Sandra Strong ShiChi-dan (7th degree black belt), Born on December 27th, 1963. My parents, Bill and Virginia have been my biggest supporters. They were married in 1949, are still healthy and happy, and continue to encourage me to achieve beyond my goals daily.
I started Isshinryu at the Karate School of Nashville on Jan 9, 1980. I joined along with my brother Charles and my sister Shearon and we all received the rank of Sho-Dan before work and family took them away from the dojo… but not me.
I continued teaching at the Karate School of Nashville, along with teaching and training at the Karate School of Fairview until 2008. I owned and operated the Karate School of Fairview from 2001 until 2004.
In 2006 I became a member and instructor of the Lebanon Dojo after marrying my husband, Glenn Carter. Aaron and Eric Carter, my step sons began studying in Lebanon in March of 2006, where they continue to train today.
I have been fortunate to have many talented instructors to whom I owe my gratitude and respect. They are Denny Schaffer, Phil McElroy, Jim McDonald, Butch Hill, Jimbo Butler, David Gabbard, Roy Vaughn, and Randall Butler. Other karate-kas that have influenced me are Barbara Steele, Donna (Cripps) Abercrombie, Carol Burris, Marion Ferreo, Diane Cooling, Ruth Ann Shamblin, Tony Williams, Toby Cooling, Ralph Pasero, Kelly Markham, Ralph Smith, Patrick Lee, Tommy True, JC Burris, Dave Park, Julia Ledbetter, and Larry Cureton.
I give thanks to Almighty God, Master Long, and Master Nagle.
I received my first trophy in Athens, TN in 1980. I realized I was in the finals and was getting a trophy, but settled for second place. From that point on, I decided that first place was what I wanted, so I competed in Ladies’ White Belt division instead of a junior division. Thus my competition career began.
1982 - Graduated from McGavock High School
1985 - Graduated from Nashville Tech with computer programming degree
1987 - Isshinryu Hall of Fame Karateka of the year
1988 - NASKA rated #4 in region
1989 - Reeves Sport Karate International sparring rated #3
1990 - Placed 3rd at the 21st Battle of Atlanta, probably my most prized trophy to date. I missed the weight by 0.04 lb, and had to spit to lose the weight.
- ISKA Tennessee Women’s Light Weight full contact champion
1992 - Fought Bonnie Canino at Trump Taj Mahal where I met Donald Trump
1994 - Full contact kickboxing at “Showdown at the Ritz”
1995 - World Sokeship Council fighter of the year
1996 - USJA Jujitsu Shodan promotion
1997 - Grand Master Don Nagle AOKA Hall of Fame competitor of the year
1997-98 - IIKA Point circuit kumite winner
1997-00 - IIKA Grand Champion (four year reign)
1998 - Isshinryu Hall of Fame female instructor of the year
1998 - Retired undefeated in the ladies’ Grand Champion fighting division of the Isshinryu Hall of Fame
1999 - Reviewed and promoted to Roku-Dan by IIKA board of directors
- Appointed to IIKA board of directors
2000 - IIKA Point Circuit Awards administrator
2001 - Bought Fairview Dojo from David Gabbard and was head instructor until 2004, turning the dojo over to Donald Cripps due to family illness
- Added a shiai which became the 1st IIKA Youth Tournament with Tony Williams
2002 - With Tony Williams, added Lebanon Karate Games and Athens Youth tournament to the IIKA sanctioned events
2003 - Inducted into the IIKA Hall of Fame
- Returned to successfully defend my AOKA Grand Championship
2004 - Honored to participate in an AOKA shiai and Shodan testing for ladies. Their final fight of their test was with me, where I fought 12 fights.
- Awarded the IOKA “All Time Women’s Fighting Champion” award
2007 - Received the rank of Shichi-Dan from the IIKA Board of Directors
2008 - Kelly’s Hero Award
2009 - IIKA Outstanding Commitment Award