Rachel Manela MLIS, MAPH

Rachel is a librarian and martial artist. She first was interested in the martial arts as a child when her dad told her stories about his studies in Aikido. Later, Rachel studied Tang Soo Do. As an adult Rachel discovered Isshinryu. She received her rank of Sho Dan in 2018 and her current rank of San Dan in 2022. She has over 1000 teaching hours working with children and adults of all ranks and abilities. Rachel has been nominated in the top five more than once as Female Karate Ka of the year at the Isshinryu Hall of Fame, and received that top honor in 2019. She has also been nominated in the top five for "Spirit of Isshinryu" more than once. She has competed at multiple tournaments receiving multiple awards of  1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in Kata, Weapons and Kumite. 

This website was developed in relation to completion of a Masters in Public History from Wayne State University. 

When not practicing Karate or working as a librarian Rachel loves to read, travel, and watch movies. 


The mission of this project is to collect and preserve the stories of Isshinryu Masters in the United States. Every group has a story to tell. The act of studying karate is the act of studying history, learning ancient techniques and applying them to present day life. Much of that history is preserved through the oral tradition, stories told by masters to younger students. While such passing of knowledge is vital to the ethos of a dojo, it also means those stories, that history, can be lost if no one is there to record it. Thus, a project like this is born in order to take time to ask questions, listen to masters, and draw connections from the past to the present.


Isshinryu Speaks is built on a commitment to education with an intense focus on the collecting, sharing, and preserving of Isshinryu Master's stories.