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Sensei Tom Fruitticher
     The Shotokan Karate Classes are taught by Sensei Tom Fruitticher, who began his karate training in 1975 and is currently a Go-Dan or 5th Degree Black Belt. He is one of the top ranking Japan Karate Association’s instructors in the Southeastern United States and is the only instructor in Northwest Florida to have received JKA Instructor/Examiner Certification. He won his first regional championship in 1985 three days after the birth of his daughter Sasha. He went on to be an eight time regional champion and was a member of the South Atlantic Karate Association’s National Team for many years during the 80’s and 90’s. His teams consistently placed in the top three in the National Tournaments held in New Orleans, Miami, Denver, Anchorage, Los Angeles, Sioux Falls and Phoenix and he also placed in the top three in individual events. Sensei Fruitticher was awarded the South Atlantic Karate Association’s “Best Competitor” award in 1991 and the International Shotokan Karate Association’s Meritorious Service award in 1993. He also placed 1st in Kata and 3rd in Fighting at the 2003 Funikoshi World Tournament held in Las Vegas and 1st in Fighting and 1st in Kata (Senior Division) at the 2009 JKA/AF National Tournament held in New Orleans.
     Sensei Fruitticher has had the great pleasure of training under some of the world’s top JKA instructors, the most recognizable of which is Mr. Nakayama, the founder of the Japan Karate Association (JKA). Additional instruction came from Mr. Mikami, founder of the JKA/AF, Mr. Okasaki, founder of the ISKF, Mr. Osaka, Mr. Takashina, Mr. Yaguchi, Mr. Koyama, and Mr. Ochi.
     Sensei Fruitticher feels his greatest joy comes from instructing his students. He began teaching at Pensacola Junior College in 1983, where he can still be found instructing folks of all ages and walks of life. He also teaches at the Vickery Center in Pensacola. In his words, “I have had the great pleasure of teaching some of the Counties’ finest, who include Police Men, Fire Men, Navy and Marine Officers”. He has had students who also became National Champions and he states, “My greatest ambition is to make my students more successful than me”.