Renchi Rachel Camp


2016 Women's Sparring Grand Champion

Wheeles Karate Academy, Battle of the Beach (Chris Wheeles)

Place of Birth & Place Growing Up

Albertville, Alabama - Born and Raised

Year Started Studying Martial Arts: 1989

Years in the Martial Arts: 30

Years Teaching Martial Arts: 25

Martial Arts Style(s) and Belt Rank(s)

7th Dan Renchi, Chito Ryu Yoshukai Karate


Your Instructor

Sensei Rayburn Nichols (deceased)

Professional Organizations

Albertville Chamber of Commerce

Personal Achievements

• Body Building

2001 – PowerHouse Gym International Employee of the Year

2002 – American Classic 1st Place Heavyweight Bodybuilding

2002 – Overall Women’s Bodybuilding

2003 – Southern Classic 1st Place Heavyweight Bodybuilding

2003 – Overall Women’s Bodybuilding

2005 – NPC Alabama State 1st Place Heavyweight Bodybuilding

2006 – NESTA Lifetime Certification

Certified Personal Trainer

Charitable Donations and Community Service

• Albertville City Schools Running Club Supporter

• Read Across America Week – Guest Reader, Karate Mini-Clinics

• IKF Albertville Leadership Team – Lead Volunteer, Community-wide Volunteer Work

• Christian Women's Job Corp – Awareness & Self-defense for Women

• Local Church groups – Awareness & Self-defense Classes

• Ogden House – Teen Residential Treatment Center - Awareness & Self-defense Classes

• Boaz City Schools Bama Bells – Underprivileged Girls - Awareness & Self-defense Classes

• Youth groups – Awareness & Self-defense Classes – Kids through College-aged

• Senior Citizens – Awareness & Self-defense Classes, Mobility & Strengthening Classes

• Frequently donates “6 Months of Karate” packages for local school fundraisers

   – includes a free gi and 6 months dues

• Cut It Out program - New Beginning College of Cosmetology

• Douglas City Schools - Summer Camp, First Start Self-Defense Program

• Guntersville City Schools - Summer Camp


Major Martial Arts Achievements

1990 - US Yoshukai Karate #1 Ranked Women Competitor

1990 - US Yoshukai Top Speed Breaking Competitor

1991 - US Yoshukai Karate #1 Ranked Women Competitor

1992 - 1st Dan

1992 - Began instructing under Rod Lowery

1992 - US Yoshukai Karate Top Competitor Award

1993 - Alabama Karate Circuit Top Competitor

1993 - Instructor under Jerry Cox

1995 - 2nd Dan

1996 - Instructor under Rayburn Nichols

1999 - 3rd Dan

2001 - 4th Dan

2001 - Owner/Operator IKF Albertville Karate, teaching

            Adult Classes at PowerHouse Gym

2003 - Chito Ryu Yoshukai Karate Student of the Year

2004 - Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee

2004 - Marshall County of Alabama Certificate of Excellence

            Leadership Award

2004 - 5th Dan – Shihan

2006 - Opened First Dojo in a small rental space, training adults

             and children

2007 - Built 3,600 sq ft dojo

2008 - 6th Dan – Shihan

2013 - 7th Dan – Renchi/Master Instructor

2014 - Krav Maga Level 1 Certification

2015 - Boy Scouts of America, Certified Self-Defense Merit Badge


2016 - Albertville City Schools Super Citizen Award

2016 - Built 6,000 sq ft Dojo – Current Location

2018 - Albertville City Schools Super Citizen Award

“If you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~Confucius


Sensei Nichols loved this quote and shared it with his instructors. How many people, though, really get to live it? As I look forward to my 30-year anniversary as a martial artist, I realize that I am one of those very few who have been blessed to live this life.


I will always remember my very first karate class. In 1989 I walked into a dojo for the first time. I was in a violent marriage and looking for a way out. I thought, “If I can just learn enough to fight back then maybe I can leave.” Training first with Rod Lowery, then Jerry Cox, I worked hard and progressed through kyu grades. I entered tournaments and ranked as the No. 1 Women’s tournament fighter in 1991 and 1992. I earned my 1st degree black belt under Mr. Lowery. I began teaching some of the classes and got a taste of what it would be like to be an instructor.

Along the way, karate gave me a way to face my abuser and get myself and my daughter out of an abusive situation and into a safe home. I truly believe that karate saved my life.


Around 1993, friends began travelling to Birmingham to train with Sensei Nichols and I went along. The hour-long drive there and back was a lot but the International Karate dojo in Centerpoint felt like the place I needed to be. I learned a lot very quickly and tested for my 2nd Dan under Sensei Nichols.


