219 comments to MUSEUM OF SPORT KARATE — Blog

  • Gary,

    Congratulation on your outstanding work with the Karate Sports Museum; I look forward to coming to Texas soon to visit you… Bt the way, I am proud of you brother…

    Yours in the Arts,

    Daniel Hect
    Masters Hall of Fame

  • Lee O. McDowell

    A little over a month ago, I went to say goodby to a friend. As I got to the place that my friend was, I saw a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a great number of years. I’m not very good at writing down what I feel but this was one of the goodbys that will be forever remembered. The friend that I went to say goodby to was Mr. Larry Caster. Being there showed me the true meaning of respect, loyalty, love, caring, pride, and honor. From Mr. Roy Kurban, who gave the best farewell speech that I’ve ever heard (along with a few jokes), to Mr. Caster’s family, to the many black belts and friends, to the officers that took care of traffic out of respect for Scott, there was nothing there but love.
    As I sit here to try and put my feeling down on paper, I wonder, just how great this man was to have so many friends to show so much love and respect.
    We all have our own way of dealing with our losses, I hope that while dealing with the loss of the physical Larry Caster, please remember the spiritial Larry Caster(fun loving and keeping stuff going).
    It was great seeing all the old friends again but his time lets do it before we pass on, I’ll start, my email address is

    Until we all can bow with honor,
    Lee McDowell
    P.S. The final bow out will be forever one of the things that I will cherish. Thanks to you all for allowing me to be a part of it with you.

  • Lance R. Hoover, MD

    It has been an incredible year competing again. Master Lee, I wish to thank you for the opportunity to participate in Garrett’s Ni Dan promotion in Houston, Texas. This helped me believe that I could be competitive again.

    Pursuing a career in medicine certainly took me away from the martial arts, but old friendships in the martial arts appear to never die. Mr. Keeney’s PKC Grand Nationals reunited me with many old martial arts friends.

    Thank you again my friend.

    Lance R. Hoover, MD

  • Bill Morrison

    I have been looking over the site and am very impressed by what I see and by what have done Mr. Lee. I an so glad that we have someone to keep the records of the greats who have come and gone and contributed so much to our sport. We now have the technology to communicate with old and new friends alike from the sport. I am so thankful for your efforts and you can count on my support in the future. sincerely,
    (Gentleman)Bill Morrison P.K.A. U.S. super heavyweight Champion #1 World Contender 1984-1986

  • This info truly helped me, I am sharing having a few friends. I shall be checking back regularly to appear for updates.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Gary Lee is the embodiment of the belief that one person can truly make a difference.
    Untiring and unyielding, Professor Lee will see the reality of the Martial Arts Sport Museum as he has seen it in his mind.
    His passion has fueled the energy of the Legends of Sport Karate who will be forever grateful… for the time and energy he has logged in this mission.
    Future stars will be inspired by the recognition bestowed on their predecessors, and the stars of yesteryear will smile on the works of Professor Lee from every country on this planet and from the heavens!
    Thanks Professor Lee for your devotion to the cause!
    Joe Corley

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    “Gary is a historian, a educator, a actor, a entertainer, a Samurai and a Big kid role up into one heck of a role model for kids, young adults and parents.
    I have really enjoyed watching his talent grow into the force of a sport karate museum for the world.
    There is no one I know who has the elite history he does in sport karate, after all he sold me back in 1982 to be the first martial arts show Astroworld had and help create many shows after that year.with fight scenes, high falls, tricks, weapons and comedy
    The Hollywood Stunt Show was a big hit and Gary played the lead.
    Gary is like a Tsunami, this huge wave that hits you with out any warning but you love the ride and you can not wait to get hit again and again!
    If Gary puts his passion into The Sport Karate Museum like he has his acting and showmanship , another winner!

