Three receive black belt promotions

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Two long time martial artists and one student recently received advanced promotions at the Roane School of Isshin-ryu Karate in Harriman. Don Bordinger received the rank of Hachi-Dan (8th Degree Black Belt), Bill Duncan was promoted to Roku-Dan (6th Degree Black Belt and Masters Level), and Kacy Aslinger was advanced to Sho-Dan (1st Degree Black Belt).

“It’s not often that someone has the privilege of promoting a person to the rank of 8th Dan or a 6th Degree Masters rank, and promotions to 1st Degree Black Belt are always exciting,” Grandmaster Tommy True said. “Don and Bill have been in Isshin-ryu for many, many years and Kacy is one of our up and coming stars. 

“Once a person moves beyond the rank of 6th Dan, like Don, all future promotions are honorary and based on teaching, knowledge, and one’s overall contribution to our art form. All three of them are shining examples of hard work, dedication, loyalty, and have the desire to excel. It was my honor to award them their rank.”  

Don Bordinger began studying Isshin-ryu Karate in 1965 under Grandmaster Harold Long. During Bordinger’s long and distinguished career as an Isshin-ryu practitioner he was instrumental in helping to establish the International Isshin-ryu Karate Association (IIKA) along with the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame, one of the oldest most prestigious Isshin-ryu events in the country. 

Additional notable awards earned by Bordinger over the years include: playing on the 1950 and 1951 University of Tennessee national championship football teams, induction into the Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame 1998, and induction into the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame (IHOF) in 2007.

Bordinger also served in the United States Marine Corps.

Bill Duncan began his Isshin-ryu studies in 1980 with Grandmaster Harold Long in Oak Ridge under Wayne Brooks.  

As a young man, Duncan’s only means of transportation back and forth to class was his bicycle, which he rode 18 miles round trip to and from his home.  As he continued his studies, he trained under the late Cleteth Byrge in Oliver Springs where he ultimately became Byrge’s Head Instructor.  

Now, as Chief Instructor of his own school, Duncan runs Atomic City Martial Arts in Oak Ridge, which specializes in small class sizes and more one-on-one instruction. Duncan also teaches an after school karate program at Dyllis Springs Elementary as well as special women’s and children’s self defence classes.  

Before being awarded the rank of Roku-Dan (Masters Rank) Duncan was required to test before the International Isshin-ryu Karate Association’s (IIKA) Board of Directors. The test was comprehensive, and involved areas of proficiency pertaining to overall Isshin-ryu knowledge and history, self defence, kata (forms), kumite (fighting), and weapons.    

Kacy Aslinger has been studying Isshin-ryu Karate for years in Harriman, and is an accomplished teaching assistant and tournament competitor. She always finishes in first or second place at tournaments in her division, and is well known throughout the tournament circuit for her toughness and competitive spirit.  

Over the years she has helped the school with demonstrations, special events, seminars, and teaching. As a Sho-Dan, Aslinger has proven her understanding of the basics, and will now continue to train and learn at an advanced level.  

 Tommy True holds the rank of Ku-Dan (9th Degree Black Belt) and is the Chief Instructor at the Roane School of Karate in Harriman, which Duncan’s school in Oak Ridge and Art Palmer’s school in Crossville come under. True has been teaching Isshin-ryu Karate for more than 45 years in Harriman.