Belt Color Menu Imagemap
Click to navigate to other colors

Master Anne Radke
Chief Instructor
6th Dan Black Belt

Renshi Lisa with Husband Brent

Renshi Lisa Roddenberry
4th Dan Black Belt

     Renshi, who has been training for nearly 10 years, is the daughter of Master Anne. She teaches not only the children and adults at Alpha, but also teaches kickboxing at Alpha as well. Renshi Lisa has been awarded the 2006 Sensei of the Year at the Florida Cosmopolitan Hall of fame, Alpha UPKUDO's 2004 Instructor Award and The 2004 Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame Outstanding Dedication to Martial Arts Award. She is the NFMA Champion Black Belt Female Fighter of 2001 and placed 3rd in the US Open Female Fighter Division and also in kata at the 2003 US Open Karate Tournament. Renshi Lisa is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (CFT), License#71212569 certified by AMFPT.
     "Since receiving my title as a black belt in the UPKUDO system, I have learned many things. The most important that comes to mind is, you represent. Not just your school or your system, but you as a person. I know that people see your attitude, your determination, your strengths, and weaknesses. People look up to you, so being a black belt is more than a belt and technique.
     "No more tears, its time to suck up and be tough. There is no more surviving, only conquering. If you let people beat you in the ring, then life will beat you. I love being a black belt. Even though I may be small and petite, there is a warrior inside. You face challenges that no one can fix for you and there is no time for excuses. Excuses are for the weak. If you set your mind to it then you can do or be anything you want to be.
     "No matter what shape, size, rank or color, we all are equal. Anyone who thinks that we don't need our instructor is not normal. Becoming black belt does not complete us, it is a new beginning.
     "I have to say that being a black belt has made me a stronger and more powerful woman than I have ever imagined being. Life relates to karate so much its unbelievable. The world doesn't give you anything, you have to earn it.
     "Teaching gives me a sense of joy in my heart. I love encouraging others and taking their negative attitude and making it a positive. At the end of the class have them walk away saying, 'That was great.' I am proud to be in UPKUDO. We respect, love, and represent and we are all winners in this family."

Sensei Anthony Reeves
2nd Dan Black Belt

     Sensei Reeves is the proud student of Master ANNE RADKE, President, UPKUDO INTERNATIONAL KARATE FEDERATION (UIKF). Sensei Reeves has been under her continuous and private instruction for 5 years. In addition to his responsibilities as an instructor, Sensei Reeves serves as General Counsel of the UPKUDO International Karate Federation. Sensei Reeves reports directly to the President of UIKF regarding all legal matters affecting the UIKF and it's affiliated schools.

Even though Sensei Reeves has trained in a previous martial arts system, Sensei Reeves has attained his greatest successes through his UPKUDO experience.

"The lesson that I've learned is a good black belt strives to improve himself or herself, but a great black belt strives to improve those around him or her.

"I didn't realize it until now but it is selfish, unfair and not being an UPKUDO black belt for me to only absorb all of the lessons I've learned and not share. I didn't realize that all of the lessons that I've learned from watching other students, listening to Master Anne and listening to Grandmaster, I should be passing on to my dojo brothers and sisters."

On May 26, 2017, Sensei Anthony Reeves was sworn in as a federal judge. Please see the article by Pine Bluff Commercial.

Sensei Anthony
Reeves, Esq.
and his wife, Carol

Sensei Anthony poses with Master Anne, Sensei Dillon, & the World Cup.
Successes Include:

Men's Heavy Weight Black Belt District Fighting Champion

1st Place, Men's Heavyweight Black Belt Fighting
1st Runner Up, Overall Grand Champion Fighting Finals

Instructor Award

First Place Heavyweight Sparring
World Champion Ultimate Sparring

Co-Champions Sensei Anthony and Sensei Dillon:
Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame Ultimate Sparring World Champions

Sensie Liz & Husband Brinson

Sensei and Brinson's daughter.