    Bob Logon ,
    Entertainment Warner Brothers / Six Flags / Astroworld, Retired

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    As a martial artist I feel humble to be a part of a special group but growing up around the pioneers of sport karate in America, I feel their legacy should be shared in a respectful, educational, fun and a entertaining way, a museum of Pictures ,film ,autograph uniforms,specialty items ,Black Belts, magazines and very spceial items.
    This why the History Generals was formed so it would be real history of the sport and their amazing stories could be told, though the House of China ,Japan ,Okinawa, Korea and America.
    The Museum of Sport Karate is for all of us who love the American heros that we help create from the time when Master Robert Trias opened the first sport karate studio in 1946 to 1999 when Steven Lopez from Sugarland ,Texas won two gold medals at World Games.
    Including the Golden years from 1960 to 1987 when martial arts stars were created though movies , television and special shows like Astroworld and Six Flags Amusement.
    The Museum of Sport Karate celebrates the American dream “There are no limits”
    Professor Gary Lee
    9th Dan ,Okinawa Karate

    Professor Gary Lee shared this at Bob Wall’s Living Legends Celebrity Roast in Hollywood, California at the Burbank Hilton , 2002

    “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist, and you know how few great artists there are in the world. Teaching might be even the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and the human spirit. Children are our greatest resource. Let us teach our children well and always help them to believe in themselves. That is our duty as teachers.

    I would like to share the Aloha, love and spirit of Hawaii,

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    ゲイリー李氏は、ハワイのホノルルで1963年に空手の勉強を始めた。 彼はわずか6歳だった。 彼は1969年に彼の黒帯を取得し、本土のカリフォルニア州サンフランシスコに移動しました。 14歳の時、彼は、米国、会議、トレーニングの先駆者と武術の伝説と世界中だと思うでしょうの旅を始めた。 初期では… 記事この続きを読む

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    He judged the way he fought. In 1974 at Steen’s US Championship Jim was my head Ref in the semi final match against a fighter from California. I don’t recall his name. During the match I clipped my opponent with a hook bunch to the eye. I thought for sure I would be disqualified and Jim took a good look at the guys eye which was cut wide open and he said ” he’s still got his eyeball” he’s ok keep going. I went on to fight Pat Worley then Wallace in the finals.
    These were the good old days.
    Flem Evans

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    First Karate Rank Certificate
    On April 12, 1924, Gichin Funakoshi, the “Father of Modern Karate,” awarded karate’s first black belt dan upon seven men. The recipients included Hironori Ohtsuka, founder of wado-ryu karatedo, Shinken Gima, later of gima-ha shoto-ryu, and Ante Tokuda, Gima’s cousin) Kasuya, Akiba, Shimizu and Hirose. This beginning was a highly personal, yet formal ceremony in which Funakoshi is said to have handed out lengths of black belting and a hand brushed menjo (diploma) to his pupils.

    Origins of Martial Arts Certificate Borders Design
    The origin of the phoenix and classic border design originates in the imperial court of China and was only used on Official documents by the Emperor.

    Three symbols of the Phoenix border.

    * The Phoenix is a symbol of Virtue, Morality, Benevolence, Faith and Courtesy. The male is on the left side and the female on the right facing each other on the top center of the certificate.
    * The Cloud placed on the top center of the certificate, between the male and female Phoenix symbolizes luck as clouds bring rains for farming.
    * The Paulownia, situated on the sides and bottom of the certificate along with Chrysanthemum (crest of the Royal Family of Japan) symbolize an oath to the Gods.

    Four symbols of the Classic border
    The Blue Dragon is identified with the water gods and the gods of fertility who invoke the rains on which the harvest depends. To Confucian scholars, this mythic creature of supernatural powers represents strength, virtue and loyalty.

    * The Phoenix is a symbol of Virtue, Morality, Benevolence, Faith and Courtesy.
    * The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the White Tiger of the West, and it represents the west and the autumn season.
    * The Black Tortoise is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the Black Warrior of the North and it represents the north and the winter season. It is usually depicted as both a tortoise and a snake, specifically with the snake coiling around the tortoise.

    Professor Gary Lee
    Let us always remember where we came from and the roots of what we do ,every time we award rank remember the origins of earning a real Black Belt , not by signing a contract or paying for it, I am very proud to say I have never paid for any classes ,all was earned by cleaning toliets, bathrooms, hallways and sweeping after a work out ,very lucky,very humbled,oss

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Rosenbaum Sensei, I arrived in Texas in 1979 and they still had the remembrance of the blood and guts era , my goal was to go though whoever to be in the Top Ten in Texas and just be rated for I had a little hole in the wall school and I figured if I was rated maybe I would get some students and I would love to compete every weekend .That was the AOK circuit ,the years were good,19 awards and state championships1979-1999, One “Golden Greek” Award 1997, NBL Cowboy Conference Award 1993, a USAF Gold Medal, Weapons 1992.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    by Gary Lee

    Tale of 40 Brooms

    The stories you are about to read are true and have been lived out by the Old Sensei. There are lessons to be learned at an early age and this is one of many.

