In the world of the martial arts Kancho Soller is a bit of an enigma. He is a true martial scholar devoted to the continued study of traditional budo karate while embracing the adaptive view that modern exercise science has brought to the martial arts world. In 1981 he founded the Phoenix Karate-do Association Kyokushinkai International, a budo organization dedicated to human potential and education through training. For over forty years Kancho has trained and instructed students. His Phoenix Way is based on a physically demanding progressive form of kumite, disciplined kihon and a relentless emphasis on kata. And through it all, Soller demands courtesy from the lowest to the highest of ranks. While a trainer of champions, he would prefer credit as a builder of "character".
Soller is the Kancho for the Phoenix organization, a complex position that is truly the "head of the house". The Phoenix Kancho is actually two positions in one, that of Chairman and that of Chief Instructor. In other words, he oversees the entire administration of an international organization as chairman of the board and represents pedagogical expertise on the dojo floor as the Chief Instructor. He manages and he sweats with karateka worldwide.
His many students and friends are in all corners of here and there, often surprisingly so. Those few who truly know him well, would speak of his perspicacity, dedication and presence. While widely traveled and educated, he has never lost his love for the traditional hard hitting, physical nature of jissen karate.
In 1985 I wrote this poem and later dedicated it to Kancho's first work, "The Phoenix Way", a highly acclaimed and successful curriculum guide. I proudly rededicate this poem to this newest work, "Sun & Moon".
The stillness of water
With its rushing power
The release of a breeze
And the force of a hurricane
Flow of river with the
Stability and strength of
The rocks it rushes over
Focus of the mind linked
With peace of the heart
Karate; empty hand.
Cathy Melanson Shihan
Kancho Dan S. Soller
Chairman & Chief Instructor
Shuseki Shihan Cathy Melanson began training with Kancho Soller in 1983 at the Mount St. Mary’s University Dojo. A holder of the 7th dan, she has travelled around the world promoting and training in Phoenix karate. An internationalist and long-term educator in secondary education, she is a specialist in curriculum development and learning. She is known for her exceptional leadership and commitment to detail in training. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, with a focus in European History and pre-WWII Germany.
Shuseki Shihan Cathy Melanson
Vice Chair of the International Executive Council
Branch Chief of the USA Capital Region
Shuseki Shihan Anthony Codispoti began training with Kancho Soller in 1988 at the Mount St. Mary’s Dojo. A holder of the 7th dan, he is known for his powerful technique, progressive instruction and commitment to training. He founded and serves as the Chief Instructor of the prestigious New Jersey USA dojo. A successful financial advisor and First Vice President of a major international wealth management firm, he helps lead the charity division of the Association. Shuseki Shihan is a quoted author and innovator on anti-bullying techniques and philosophies for children. He holds an undergraduate degree in business management and administration.
Shuseki Shihan Anthony Codispoti
Vice Chair of the International Executive Council
Branch Chief of the USA Northeast Region
From the book, Sun & Moon
DAN S. SOLLER founded the Phoenix Karate-do Association Kyokushinkai International in 1981 and continues to oversee the organization as the Kancho, head of the house. A world class instructor, he enjoys an exceptional reputation with students around the globe.
A traditional and budo based karate organization, Phoenix stresses continuous self-improvement through physically demanding training and reflection. The USA based organization has headquarters in the USA and Ukraine, with an extensive legacy leadership having dedicated decades to the Phoenix Way.
Soller began training in the renowned style of Kyokushin at the age of sixteen under Raymond Elmore Shihan (USA), later serving as his chief instructor. He was awarded a full academic fellowship to develop karate at Southern Illinois University and went on to organize karate in the eastern USA before developing his Phoenix Way around the world.
Soller is known for his friendly demeanor, teaching integrity and powerful dojo presence. He continues to promote the traditional and educational values of karate while emphasizing students’ development and human potential. Along with managing the international organization, Soller remains an unyielding and fierce competitor, and continues to personally teach and train in his small dojo.
He is the author of Phoenix Budo~ The Phoenix Way of Kyokushin Karate (2013); Sun & Moon, My Path of the Phoenix Way of Kyokushin Karate (2012) and Phoenix Way ~ Kyokushin Karate (2000; second printing 2006). Soller founded Camp Phoenix, the Association’s international summer gashuku in 1983.
Perhaps unique among highly ranked international instructors, Soller also serves as an education executive, having careers in secondary and higher education. He holds academic degrees from Southern Illinois University, James Madison University and Richard Bland College of the College of William & Mary.