Sensei Elizabeth Tatum
3rd Dan Black Belt

     Sensei Elizabeth Tatum has been training in UPKUDO since October 1999. She took UPKUDO because she wanted to learn to protect herself and gain confidence. Her favorite part is "learning something new which happens every class... I have learned so much about myself. UPKUDO has helped every aspect of my life."
     "Some of the best lessons I have learned are from mistakes. While I hope not to make mistakes, it is part of life and learning. I think it is important to admit and correct those mistakes, especially in a respected position such as Kelegion Kai. Striving for excellence sends out a tremendous message.
     "UPKUDO is more than just a style of karate, but a way to successfully live life. I am excited and amazed at how quickly everyone grows in my dojo. I feel that I can help others in my dojo to learn technique and the spirit of UPKUDO. I know that it was important to me to feel accepted and have someone teach me in a way that I could learn solid technique. Different people learn in different ways.
"UPKUDO has taught me a great deal about myself and who I want to be. I am bursting with love and pride, and I am sure that it is evident in my smile and in my actions."
Inducted into the 2006 Florida Cosmopolitan Hall of Fame for Dedication to Martial Arts

Sensei Debbie Tully
3rd Dan Black Belt

     Debbie Tully has been practicing UPKUDO since August 1999. She joined our dojo in order to gain self-confidence and control. In competition she holds the title of North Fl. Martial Arts Champion in Greenbelt Women Fighting. In her own words since joining, she has "found myself and realize how unique each person is as an individual".
     "To me being a black belt means that you have trained and studied to earn that rank and you are just beginning your training. Now is the time to train my mind and body to become one. I must carry myself dress and speak with the utmost of professionalism at all times and never shrug my responsibilities.
     "Master is always telling us that our training in karate will help us in our everyday life and I could not count the number of times that I have seen that statement come true. I teach exactly the way it was taught to me by Master Anne and she was taught by her teacher Grand Master Baker. I do not foresee a time when I will not need my teacher. My favorite part of UPKUDO is sparring but in order to be a well rounded student I must train in every aspect in order to be a great fighter and teacher. If you beleive in yourself enough you can endure any situation. Grand Master says "no matter how hard you train you will never be perfect" It wasn't until working with my students I realized the truth of that statement. The clarity, sharpness, control used with the technique are all important when teaching and doing the techniques.
     "I live by Grand Master's two philosophies of "love always wins and Positive input is positive output" and will remain dedicated and true to my style UPKUDO."

(left to right) Grand Master Baker, Sensei Debbie Tully,
Mr. Will Blanton and Collin

Ryan stretches his legs and toes just
like his grandmother Sensei Debbie
Inducted into the 2006 Florida Cosmopolitan Hall of Fame for Dedication to Martial Arts

Sensei Barnie Ross
2nd Dan Black Belt

Gadsden County Times Article about Sensei Barnie Ross

     "'Why karate?' I have been asked this question many. Many times and my answer is always the same, 'Because I Want to.' The reason I chose Alpha Upkudo Karate a little over two years ago was for very selfish reasons. I wanted to be closer to my daughter and grandchildren and Alpha Upkudo would do that for me because they were also studying under Master Anne. Another reason was that i wanted to lose some weight, and I have accomplished that goal to some degree. I also felt That studying karate would enhance my life, and it has. Karate has become one of the most Interesting aspects of my life. Every day, I find myself wanting to work out to keep up my strength and agility. I desperately want to increase my ability to raise my legs higher, to increase my ability to kick. I'm sure I will accomplish this in time. Again, these are very selfish reasons for studying karate.
     "But over and above my own selfish Reasons for studying karate, I have found something I didn't know i was looking for. I have found a purpose and reason for my life. I have found a family of people who care about one another. A family who love and respect each other. A family where no one is above another no matter what color belt they might wear. A family that looks to the needs of all it's members.
     "I have also found that i love to work with people, to be able to pass on knowledge I have been fortunate enough to glean from others. To see the look of understanding on the face of someone you are trying to help is a surge of pure joy beyond anything I have ever felt before. I feel extremely lucky to have been chosen to help teach as a trainee instructor since this gives me the opportunity to work with the regular teachers. Because most of the people we work with are children, who are so full of life, I find myself feeling more alive, more capable of coping with the everyday happenings of my life. I find myself more tolerant of others and the things they might do.
     "And so, as you can see, karate Has become so much more for me than the selfish reasons for which I first started. It has taught me that no matter who you are or at what stage in your life you are, it is a force that will sustain you for many years to come. "To me, this is what karate has become and will always be. I thank Master Anne, for everything she have taught me about karate, but even more, about myself."


Mr. Brandon Keefer
Black Belt

     I train with Mr. Jeremy Whatley and Master Anne Radke.They both are extremely inspirational to me. It feels great being part of such a loveing dojo family.