    I am nine years old and I have lived with Sensei now for three years on big WAKIKI. It was beautiful, a paradise for tropical wonders and man. The jungle, the beach and Martial Arts all blended into sort of a dream for me.

    I had lost my parents when I was four years old and had to live with my uncle. He was a mean man and I didn’t like him. One night he hit me and beat me for not taking out the trash and I decided to run away. He was always screaming. I think he missed my dad. I really believe he was forced to take care of me.

    Well, of course I didn’t go far before I was found and punished. I was told not to leave my little hut where I lived. You might say I was grounded without privileges.

    Sand, ocean and jungle are not much for a six year old to do. Plus, I was extremely lonely and missed my parents. I remember sneaking out late at night, walking down to the huge ocean to sit at the edge of the water pretending to see the mainland and all the wonders I had read about in the magazines. We had no television, not even a radio, but even then I had dreams that one day I would leave this beach and start my journey.

    One night I couldn’t sleep, so I went down to the beach and what I saw would change my life forever. In the ocean, late at night, in the crashing waves of Waikiki, I saw my first real Karate. Groups of black belts were in the ocean doing kata underneath the moonlight. I was overwhelmed and from that moment I knew what I wanted to be, a black belt, a real blackbelt.

    The next morning I ask my uncle about the late night karate class. He was mad that I even knew about it. Nonetheless, I would go down to their workouts on the beach. I was only six years old and scared to death, but I knew this was my destiny.

    I started to go everyday after school to the tiny little hut they called a dojo. No carpet, no mirrors, no air conditioning just a tiny hut, thirty foot by thirty foot in size with sand all around.

    Soon, I was there every day and night. Then one day, Sensei Kishi told me I would be staying with him instead of my uncle. I really don’t know all of the details, but Sensei would be training me and sending me to school. I guess I was traded for something, I never found out. Even on my uncle’s deathbed he would not tell me.

    Now I am training everyday and night studying Budo. The first real lesson you never forget and it stays with you forever. I had just finished my chores around the dojo and I wanted to go surfing with my friends. The wind had just picked up and the waves were breaking ten to fifteen feet off the north end of the shore. It was perfect!

    I told Sensei Kishi I was done and I was going to go out in the water. He looked up at the sky and said, “No, bad weather coming, you not surf today, too dangerous, you stay and train.”

    Well, it was the first time I ever argued with him. I didn’t really argue, I just kind of smarted off to him and said, “What? You don’t surf. All you do is karate. I need a break every now and then you know. I’m sick of training. All I do is train.”

    It would be the last time, the only time I would ever raise my voice or smart off in a bad attitude to him again. Without hesitation or emotion Sensei Kishi said, “I want you to walk into town to the hardware store and see the manager, Mr. Williams. I need for you to pick up forty brooms and bring them back here before the storm comes.”

    I never saw Sensei look at me like he did that day. It was like I had done something I had never done before and he was teaching me a lesson. Of course, I didn’t understand it at the time. I was mad because I could not go surfing and now I had to go pick up forty brooms in Honolulu, which was a ten-mile walk.

    About half way down that sandy road to Honolulu I realized I didn’t know how I was going to carry the forty brooms back from town? Then it happened. The loudest thunderclap I have ever heard and then the rain came down. It was hard rain.

    I was so mad I was crying. Why would he make me walk in a storm and why was I going to town to pick up forty brooms? I was so concerned with my own being I had forgotten about the lesson. The lesson was never question, just do and do without a bad attitude. Most of all it was about respect.

    He knew the storm was coming and he knew I could have been killed in the waves. A couple of kids had drowned. He was just taking care of me like he had done for all these years. But still, what about the forty brooms?

    I finally got to the hardware store, soaking wet and scared because I didn’t know what to expect. Mr. Williams had received a phone call and was expecting me when I walked in the store. He had put duct tape around both ends of the handles of the brooms so I could drag them back to the dojo.

