20 May

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I submit this post announcing that on May 18th, a mentor, and a dear friend, Shihan Wayne Norlander, unexpectedly and untimely passed away. Since that date, the stars do little to illuminate the dark void of my heart, even the rising sun fails to pierce the blackness as it humbly attempts to herald the splendor of a new day.

For those who wish to pay their respects to Shihan and his family, you may do so at

Petrick Funeral Home, 140 Palisade Avenue, Bogota, NJ (201) 487-3053.

Sunday, May 22nd from 7 to 9 pm and Monday, May 23rd from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm.

You are encouraged to contact the funeral home to verify the above arrangements as they become final.

My condolences to Shihan’s wife, children, family, Yudansha & students.

To view photographs of Shihan Norlander’s elevation to Ku-Dan (9th degree black belt), please click this convenient link:

I shall have a more fitting memorial to Shihan on the Memorial Page at the appropriate time, for now I simply say –

Shihan, I shall miss our conversations.


  1. Shihan Kenny Zuck January 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    As a follow-up to an earlier e-mail I will say a prayer for the Norlander family. I know that his spirit is looking down upon all of his family, students, and friends. I was invited to attend the Feb 23, 2011 Shiai through Shihan Norlander directly but I could not attend. That was the last time I spoke with him and I feel at such a loss I found out so late about his passing. I truly hope I will be re-contacted via e-mail so I may be able to contact Pablo and Scott directly to offer my condolences and to meet with them in the future. God bless.

    Shihan Kenny Zuck
    Flanders Isshinryu Do-Kai

    • Sensei John January 2, 2012 at 8:41 am #

      Shihan Zuck:

      Thank-you for your follow-up. Shihan Norlander had informed me as to your invitation to the February 23rd, 2011 senior Black Belt elevation ceremony. It would have been good to meet you as Shihan spoke highly of you. I will e-mail Sensei Paneque & Sensei Zamora, who have assumed the responsibilities of the USA Goshin-Ryu Dojo, so that they may contact you directly.

      Thank-you again,

      Sensei John Szmitkowski

      • Shihan Kenny Zuck January 2, 2012 at 9:04 am #

        Sensei John

        I am both appreciative and grateful for the response. Had I known of what happened I would have paid my respects at that time. In this case no one had contacted me and I assumed Pablo and Scott had no knowledge of my e-mail address. I was crushed to hear about Wayne and not knowing about his passing. It was by shear circumstance I was on the Internet and this was how I found out. This thru: ” Shihan John’s blog page”. I do want to visit Pablo and Scott personally and pay my respects one day soon. Take care and be well John and best wishes for the New Year of 2012. God bless. Please inform them of my posts also if you would be so kind.

        Kenny Zuck

  2. Shihan Kenny Zuck January 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    I was shocked to read of Wayne’s passing. He was a great friend and this took me totally by surprise. I spoke to him at the start of the year in 2011. He and I were both associated with Dennis Sammartino for a number of years as Dennis and I were the best of friends in Isshinryu for some 15 years prior to his passing. Wayne was a true gentleman and a fine martial artist. I would appreciate an e-mail back if possible to find out more of what exactly happened. I was never contacted by anyone an I would like to pay my respects to the student base if possible as I knew them well.

    • Sensei John January 2, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Shihan Zuck:

      Thank-you for your comment. I will send a private e-mail as to the particulars of Shihan Norlander’s passing.

      My best,
      Sensei John Szmitkowski

  3. Shihan Paul Goncalves May 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    My sincere condolences to the Norlander family. I first met Shihan Wayne Norlander in 1972 in Kearny. We had not spoken in a few years until he stopped at our Dojo a few months ago. I have always had the upmost respect for him not only as a Martial Artist but as an individual. He will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers are with the Family.

    Shihan Paul Goncalves
    Pineland Karate School
    Jackson, NJ

  4. dennis j melone May 22, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I opened the newspaper this morning and was deeply saddened by a man I’ve recently befriended. About 2 months ago Norlander Sensei walked into my Ridgefield Park dojo because he read the sign above “classical okinawan karate and kobudo”……We had a warm and friendly two hour conversation about karate and our beginnings as I started in USA Gojo in 1977 and spent a short while in Goshin Do in Pal Park before becoming a permanent fixture with Taika Oyata. We shared a lot of the same “old school” mentalities and laughed our butts off that day. We were surprised we’ve never crossed paths however on that day by the end of our conversation …. we looked at each other and said we made each other’s day…..Rest In Peace my friend….was my Blessing to have met you…..

    Dennis J Melone

  5. Eric Wayne Norlander May 21, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Such kind words. You were a great friend to my dad, and he spoke of you often and fondly. Thank you for the years of friendship, conversation, wisdom, and respect you shared with him and showed to him.

  6. Matthew Dalessandro May 20, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Matthew Dalessandro
    RIP Sensei NORLANDER. You will be missed by many. Thank you for all your guidance and wisdom over the years. My heart and prayers go out to the NORLANDER family and all who were blessed to have known him. Will one day see you again my friend

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