     I have won the divisional champion title in both fighting and kata I became hooked on competing from the first event. In the past I have been a fitness club manager and a certified personal trainer. I have also coached many city league sports. I feel extremely comfortable in front of groups of people both young and old. I feel it is extremely important to lead by example and I truely enjoy mentoring our areas youth.

     I know that I can make a difference in peoples lives by assisting in teaching your Upkudo system and also teaching the importance of haveing a strong physical body, mind, and spirit. I know that I can bring strong leadership qualities to the community.

Will Blanton
Black Belt

     As a Kelegion Kai I have learned many valuable lessons. The value of the experience of just listening to Master Anne and my instructor (Sensei Debbie). Learning not only how to throw a technique or even how to apply said technique but even More general lessons from How to effectively speak with a child or new student that will encourage them to improve and want to grow.
     I try to learn from all my experiences and try to show support to both my home dojo (Tully's) and Alpha. By helping with additional classes and with various instructors I get the insight that only time and experience can teach.
     The style of UPKUDO has proven time and time again to be more than just a fighting style more of a way to be as a student, an adult and as a productive member of society.
     One of the more fascinating concepts that I am learning is how complex it truely is to be a Martial Artist. That Karate is much more than fighting. It is more akin to a way to see and be in the world.

Photo Slideshow of Belt Ceremony Made by Will
Video from Belt Ceremony

Sensei Brittney Roddenberry
1st Dan Black Belt

     "What is important of being a Black Belt of UPKUDO is always do your best and never, ever give up."
     "When I grow up, I want to be a teacher at UPKUDO."
     "When I first walked in the door I see a family who loves you very much. UPKUDO's love always stays in the dojo."

See Brittney's story on WCTV!

Pictures from Belt Ceremony in December, 2010

Anthony Ortiz
Black Belt

     When I was 5 years old, my mom took me and my brother to Alpha UPKUDO. When I first walked in, I couldn’t keep my eyes off all the trophies around the room. There were so many and they were so big and multi colored. I can remember thinking “I seriously want one of those!” Then I saw Mr. Brandon was teaching a class. There were so many big kids in his class and they looked so good doing the things he was teaching. I was so scared. I thought to myself, “I can’t do that.” It was an inspiration to me to see Mr. Brandon teach the students. When I saw that, I asked myself, “How does this person keep calm while at the same time, keep the students focused?”
     Then, my mom signed me and my brother up for karate and Sensei Liz started teaching us. Since Sensei Liz’s class was much smaller than Mr. Brandon’s, I felt more comfortable. She taught us the basics that all beginners at karate need to learn. We were so young we could barely get a kick above the belt. Our punches were nothing next to straight, our blocks went everywhere, and our stances were not deep enough. Even though my brother and I had a lot of energy and horse played more than we should have, Sensei Liz was still able to get the techniques through to us. When I earned my very first belt, my white belt, I was so excited that I even wanted to sleep in it! The fact that Sensei Liz could teach me through my high energy ways was an inspiration to me.
     I have grown so much in my time in UPKUDO, but the growth I am most proud of has been through Master Anne’s encouragement of how to control my emotions, actions, and how to basically “not sweat the small stuff” – in and out of the dojo. I have learned to not cry anymore because I’m frustrated with myself or what is going on around me. She taught me that if I set my mind to something, I can do anything. Also, she taught me to overcome any problem that comes my way. I use the skill she has taught me every day. Most recently two bad things happened at the tournament in Dothan, Alabama before my musical kata that would’ve caused me to have a complete meltdown in the past, but instead not only did I overcome, but I brought my A-Game and beat my opponents.

So why do I want to be a black belt? I want to be a black belt because…

I want to be like the UPKUDO black belts and instructors.

I want to show everyone that kids can do difficult things.

I want to show my family and friends that I can do anything.

I want to be the youngest male black belt in UPKUDO history.

And most of all I want to show me I can do anything. I want to show myself that I can accomplish anything difficult if I set my mind to it.