    I could see Mr. Williams felt sorry for me. I was a big kid but I was only nine years old and a major storm had hit Honolulu. Mr. Williams said, “Kid, I will let you take the wheelbarrow. Just bring it back. I don’t know what you did to make Sensei Kishi so upset!”

    Well it helped a little but not a lot. Sand, rain, hard rain, a wheelbarrow and a kid pushing it for ten miles, well you can imagine. I was tired and mentally wasted. I cried a lot that day. I learned the lesson, never talk back and always respect your peers, but most important, never question or raise my voice to Sensei, for he is the teacher. Osu.

    I finally got back to the dojo and was met by Sensei at the door. He looked at me and I broke down and cried again. I said I was sorry for my attitude and it would never happen again.

    I believe that day changed my life. I can’t remember ever getting upset since that walk in the rain. Sensei Kishi and I bonded that stormy day like father and son. Oh, by the way, what happened to the forty brooms?

    That night Sensei Kishi demonstrated Kyoshi-Jujitsu. He gave the brooms one at a time to each blackbelt present. Then he instructed each blackbelt to attack him with an overhead or thrusting strike, broom handle forward.

    What I saw next I have never seen again in my entire world travels. He broke the brooms in half. The punch from the arm symbolized the attacking blow. He was so precise that he would break it low symbolizing the wrist and then high which would be the elbow breaking.

    He stopped at thirty-nine and said, “Gary get the last broom and bring it to me now!” I was so scared and it was so silent you could hear a pin drop on the sand. Remember there were over thirty black belts there plus all the students. No one knew what my day had been like or the lesson that I had learned, but that was okay because I did learn.

    So, I took the last broom, got into attack position and waited for Sensei to kia for my attack. I waited and waited. It seemed like forever. He moved, I screamed and thrust the broom forward as hard as I could with my body and soul. He caught the handle, flipped it over, swept me to the floor and was sweeping my face and body in about three seconds from the time I had thrust the broom at him. Wow! He could have broken my arm and taken me out of the picture. He helped me up, hugged me and we both said osu. For the very first time I realized what osu meant. RESPECT, RESPECT, RESPECT!

    Then he gave me the unbroken broom and said, “Gary you will not forget this day for I would like for you to sweep the front area of the dojo everyday after school or until you leave.” The front of the dojo area was sand! I took the broom and said, “Yes sir sensei.” I swept the front area everyday until I was fourteen and left for the mainland.

    When I left Hawaii in 1969 I had my blackbelt, a white gi, a 1969 Blackbelt Yearbook, a 5’8” cream Gorden and Smith Twin Fin surf board and that broken broom. Osu.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Statement from Sid Campbell, an American Sport Karate Pioneer

    Aloha and welcome,

    The Sport Martial Arts Museum Organization under the guidance of founder Gary Lee is a major step forward in preserving the past, unifying the present and strengthening the future of the sporting aspects of our art. It is also the official home of the history, traditions and accomplishments of great martial artists that pioneered the way in bringing these exciting sport-oriented martial traditions to the United States and spreading it throughout the western world.

    What we see today in the vast expanse where the martial arts have entrenched itself in American’s culture and social fabric is a plethora of positive human qualities that was spawned by the martial arts sport movement. Through venues like karate tournaments, major action-adventure motion picture productions, professionally sanctioned televised events, martial arts schools, law enforcement agency defense tactics curriculums, Internet connectivity, seminars, magazine publishers, equipment supply companies, instructional books, educational DVDs, video arcade games, etc. — can all, in one way or another, trace its roots back to the sport martial arts competitors of the early 1960s when the Asian martial traditions were being introduced to the world. More specifically, it was the martial arts competitors, tournament producers and the fans of that bygone era that we today call the “golden age” of karate in America is of where this expansive and phenomenal growth evolved from in the first place.

