Sensei Mercer holds a Fifth Degree Black Belt and the title of Shihan in Shudokan Karate. He has been teaching in the Northwest for many years and has trained with numerous masters, including Hanshi Morris Mack, head of Shudokan Karate-do in the U.S.
With the advent of Gichin Funakoshi’s introduction of Okinawan Karate to Japan in the early 1920’s, the popularity of karate began to grow. Soon, other Okinawan masters began to travel to Japan to proliferate their arts. One such man was Kanken Toyama, whose Okinawan name was Kanken Oyadamari. A school teacher by profession, Toyama’s chosen avocation was the instruction of karate. He started his karate training at the age of 9 with a master named Itarashiki. His major teacher was the famous Itosu Yasutsune, with whom Toyama studied for 18 years.
Toyama became one of only two of Itosu’s students to be granted the title of “Shihanchi”, or protégé, of Itosu’s O kuge (innermost secrets). Aside from learning Shorin-ryu from Itosu, Toyama studied and mastered their styles of karate from other notable masters of Naha-te and Tomari-te, which included weapons arts.