Dan began the study of Isshin Ryu Karate in 1982. Currently holding the rank of Nana-dan (7th degree black belt), Dan was named the 2008 Male Instructor of the Year by the International Isshinryu Hall of Fame and subsequently inducted into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame in July 2013, becoming the 101st member of the Hall. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Order of Isshin Ryu, founded by Toby Cooling in 1971. Dan’s training in martial arts also includes Modern Arnis and Kombatan. He is a student of these stick fighting arts originating in the Philippines under the direction of Grandmaster Rick Manglinong, where he currently holds the rank of Lakan Dalawa (2nd degree black belt) in SMP Arnis.
In 1990, Dan began his study of Kendo under Sensei Duk Yeong Kim, progressing to the rank of Yon-dan (4th degree black belt). In tandem with Kendo, Sensei Kim provided Dan instruction in the art of Shodo or Japanese calligraphy. Although his Kendo/Shodo sensei passed away in 2007, Dan continues to practice Shodo to honor his teacher.
Dan has also promoted two tournaments for the World Kumdo Association (Korean Kendo) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The 1st World Kumdo Association tournament held in 1998 and the 2nd U.S. Open Kumdo Championships held in 2001 where he received the Kumdo Ambassador Award. Sensei Popp has twice held exhibitions at Mulberry Art Studios during Lancaster’s First Friday; in September 2009 and July 2010. The July 2010 exhibition titled “Shodo – The Floating Brush” received listing in both Central PA magazine and Lancaster magazine. His last exhibit was held in Harrisburg, PA at Gallery at Second in September 2012. Traditional Shodo requires black ink on white paper; however, Dan is currently adding different mediums such as acrylic to his artistic style as well as expanding into abstract presentations. Dan is working towards future exhibitions in the Harrisburg, PA area. Commissioned works are available upon request.
He is the author of three books which can be ordered through Amazon or the publisher in both print and Kindle:
- Sensei’s Final Lessons – A Memoir, published in 2012 by Outskirts Press.
- The Floating Brush, Learning Japanese Calligraphy from a Kendo Master, published in 2014 by Kamel Press.
- Order of Isshin Ryu – One Family, One Dojo, published in 2018 by Kamel Press.
Sensei Popp has two publications in process at this time, one of which will present the martial art of Chi Ryu Jiujitsu, founded by Masters Isham Latimer, John Costanzo, and John McDonald.
A 1994 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Professional Accountancy, Dan was employed in 1999 by the National Credit Union Administration where he still serves as a federal examiner specializing in IT audits. He holds several IT and information security audit certifications including CISA, CGEIT, and CRISC. He resides in Harrisburg, PA with his two daughters, Britteni and Kayla.