    Being fortunate enough to be one of the first Americans to teach Okinawan karate in the United States and western world during karate’s “golden age”

    you may read the whole story at

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Hanshi Campbell Passed away a few years ago, I know my friends Grand Master Dan Tosh and Grand Master Mark Gerry held his hand as Hanshi went to the Dojo in the sky, Eric Lee, Ernie Reyes, all the Shorin Ryu community , Kajukenbo animals too and myself miss him ,love him and think of him every day, as I write this statement he is watching me and making sure I do things right . He was teaching me a sword Kata at Bob Wall’s roast , I kept making the mistake of trying to run the event , finally
    he said ‘If you only want to give me half your time , I am only going to give you half the Kata”, I gave everything to my uki and went the room and I had my last private lesson with Hanshi ,Oss

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    He would come to San Marcos ,Texas from Korea and become the father of American Tae Kwon Do, Meet a Texan name Allen Steen and change the world of Sport Karate ,passing on their greatness to a array of incredible men and ladies, J. Pat Burleson, Pat Worley, John Worley, Larry Carnahan, Skipper Mullins, Richard Jenkins, Roy Kurban, Micky Fisher, John Chung, Charlie Lee, Fred Wren, D P Hill, Helen Chung, James Toney, George Minshew, Kieth Yates, Larry Caster, Mike Anderson, Ed, Daniel, Art Heller, Royce Young just to name a few. Each one of these Master Black Belts have made sport Karate what is is today in America along with this elite group Grand Master Linick has formed , I am humbled, oss

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Masters Hall of Fame Online Magazine

    The online magazine for the Masters Hall of Fame
    Masters Hall of Fame Online Magazine

    Masters Hall of Fame Online Magazine
    The online magazine for the Masters Hall of Fame

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    This is a very special picture to me ,not only remembering the great martial artist in this picture but I hitch hiked from California to the first UFAF tournament in Ohio in the early seventies.
    The story is at http://WWW.USADOJO.COM , go to… search and type Gary Lee , articles will come up , please read the article “The Leo Fong Connection” and it will tell the story how I met Mr.Chuck Norris and snow for the first time.

    Master Ed Young Jump spin back kick me in to a wall when first sparred him when I first moved to Houston, Betsy Rimes, his Black Belt did my Karate shows at Six Flags, Robert Sapp kicked my butt in Kata, Master Preito was my boss on “SideKicks” lots of memories
    I took two thirds places that day and still own those black hologram trophies , broken, battered from moving all over the country they are at the Museum o Sport Karate in my office.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Yes sir, It is a great little story, In the early 80’s in Houston Ihad a pretty large Dojo, fighting everywhere, my Dojo was full of pictures, one night during a fight class a man came in and was looking at the pictures.
    I walked up to him ,…said oss, bowed and asked him what picture was he looking at,he said ‘The one with Fred “Wirlwind” Wren” The great fighter from Allen Steen’s stable of Sport Karate super bad Black Belts.
    Then I said “That picture is a puzzler for me, after all these years I can’t figure out who Fred is fighting and then Master Lunn said “Thats Me”
    We became dear friends and would visit a lot of people and he created Black Belts like Chris McLean and Joe Thomas, sir the lineage goes deeper .
    Dr Maung Gyi is my son’s Godfather and Sensei, tested him for his 2nd recently.
    you can read the story at search //gary lee
    articles will come up.
    I was friends with Grand Master George Anderson also, a great man and leader Master Lunn’s instructor ,he befriended me when I was young and hitchhiking to the Four Seasons tournament , I have been very lucky to meet ,hang and learn rom these great men ,oss

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    One of my Japanese Sensei Torio Kishi told me a story, theory and lesson when I was young, He said “There are two types of pest, the good pest and the bad pest.
    The good pest is like the butterfly, beautiful, fun to watch fly, very delicate, a beautiful life, Ah, but, the bad pest is like a spider, sneaky, has a very nasty bite and has no remorse after the fact.’
    I replied quickly,
    “I want to be the good pest , the butterfly,,, Sensei said “Are you sure?”
    He then caught a spider and a butterfly and then put them in a aquarium with some rocks ,brush and water and shut the lid and then he said
    I watched for for a long time ,the Spider not moving and the butterfly flying all around, finally the butterfly landed at the water , the spider was so fast, the butterfly was gone !
    I looked up at Sensei and said “I will never be caged up and give a bad pest a chance for no remorse, and then I asked ” Kishi Sensi, Is a Tiger a good pest or a bad pest?, he quickly said “both pest live in a Tiger” lesson done ,lesson learn, oss

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    I am honored to respond,
    I have been a sport karate competitor from 1964-1999 when I retired from open and Tradional circuits around the country.
    I have been associated with different Top Ten rated groups all over the country, at one time in my journey I was fighting and doing Kata in four different groups at the same time.AOK, NBL, S.O.C.K,USAF, SEKA, traditional, and open, state titles, world titles, blah, blah, blah!
    No one cares!!
    You compete because you love the the thrill of competition and you meet incredible people!!

