Professor Joe Shuras was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, and started his martial arts training in 1973 in Okinawan Goju Ryu under Sensei Roger Labbe in Marlboro, Massachusetts. In 1974, he studied Shaolin Kempo directly under the tutelage of Sensei Craig Seavey of Framingham, Ma., who at that time, was a Chief Instructor for Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari. On January 7th, 1977, Mr. Shuras was tested and promoted to the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt by GM. Villari in Dedham, Ma. He was sponsered by Mr. Seavey. Professor Shuras would later co-own the Framingham studio with Mr. Seavey, eventually owning his own school in Milford, Massachusetts, in 1978. Currently, "Hanshi" Seavey, is a 10th dan and creator of Seavey's Traditional Kenpo Jiu Jutsu. Mr. Seavey was the former co-head of the Nick Cerio Kenpo schools.
Professor Shuras earned his 2nd and 3rd dan with Grandmaster Villari, Master John Fritz (currently a 9th dan, Shaolin Kempo) and Hanshi Seavey. During this time he also studied at Grandmaster S. George Pesare's Kempo Karate Institute in Providence, Rhode Island. Professor Shuras studied Bando Kickboxing under Sensei James Domestico who was also a Sandan in Shaolin Kempo. Mr. Domestico was a Black Belt of Dr. Maung Gyi of Ohio State University who is a Master of Bando Kickboxing. Mr. Shuras studied Master Chan Poi's Northern Wah Lum Tam Tui Praying Mantis Kung Fu system under Sifu David Simione for two years. During this period, Professor Shuras performed an extremely well received 'demo' for Master Chan Poi and Sifu Bob Rosen in Boston in front of a full house.
Prior to that, Professor Shuras trained in Pai Lum Kempo Kung Fu under Sifu Anthony Stevens for a short time. Mr. Stevens' was a student of Grandmaster Thomas St. Charles.
Professor Shuras also studied under martial arts and karate hall of famer, Grandmaster Ray Szuch, of Cleveland, Ohio, in Police Defensive Tactics and related martial arts, including Hapkido, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Japanese Jiu Jitsu. Mr. Szuch was also a former coach of the United States Olympic team. Gm. Szuch was the founder of the United States Police Defensive Tactics Association. Grandmaster Szuch is the owner / operator of the Cleveland Academy of Self Defense and International Stunts and Movie Extras. He is also a 1988 inductee of the International Black Belt Honor Society. Mr. Shuras served as the Massachusetts State Director and Assistant National Director of the U.S. Police Defensive Tactics Association.
Professor Shuras received an International Police Instructor's Certification in Defensive Tactics from Gm. Szuch and a Godan ranking in Shaolin Kempo Karate sanctioned by the International Black Belt Association (empowered to award dan ranks up to 8th degree) through Gm. Szuch (U.S. Representative of the I.B.B.A.). This rank was officially recognized by Professor Nick Cerio, then Rhode Island State Director of the U.S.P.D.T.A. The two were introduced a short time before by Kathy Shuras, on the same day that Joe caught Professor Cerio's attention while performing a police defensive tactics demonstration at a tournament in Franklin, Ma. Professor Shuras also trained, tested for and earned a Master Instructor Certification from the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council, from Officer David Standen, Defensive Tactics Head Training Coordinator and the Executive Board of the M.C.J.T.C. Officer Shuras is also a registered member of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers.
Later, Mr. Shuras was accepted as a private student of Professor Nick Cerio, testing and earning a Rokkudan ranking and was bestowed with the Honorable Title of Shihan on May 19th, 1992 in Warwick, Rhode Island. Professor Cerio rarely awarded the shihan title (master instructor, teacher of teachers). Professor Nicholas R. Cerio passed away on October 7, 1998. He will be sadly missed.
In 1994, Professor Joe, Shihan Kathy, Professor Nick Cerio and Professor Paula Pucino were honored by being special guests to a private affair by Sifu Bruce Corrigan to attend Sijo Victor 'Sonny' Gascon's first visit to a mainland school in 30 years. This was held at Sifu Corrigan's Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu Kenpo Karate school at Virginia Beach. He was accompanied by the late Professor Walter L. N. Godin, a first generation Adriano Emperado Black Belt and original co-founder of Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu. Mr. Godin was also a student under Professor William Kwai Sun Chow receiving his 'Professorship' from Mr. Chow in 1973.
On April 13th of 2003 Mr. Shuras was promoted to the rank of 7th degree Black Belt at Senior Grandmaster S. George Pesare's Kempo Karate Institute Kaito Gakko (School of Schools -Best of the East & West) in Providence, Rhode Island by Grandmaster Donna Lynn Vinbury and SGM. Pesare. SGM. Pesare is the undisputed founder of Kempo / Kenpo Karate in New England. Professor Shuras was also promoted to 7th Degree Black Belt personally by Great Grandmaster H. Victor "Sonny" Gascon, founder of Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu-the Hawaiian and Shaolin Kempo method. GGM. Gascon was SGM. Pesare's teacher. On October 16, 2004 Professors Joe & Kathy Shuras were inducted into the World Martial Arts Federation (WMAF) Hall of Fame held in Danvers, MA. Professors Joe & Kathy were chosen 'Male & Female Master Instructors of the Year' by the WMAF.
Mr. Shuras is the Massachusetts President of the Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu Black Belt Society and also has served as Acting National Director of the KGS BBS. Professors Joe and Kathy Shuras are co-owners of Milford Studio of Self Defense in Massachusetts, founded February 1, 1978. Joe Shuras had later earned an 8th Degree Black Belt and is listed as serving "with "honor and distinction" directly under the Family Tree of the Undisputed New England Founder of Kempo/Kenpo Karate, Senior Grand Master S. George Pesare.
Joe Shuras currently has attained official international recognition of his unique personalized perspective of Kempo by the Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu Black Belt Society and it's founder, Sijo H. Victor "Sonny" Gascon. For this recognition of his efforts and his contributions to the art of Kempo/Kenpo Karate since 1973, he was awarded the 10th Degree Black Belt Grandmastership in his own system called Karate Kempo Go Shinjutsu.
Gm. Shuras' art is unique in the sense he has had the first hand opportunity of directly experiencing the training, knowledge and personal perspectives of the Five Big Guns of the New England Kempo/Kenpo Karate's lineage: Hanshi Craig Seavey, GM. Frederick J. Villari, SGM. S. George Pesare, the late Professor Nicholas R. Cerio and the man who is considered the "Father of East Coast Kempo/Kenpo Karate", Sijo H. Victor "Sonny" Gascon. This, he also combines with his extensive training and experiences in law enforcement spanning over three decades.