The History of Traditional Karate Pioneers, Legends and Champions in the 20th Century.™

By Gary Lee
Edited by Dana Stamos

Gary Lee Sword

In the sixties martial art weapons had not been introduced into martial arts events around the country, in fact the half time shows were either weapons demonstrations or self defense techniques displayed because they were spectacular to watch. Sooner or later producers got smart. The legendary karate Master, Sid Campbell was one of the first to introduce weapons competition on the west coast and the great Master Aaron Banks introduce weapons on the east coast.

One of the Museum of Sport Karate’s™ all-time favorite martial arts weapons performers was was Hanshi Andrew Linick, who won countless weapon’s kata championships. He would dazzle thousands of spectators with his flawless skill and his rare talent mystified audiences and judges alike. His Okinawan weapons expertise included: Nunchaku, Sai, Bo, Kama, Tonfa and Sword. Grandmaster Linick is known by his peers as the teacher’s teacher or the Okinawan Weapon’s Technician.

Some of the super stars of weapns in the sixties and seventies were Eric Lee, Al Dacascos,Tadashi Yamashita, Andrew Linick Ph.D, Hidy Ohcai, Dale Kirby, Cindy Rothrock, Mark Dacascos, James Lew, Phillip Koppel, James Cook and many, many others.

In the early seventies weapons had a division of their own and anything was allowed, Kung Fu, Staffs, Sai, all the Kobudo weapons, farm tools and even spears. At the 1981 Fort Worth Pro-Am, in Fort Worth, Texas, a competitor pulled a 357 Magnum pistol fill with blanks and shot at the judges. It was very loud and frighting. He was arrested, but it shook up the crowd. I hit the floor and dove behind a chair. I took third place that day. It was the loudest third place I had ever won.

To me, the most tenacious of all martial art weapons is the sword and I have studied it with great reverance. I have seen it used both in the past and in the present by many who compete or perform. So often I see it used improperly. It would make me nervous when I saw someone wearing a sword upside down or touching the blade, or letting some one touch the blade. It hurt to see them drop the blade, or cut himself or the uki. Sometimes the competitor would loose the blade and it would go into the audience and hit some innocent bystander! In those days there were no medics on hand and it was scary stuff.

The draw should be pure, touched by no one except the competitor and the owner of the sword. After you draw you clean your sword, oil your sword and clean your sword again. Why, because a good blade should be nourished, taken care of like a brother, with responsibility. The blade is your partner and you become one, because in a different time, your life depended on it.

I had a spectacular experience competing with the sword in Guatemala City in 1993. There were some 5,000 Guatemalens in the audience and their cheering was deafening. When I walked on stage and drew the sword, they became utterly silent, I could hear only the thunder, and the bright light of the lighting cracked around me in the huge outside dome. Special super star guest, Bill Ryusaki, said “I have never seen someone awe and quiet a huge crowd like this since Bruce Lee performed at the Long Beach Internationals. It was amazing!

There is always someone at a Sport Karate event if there is a weapons division that draws. You may not see him or know he is there, but if you disrespect his sword he will let you know, yes I said “his sword”.

You never see the purest drawers competing at a sport karate event because drawing for them is not display. I do believe in competing with the sword and demonstrating the sword, Kubuki acting at it’s finest, drawing at your best, but I understand those who do not wish to compete or perform in demonstrations as their’s is a different world.

If swords are in your blood as they are in mine, I want to introduce you to
They have the most incredible choice in swords and accessories and a superb commitment to service. Ask for a Museum of Sport Karate™ discount!

May you be blessed,

Professor Gary Lee
9th Dan, Okinawan Karate
8th Dan, Imorei Ryu, Art of the Fast Draw

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