    I prefer traditional karate Do winning Gold in Dallas 1992, Black Belt Weapons, 61 players, Master Mikami, Roger Greene, Thomas LaPuppet judging me, that was a real title and winning National Black Belt Leauge Titles, even though they were traditional divisions, it still is a open tournament with outrageous rules!! , four Kia rule, NO MANDTORY KATA and NO BUNKAI
    Traditional circuits , you have to Qualify so the players get better because you have earned a seed to get to Nationals. Much more respect given and taken ,oss,
    Sir, it is hard for me to remember why I did so many events and to have done both, the traditional group USAF and National Black Belt Leauge Open events rom 1992-1999, but in 1997 I had the best time, winning and earning the Texas AOK Golden Greek Award, but I was a different type of animal ,sir

    From: Honalulu, Hawaii
    Web Site:

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    To all members,
    I have got to talk with some incredible persons and mentors that I read about as a karate kid in Hawaii and when I hit the mainland in “69”, these are the men that I admired and to be honest, worshiped, now because of technology, INTERNET, and passion we get to communicate, this is why I created this site for that purpose to share with the pioneers, legends and really cool persons on this page, this is a short but priceless conversation with one of the greats ,Dr Maung Gyi’s lineage , oss,
    Grand Master Bob Maxwell,
    I am honored, oss
    This is just the tip of the iceberg!

    Grand Master Bob Maxwell and Grand Master Harvey Hastings,
    Much respect,
    I spent Saturday night with some great people but one very special to us Dr. Maung Gyi, I gave him your love and hugged him and remembered History.
    Back in the late seventies, early eighties when Master Larry Lunn was in my life, he said “he had a Kata that he had learned from Dr. Gyi and Bando”, also he said” I would do it well” it was the Eagle form.

    I learned it, incorporated it into my Karate Kata List, taught it to my Black Belts, they won National Black Belt Leauge World titles and I won a few first places and Grands with that Kata. It is a display of a Eagle protecting it’s lair, pure Dr. Gyi, I hugged him again , cried a tear and went on to the next memory that was in the room.

    Answer from Grand Master Bob Maxwell

    Bob Maxwell
    Gary, I thank you so much for the rememberance and the kind words. I know Dr. Gyi holds you in the highest regard, as do I. I remember Larry Lunn very as he was brought into the Bando System by Robert Schultz of Columbus and was inducted …in Rockville, Md. Unfortunately, he chose not to continue his association with Bando some time thereafter. Politics always seems to raise it’s ugly head.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Here is the lineage from Ken Knudson and the approximate dates of their Shodan’s:
    Ken Knudson-1964 ( Former top ten ranked fighter by black Belt Magazine, two covers on Black Belt Magazine)
    Flem Evans-1968 (Former #1 ranked tournament fighter in U.S. by Black Belt Magazine, two covers on Karate Illustrated Magazine)
    Bill Josaitis-1968 (Story in Official Karate Magazine)
    Ken Kolodziej-1970 (Former World-ranked kickboxer, two stories in Contact Karate and Black belt Magazines)
    Mike Cass-1971 (Former World Ranked kickboxer, cover of Karate Illustrated Magazine and story in Official Karate and Contact Karate Magazines)
    Mike McNamara-1972 (Former World Ranked kickboxer, cover story on Official Karate, Karate, Art of the Warrior, and Police Athlete Magazines, stories in Official, Karate Illustrated, Black Belt, Traditional Tae Kwon Do, Contact Karate and Sport Karate Magazines )
    Don Hawk-1973
    Dan Nichols-1976 (Storey in Karate Illustrated Magazine)
    Ken Jakubzak-1970’s
    Frank Sasso-1976
    Rich Grantham-1980’s
    Mike Rivas-1980’s
    Pete Hoffman-1980’s
    Terry Campbell-1980’s
    Rob Salazar-1980 ( former ISKA World Cruiserweight Kickboxing Champion, stories in Karate Illustrated, Official, Contact Karate and Sport Karate Magazines)
    George Enguita-1981
    Mike Grochowski-1980’s
    Ron Kudirka-1980’s
    Fritz Poma-1980’s
    Ed Hozzian-1980’s
    Plus approximately 40 more Black Belts later on through the schools.
    From my name to those before me, all began our martial arts training in the mid 60’s.
    Knudson had 10 Olympic Karate Studios in the Chicago area in the 70’s-90’s.
    I feel he had a pretty good legacy in the Martial Arts community for his competition, teaching and promoting abilities.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Who was the best overall Black Belt point fighter who ever lived or is he still alive?
    This is a question that is very debatable and draws attention to five decades of point fighting in America and if we were in a corner and the question was asked ,really who who it be?, tough question, interesting question, fun question!
    Museum of Sport Karate needs to Know the answer, please
    Domo arigato

