Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai Salutes:
Lee Donohue, Sr.
born September 16, 1942

Lee Donohue, Sr. was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on September 16, 1942. At the age of 14 began to study Judo under Jack Wheat at the Hotel Street dojo of Henry Seishiro Okazaki (founder of the Danzan-Ryu form of Ju Jutsu).

Donohue joined the Honolulu Police Department in 1964. In 1998, he rose to the rank of Chief of Police. He served with the HPD for 40 years and was the co-founder of Kick-Start Karate, a program that encourages at-risk youths to excel in school.

When he entered the police force, Donohue joined the Judo team. He trained with the team until it was discontinued a few years later. He remembers that Bobby Lowe (student of Masayoshi James Mitose and Mas Oyama) used to teach Karate to the police force.

In 1966, Donohue was assigned to the Pearl City Police Station. At that time, he began to train at the Te-Ken Jutsu Kai dojo in Waipahu. The dojo had been started a few years earlier by Takamasa Bingo and James Miyaji, both of whom were students of Masaichi Oshiro (student of William K. S. Chow, Gogen Yamaguchi, and Yagi Meitoku). The Te-Ken Jutsu Kai essentially taught the Kenpo form of Karate. Bingo moved to Los Angeles in 1965, and left Kenneth Nakamura in charge of the dojo.

In 1969, Nakamura, John Gerard and William Ozaki founded the American Karate Kai dojo. Donohue was an original member of the new dojo. Gerard eventually became the head instructor of the dojo.

Around 1975, Donohue began to also train under Clarence Lee, a long time student of Richard Kim who had later trained under Choshin Chibana (a student of Anko Itosu and the founder of the Kobayashi-Ryu form of Shorin-Ryu) in Okinawa. Lee had been introduced to Chibana by Fumio Nagaishi (a Hawaii born man who had lived and worked in Okinawa from 1950 to 1988). Pat Nakata had also trained under Chibana in Okinawa and subsequentlly became a kobudo student of Nagaishi.

In 1994, John Gerard unexpectedly passed away, at which time Donohue became the head instructor of the American Karate Kai. Soonafter, Donohue adopted the Kobayashi-Ryu curriculum, but retained many of the techniques from the earlier Te-Ken Jutsu Kai.

Donohue teaches classes in Aina Haina. His son, Lee Donohue, Jr. heads the Kick-Start Karate program and teaches classes at the Honolulu Police Academy. His student, Wallace Salazar, Jr., heads the American Karate Kai West Oahu in Waipahu. Lee Donohue, Jr. and Wallace Salazar, Jr. are also police officers. Donohue is a member of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai.

Like the teachers of old in Hawaii, Donohue passes along several sayings (or bylaws) to guide his students:

  • "Nothing is as easy as it looks."
  • "Never misuse these arts or use them for self gain."
  • "Never critize students of other clubs, or challenge them to a duel."
  • "Never use any dangerous methods unless with in the law."
  • "Never boast or show off in public, but rather, show self respect, as well as respect for others."
  • "Never have a fist that will shed innocent blood."
  • "Never say in one house, what you hear in another, and never speak ill of the absent."
  • "Never use any profane language."
  • "Never have hands and feet that are fast and mischievous."
  • "Never deprive any person of his rights by superiority or acts of violence."
  • "Always be humble, sencere, and courteous."
  • "Always be truthful and honest."
  • "Always be very patient in the process of acquiring this powerful knowledge."
  • "Through the knowledge of these arts, let us become physically, mentally, and spiritially strong."
  • "Exert every effort to help and protect our loved ones, our friends, the handicapped and the innocent as well."
  • "Avoid all unneccessary arguments in order ro avoind all unneccessary trouble."
  • "Protect the innocent, forgive the ignorant, and tame only the wild, however, let us tame ourselves before we tame the wild."

    The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Lee Donohue, Sr.


    The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit


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