With International Karate, under the guidance of Sensei Nichols, I began teaching kids in after-school programs. It was a modest start. I drove 1 ½ hours each way to train a handful of students, but I loved it. As I grew in my training and teaching, I was able to begin an after-school program closer to home, in Union Grove, and eventually in my hometown of Albertville. I was still diving 2 hours round trip – two days a week - to train, but I could teach right there at home.


As I grew in rank, and grew as an instructor and martial artist, something was really nagging at me. Each new “first” in my martial arts journey reminded me of my first class. I knew this was telling me something but I hadn’t sorted out the message just yet.


Life was moving on as I welcomed another beautiful daughter, was working full time, and still had time to train and teach karate after school. Really, everything was good, but I still felt that pull in a new direction. I believe that God has a plan for me. If I am working against that plan, and working MY plan, it won’t work. If God wants you to be doing something, or does NOT want you to be doing something, the signs will be all around you. The signs were all around me. My employer was closing its doors. My karate classes were growing. Sensei was encouraging me to branch out and to consider teaching adults. Everything was pushing me in the same direction. So, one day I just decided that I’m going to do it. I’m going to quit my job and pursue karate full time.


During this time, I still loved competing, but I wanted to focus on teaching and training while raising my children. I wanted to turn my attention away from competition and awards and think about what really drove me to start karate in the beginning. I know that a powerful program can change lives, even save lives, and I wanted to offer that program in my community. I knew I needed to work with adults.

In 2001 I made an agreement with the owner of PowerHouse Gym and started an adult class in the aerobics room two nights a week.

It wasn’t long before we outgrew the training floor at PowerHouse so I rented a slightly bigger space down the road. It was exciting to create a dojo and welcome my students onto the floor that first night. Again I remembered my first class and what drove me to begin training. I knew I needed to do more. Teaching and training were a priority, but I knew that I also needed to start giving back to the organization that had given so much to me and my family. I started exploring volunteer and community service opportunities. Word got out fast and I had several clinics and workshops scheduled. I worked with local churches, Christian Women’s Job Corp, Ogden House (an adolescent residential treatment center), and local school and community groups.


My classes grew larger than I could have ever hoped. We outgrew the rental space, but I couldn’t find another space that would work for us. Sensei said to me, “So build one.” Well, I had never considered that! But I trusted Sensei and was grateful for his faith in me. So, I found a commercial lot, had a building put up, and opened my very own dojo in 2007.


I began using my dojo to host self-defense clinics, community safety and awareness programs and domestic violence awareness programs. Finally I was doing the work that I knew I should be. I was teaching and training, but I was also giving back.


In 2016, we needed more room to grow so I built a bigger building and moved to my current location. I teach karate year-round at the dojo, teach after-school programs during the school year, host summer camps and clinics during summer, host Karate Birthday Parties, and have a mini Ninja Warrior type obstacle course in the dojo.

Training Schedule:



Fall Training Schedule

(September - May)


5 - 7 Yr. Old: Beginners                              5 – 5:50 p.m.

8-12 Yr. Old:  Beginners - Green Belts      6 – 6:50 p.m.

13 & up Adults: -  beginner - Black Belt

Kids - brown & black belt                           7 – 8:00 p.m.

Day Classes

5 years old and up, all ranks

Tuesday / Thursday, 1:00-2:00 p.m.


8-12 Yr. Old:  Beginners - Green Belts       6 – 6:50 p.m.

13 & up Adults: -  beginner - Black Belt

Kids - brown & Black Belt                            7 – 8:00 p.m.


5 - 7 Yr. Old: Beginners                           5 – 5:50 p.m.

13 & up Adults: -  beginner - Black Belt

Kids - brown & black belt                        6 – 7:30 p.m.


Summer Training Schedule

(June - August)

5 - 12 Year Old Green & Below

Monday / Thursday, 6:00 - 6:50 p.m.

13 & Up,

Adult & Kids Brown and Black Belts

Tuesday 6 - 7:30 p.m.

Monday / Thursday, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Day Classes

5 years old and up, all ranks

Tuesday & Thursday, 1:00-2:00 p.m.


Monday / Wednesday

Beginners: 3:00 - 3:45 p.m.

Advanced: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

In The Gym

IKF Albertville Karate

413 Martling Rd.

Albertville, AL 35950

Ph:  (256) 878-0729


IKF Albertville Karate

Featuring Chito-Ryu Yoshukai Karate

© 2016-18 IKF-Albertville Karate.