    Who do you think it was ?

    Mike Stone

    Raymond McCallum

    Bill” Super Foot” Wallace

    Hawk Frasier

    Howard The Flash” Jackson

    Tokey Hill

    Mitchell” Wonder Boy” Bobrow

    Joe Lewis

    Ken ” Shin Kicker”Knudson

    Chuck Norris

    Skipper Mullins

    Bobby Tucker

    Jerry “Fast feet “Fontanez

    ‘Monster Man”Everett Eddy

    Louis Delgago

    Demitrious”The Greek ” Havanas

    J Pat. Burleson

    Flem Evens

    Johnny Lee

    Richard Plowden

    Linda Denley

    “Super”Dan Anderson

    Al Dascascos

    Frank Smith

    Keith Vitali

    Arlene Limas

    Jim” Ronin” Harrison

    Fred “Whirlwind ” Wren

    Benny”The Jet” Urquidez

    Ken Lambert
    Al Dacascos

    Jennifer Branch
    Linda Denley!!
    Richard W. Jenkins
    I know who it was, and history bears me out.
    It is Mike Stone, and he is definitely still alive…LOL!

    Richard W. Jenkins
    Someone more than deserving is missing from your list:
    Skipper Mullins and Chuck Norris.

    Peter Paik
    Last time I ask this question to Joe Corley, Jeff Smith, and Pat Worley, they all agreed that it was one named Mike Warren from Washington DC.

    This guy had an amazing amount of talent and was very humble about it. I wish I could get videos of him.

    Duane R. Ethington
    Could be a toss up between Roy Kurban, Mike Stone, Keith Vitali, Raymond McCallum, Howard Jackson or Mike Warren. They were all great.
    Duane E

    Pete Hoffman
    I would have to enthusiastically agree with everyname that’s been suggested so far. I saw a lot of the older guys at the tail end of their careers and couldn’t agree more. I competed mostly in the 80’s and fought many of the best of that era and saw them all. Ray McCallum, Richard Plowden and Linda Denley were amazing. There are a couple more that I’d have to add:

    Chip Wright – always at or near the top and beat everyone from his era at least once, and more often more than once.

    Scorpion Burrage – I’m biased, he’s my friend, but nobody from his era, which lasted more than 15 years, could argue with including him. He beat everybody at one time or another and even when he lost, his opponent felt like they’d lost the fight. He was that tough. Outside the ring he was also the nicest, funniest guy ever and hugely underrated as an instructor. He also ended Nasty’s two year winning strewak. Scorpion, Chip and Ray McCallum were the most versitile fighters I ever saw. They had every weapon there was.

    Arlene Limas – the other “best” women’s fighter along with Linda. Their fights were amazing.

    and finally….

    Nasty Anderson – a polarizing guy to be sure (but a riot outside the ring). It’s hard to argue with #1 four times, and two years undefeated while fighting 50-60 tournaments per year. He drove people crazy but he always won. And then when people figured him out, he reinvented himself and went two straight years without losing.

    David Caster
    My natural Bias would be towards Roy Kurban and Ray McCallum. Jim Butan has to be in that mix as well. Joy Turberville for the womens division also has to be in the mix, since when she would show the women would bow out and she would have to fight in light-weight men’s division.

    Very early, on any given day, there was a small handful that could be at the top. Stone, Harrison, Lewis, Norris, Wren, Steen, Burleson, Moon, Worley

    In the 70’s the handful grew to a little more than a dozen with many more venues to consider.