Anthony Ortiz

Youngest Male Black Belt in UPKUDO History

John McMichael
Black Belt

     Some of the things I have learned are that wisdom is more important than technique, love always wins, “timing” determines the outcome of the battle, and respect for others is very important. This is not only important in karate but in life also. If I remember these things, success will follow me.
     I am learning that even I can be a teacher. I have learned something from everyone in my UPKUDO family. Master Anne has inspired me through tough times and I wouldn’t have gotten this far without her. She always supported me with love, kindness, and strict discipline when needed. The Black Belts of UPKUDO are a good example for me to follow. They always respect others, show patience when they teach and demonstrate self-discipline. My fellow Red Belts have helped me to get to where I am now by cooperating as a partner in testing and sparring, and teaching me how to be a part of the team.
     I have stayed with the UPKUDO system because I have a burning passion for the martial arts. Whenever I think of a reason to quit, I find two reasons to stay. The support of my UPKUDO family has kept me going. I hope that one day I can teach the UPKUDO way of life because I want to let others have the same wonderful experience that I have had."

Kaylin Mcguffey
Black Belt

Kaylin and brother Kyle

Kaylin with her proud grandmother and father.

Kaylin and her grandparents, the Watsons,
who have always supported her training.

Kenzie Kilbourn
Black Belt

Kenzie, step-dad Craig, mother, Abby

Kenzie and dad Chuck

Sawyer Dove
Black Belt
     What it means to me to get a Black Belt is to achieve an important goal in life. Also, to become a leader and an example. To know I am becoming one of the best but not the best. I’ve learned if I try harder I can do many things.
     I will do these things as a Black Belt. Help teach classes when I’m needed. Continue classes as a Black Belt to keep learning. Become better at everything. Learn more katas and practice them and get better at those. Also, become faster in my technique and use them more in the ring.
     Next, instructor to have my own class and teach them the way I was taught, and do the same as my Senseis.
     Last, at demo’s I love to show what I have learned to people. That makes them want to come in so then I can train with them too. Also, I’m performing with my dojo family. At competition I like to be judged and see how they like my performance.

Chris Williams
Black Belt

Jacob Knoblauch
Black Belt

"What It Means To Be a Black Belt in UPKUDO"
By Jacob Knoblauch
Member #: 07-414A
Start Date: July, 2007
Instructor: Master Anne Radke
Founder: Grandmaster Gary Lee Baker
School: Alpha UPKUDO

