Shūdōkan translates as "the hall for the study of the way". It was given this name by Kanken Tōyama, although Tōyama was primarily concerned with propagating the karate he had learned from Ankō Itosu and the Chinese martial arts he had learned while living in Taiwan, rather than founding his own style. Through a shared lineage from Itosu, Shūdōkan and Shōrin-ryū share many aspects, but Shūdōkan tends to emphasize larger movements. Additionally, although many of the same kata are taught in both systems, there are some kata unique to Shūdōkan. The Okinawan Karate Club of Atlanta teaches the following kata with a Shūdōkan emphasis.
Walter Todd (1927-1999) was the late Shibu-cho (Branch Director) for the US, appointed by Kanken Tōyama. Walter Todd was an exceptional martial artist with training in various styles such as Jūdō (8th dan, taught by Kyūzō Mifune and Ichirō Abe), Wadō-ryū karate (taught by Hironori Ōtsuka), Shōtōkan karate (taught by Isao Obata), and Aikidō (6th dan, taught by Kenji Tomiki and Kōichi Tōhei).
Walter Todd started training in Shūdōkan karate under Yoko Takahashi, a student of Kanken Tōyama. Todd was granted the authority to rank students in Shūdōkan and direct development of the art in the USA as Shibu-cho (Branch Director) by Kanken Tōyama. After Tōyama’s death, his son approved Todd’s promotion to the rank of 8th dan. Walter Todd continued to teach and promote martial arts, even after a near fatal auto accident that left him with artificial hips. The Okinawan Karate Club of Atlanta, and its forerunners the Okinawan Karate Club of Dallas and the Okinawan Karate Club of Ann Arbor, received support from Walter Todd until his death, and from his widow Eve Todd until her death.