Soke Tatsuo ShimabukuIn 1964 and 1966, Iberl worked with Soke Tatsuo Shimabuku during his visits to the United States. During his 1966 visit, Iberl quit his job in order to study with Master Shimabuku daily at Bob Murphy’s New York dojo.
Rick Niemira and Georg IberlIn 1964, job responsibilities led Iberl to a move to Washington, DC where he met Rick Niemira. They would open and operate two schools together in Washington, DC and later in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1967, Iberl and Niemirasponsored their first tournament at the Annapolis National Guard Armory. This event attracted several hundred competitors. Iberl competed extensively throughout the eastern part of the US during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s but most recently in April 1999.
In 1967 Iberl met Angi Uezu on his first trip to the United States as Master Shimabuku’s representative. Iberl and others made a contract with then Sensei Uezu to teach and travel, visiting Master Shimabuku’s US students. He would stay for a period of one year. This initial meeting would be the beginning of a 40-year friendship between Iberl and now Grand Master Uezu.
Angi Uezu during his first visit to the U.S. in 1967 Iberl has traveled to Okinawa three times to train and visit with Grand Master Uezu, in 1996, 1998, and 2008. In1969, Iberl moved back to Pennsylvania to York, where he opened a school. During the interim years, he has owned, operated and acted as chief instructor for schools in Gettysburg, Hanover, East Berlin and in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. Some of his current students have trained with him for nearly 40 years. In 1997 Iberl founded the OIKKA Hall of Fame with the permission and support of Grand Master Angi Uezu. The OIKKA Hall of Fame is made up of Isshinryu practitioners from across the United States. Past inductees include: Grand Master Angi Uezu, Ichiro Nakahoda, Rick Niemira, Ed McGrath, Don Nagle, Ralph Lindquist, Willie Adams, Carl Martin, Lew Lizotte, Maurice Msarsa, Marilyn Fierro, Nick Adler, and Ralph Passero.
George Iberl, passed away Saturday, May 16, 2020, at age 83.
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