     My history with karate began more than three years ago, when I was fourteen years old. My reasons for wanting to take karate were simple: I wasn’t doing any other physical activities at the time and I wanted to keep myself active. I didn’t think my experience with karate would go much further than that. As it turned out, UPKUDO has become a far more important part of my life than just for keeping in shape. Looking back, I think I have grown during my time training with UPKUDO than I have at any time in my life.
     Before joining Alpha UPKUDO, I was shy, quiet, and not at all confident with who I was. I would avoid any confrontations because I knew I wouldn’t be able to defend myself. I felt small, and tried to blend in with others as a self-defense mechanism.
     When I first started taking karate, I felt like a fish out of water. Nothing felt familiar, even having previously taken gymnastics, and I struggled with even the basics. I had an especially hard time finding my voice to kiai. I think a good word to describe myself was “tentative.”
     Nevertheless, I tried to take in everything I could, to learn from each mistake I made. With Tego 1, I remember checking myself over and over and over again to make sure that my shoulders were square, that I was punching to the solar plexus, and that my forward stance was wide enough. One class, when I was still having troubles with kiaing, I went hoarse trying to kiai loud enough to make everyone in the dojo notice me. I lost my voice before I could accomplish my goal, but I think it ended up with me being a lot more comfortable with kiaing afterward.
     As I trained more, a whole new world began to open itself to my eyes. The dojo became a second home to me. I saw a place where I could forget about the outside world and simply focus on becoming a stronger person, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. I especially enjoyed learning kata because I could focus on each individual technique, and work toward perfecting them by breaking them down to their elementary level. I really took the phrase “every technique deserves its own attention” to heart. I think it is how I learn best.
     While I grew as a martial artist, I took a lot of inspiration from the senseis and other high-ranks. When I saw Sensei Lisa’s katas, I saw exactly how I wanted my katas to be. I watched Sensei Debbie, Ms. Amy, and Mr. Chris every time they sparred, in hopes that I would eventually fight like they did. Through their example, I applied myself to my katas and technique so that I could one day be like them. UPKUDO has never been short of role models.
     One thing that I never would have expected to find in karate was the family I have found in UPKUDO. At first, I was somewhat confused by how Master Anne and others called everybody their “dojo brothers and sisters.” But as I began to train more with everybody, I realized what they meant. Not only did I find a second home in UPKUDO, but I found a second family. I now feel a real connection and love for my dojo family, and I know that I would do anything for them, and that they would do the same for me. We train as a family, and we fight as a family.
     Master Anne herself has taught me far more lessons than I can count. Through her tough-love approach, she showed me how to be strong and confident, and how to defend myself, both physically and mentally, when the time came. But just as importantly, she taught me how to be humble and respectful. She always talked about how important it was to not only be respectful within the dojo, but in every other area of our lives as well. Besides my parents, I think that Master Anne has had a more profound influence on me than anybody else in my life.
     Grandmaster Baker, the founder of UPKUDO, is a major influence for me as well. I have only trained with the Grandmaster a handful of times, but I highly value every bit of time that I do. I have learned a lot of skills, especially in sparring, from the Grandmaster. Currently, I am working on being able to do an inside slap-hook kick. Grandmaster is also an inspiration not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. I do not know of anyone who can throw a hook kick as controlled as Grandmaster Baker. And of course, the fact that Grandmaster Baker founded the entire school, which has kept going for over 25 years, is a huge accomplishment by any standard.
     For me, getting my black belt would be a huge achievement, and would be something I would remember for the rest of my life. It would mean, in my eyes, a fulfillment of the time that I have been training with UPKUDO. However, I know that a black belt is only a stepping-stone to deeper learning. It does not mean that I have learned everything there is to know about karate; I am no where near that point. I know that I can never master karate, but that I will always strive toward mastery. I am inspired by the fact that even Master Anne says that she learns something new every day.
     Even after more than three years of training, I know there are many areas where I can still improve. I could be a more versatile fighter in the ring; I would like to learn Podokun, Podokun 1, Haion 5, and if allowed, the sai kata; I can always improve the katas I already know; I can improve my reflexes in self-defense; I can improve my techniques, especially jumps and spins; I can work toward being a better person outside of the dojo; I can work to become a better student and teacher; and of course, I could always be a little bit faster, stronger, and more flexible. But I know that when I do complete these goals, there we be new ones after them that I will work toward.
     As an UPKUDO student, I recognize that I am training for myself. I have competed in tournaments before, but I have realized that karate, for me, is not about competition. I would rather compete with myself than with others. However, if I am given the opportunity, I would love to be able to share what knowledge I have been given with others. I have helped teach classes with the senseis, and have always enjoyed doing so. As a black belt, I would be more than willing to give as much time to others and I take for myself, partly because I know that I still learn new things even when teaching others.
     I have seen many students come and go in UPKUDO. Many just became tired of taking karate, but others stopped coming to class because they had to. Some have had to take a military leave, and others moved to another city. But almost all of those who were forced to leave from UPKUDO still remain part of our family in some way or another. I myself do not know what the future holds in store for me. I do know that I will be going to college soon, and I may have times when I cannot make it to class, or I may have to move out-of-state to finish my major. However, I will do everything in my power to continue my training for as long as I can. And whether or not I am able to train at the dojo, I will always be UPKUDO at heart. I am UPKUDO. I always will be.

Geremy Gerald
Black Belt

Picture of Geremy standing in front of trophies      When I first started I was immature in so many different ways and of course Master Anne saw something in me that I did not, I still don’t know how she does it but the can always tell if you have potential. The first week was harsh I am not going to lie, especially in kickboxing class. I wanted to quit a couple of time but every time I wanted to, it always seemed to catch my Masters ears and she would always say just the right things to say to make stop giving up on myself. After 1 month I started to call people in my dojo “family” and before I knew it I already started to think of Master Anne as my second mom. I only knew Master Anne for not even a year after I thought of her like that, because she was and still is my role model. Never giving up, never saying I can’t, never judging, always putting 150 to 200% in all she does, and always loving.
Picture of Geremy sparring      To me a Black Belt is a person who does not give up no matter what, if faced with an obstacle instead of stopping they find a way to overcome it keep on pressing forward with their heads high. I finally knew what “staying green” meant when I went to one of Grandmaster’s seminars, when I heard you tell him “stay green”. At first a little confused but now I know that it means to keep train to become perfect even if not there keep on pressing even if you do it a million times it might not be perfect but it will be better. Black Belts are the teachers of the new generation without them there will be no UPKUDO. And you can’t just be a teacher just by having strength alone you have to have wisdom as well, as you say grandmaster “wisdom is greater than technique.” You have to do your best no matter the outcome and always thrive to be better. Be diligent in their training, they must be a fearless warrior but the same time a gentle warrior that is what it takes to be a Black Belt to me and I swear that I will be that Black Belt.