Peter Urban, who in 1953, as young sailor, was introduced to Karate in Yokohama Japan. At the time Urban was already a student of Richard Kim and Mas Oyama, founder of the Kyokushin school. After several years of training with the two great masters Mr. Kim introduced Urban to Gogen Yamaguchi, Sensei in Tokyo, Japan, where he was accepted as a student at the Goju Kai. In 1957, Peter Urban taught karate to a small group of Americans in Tokyo, and competed in the All-Japan College Championships that same year.
In 1959 Urban returned to the U.S. and opened his first dojo in Union City, N.J and introduced Japanese Goju-Ryu to the public. It was his famous Chinatown Dojo on Canal Street in NYC in 1967 that made Japanese Goju Ryu Karate-Do available to the public. Sensei Urban believed that the Americans should have their own Karate style in much the same way that the Okinawans and Japanese have theirs.
In 1969 Peter Urban made a special visit to Japan to ask Gogen Yamaguchi permission to establish a separate branch of Goju kai in the United States. Yamaguchi denied his request, saying the rules of Bushido stated that no white man could achieve Nirvana. Urban, dissatisfied with the decision retorted that these same rules stated that Japan could never lose a war. This statement offended the Sensei. Realizing this, Urban prepared to follow samurai custom, to cut off his pinky finger in apology. Yamaguchi’s oldest son stopped him. However, the damage was done.
Sensei Peter Urban resigned from the Japanese Goju Kai in late 1969 and upon his return established American Goju Karate in the United States. Later that same year Gosei Yamaguchi, the son of Gogen, set up base in San Francisco, California and established the Goju-Kai Karate-Do U.S.A.
Sensei Peter Urban probably trained, either directly or indirectly, more top black belts than anyone on the East Coast; among them were: Ed Verycken, Chuck Merriman, Albert Gotay, William Louie, Frank Ruiz, John Kuhl, Lou Angel, Thomas Boddie, Joe Hess, Bill Liquori, Rick Pascetta, Susan Murdock, Raymond Sanchez, Owen Watson, Manny Saavedra, Juan C. Bofill and Ron Van Clief.
Sensei Peter Urban is the Grandmaster of All-American Goju Ryu Karate-do Systems, an American made Karate master, pioneer and author of the most popular book on the subject of Karate, “The Karate Dojo”.