    In the 80’s, what was considered a point became regionally ambiguous, and too many fighters that wouldn’t have been able to cut the mustard in the 70’s, and probably would have died in the 60’s, started floating to the top.

    David Caster
    My vote is Mike Stone

    Ishmael Robles
    What do you look for in the best point fighter of all time? Speed, toughness, durability, number of wins? So many things and so many eras. No doubt fighters of today would dominate fighters of the past because of size, speed,
    technique, etc. But toughness? My number one fighter was Demetrius Havanas “The GREEK”. He not only dominated his weight division but when grand championships were popular he beat the big guys giving away superior reach and weight. And then to be able to move directly into full contact and dominate says much about what a hard hitter he was. Maybe not the best in most peoples eyes but my best pound for pound karate fighter of all time!

    Charles G. Bouton
    David Moon was fast and won 3 consecutive U.S. Championships. Skipper fought in 3 cnsecutive tournaments in one weekend, winning two and placing in another. It is hard to pick a single best point fighter, there were a lot of very good ones.

    Robert Parham
    Anthony “Mafia” Holloway, Billy Blanks, Steve “Nasty” Anderson, Linda Denley, Arlene Limas, Christine Rodrigues, Pedro Xavier, Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Chuck Norris, Eric O’Neal, Jim Kelly, Skipper Mullins, Chip Wright, Jerry Fontenez, Howard Jackson

    David Dobbs
    Mike Stone, maybe Joe Lewis in early days.

    Professor Gary Lee
    Sir one of my mentors and favorites, he introduced kung-fu fighting into point karate and became a Hawaiian legend!

    Professor Gary Lee
    Your right sir ,
    My mistake and I should have put them on the list ,They were great!!

    Ken Lambert
    All the guys mentioned above were great in their time. I still have lumps and bruises from most of them …35 years later. So for pure fighting it is too hard to say who was “best.” But Dacascos not only was a great fighter, he alway seemed to win forms, weapons AND fighting. But maybe I’m biased…he has been my Sifu for nearly 40 years. Sifu Ken Lambert

    Professor Gary Lee
    Sifu is a great man and personal mentor, when I came to the mainland ,he was one of my biggest heroes for he was from Hawaii martial Arts.
    Thirty years later at Eric Lee’s Roast I got to honor him and surround him by his friends and love ones , I gave him a Dragon ring from my Living Legends Collection and had him sign magazine covers for the Museum.

    Yes ,I love him too, and I agree with you ,it was a big deal back whenever to win 3 divisions ,you were very special ,elite few ,none in the sixties except Sifu ,Tadashi and Fumio.
    Then Eric ,Hidy and so on .
    Professor Gary Lee
    Staff Writer
    Kabuki Warriors Tales

    Sabato Trent
    I say Mike Warren and Howard Jackson are the best I’ve seen. But Ray McCallum and Keith Vitali whom I have never seen might be in that group of old school fighters. Without a doubt and the trend setter for the 80’s, 90’s and still being copied today is Jerry Fontanez.

    Professor Gary Lee
    Mike Warren was a class fighter with superb legs and because of his traditional Tae Kwon Do back ground his legs were the focus but he had a hand game too.
    Mike’s reverse punch was accurate as a shotokan stylist and his backhand was as quick as kenpo man.

    Howard is some one I’ve known since the early seventies ,Dave Praim, Rob Hogan , Everett”Monster Man ” Johnny Lee, Ken Dallas and Howard Jackson .
    The animals from Detroit I called them .
    Howard and I were close up to his death ,he is a History General for the Museum.
    Eric Lee’s Roast ,Don Wilson is at the podium he quotes” I believe that the greatest striker in the world is here tonight!
    He is sitting at the head table ,his name is Howard Jackson,World Champion

    Master Raymond McCallum is a legend ‘s legend ,his peers, magazines ,TV, Producers have said that Raymond was the best there was and the best that will ever play the game of Black Belt point fighting, I have to agree,
    He won the Fort Worth Pro-Am Ten years in a row back when all the national players came to Texas , he has tremendous heart and tenacity with his adversary.
    He also a History General for the Sport Karate History Museum.
    with his fight with Glen McMorris, he gets hit ,fighting out of the ring ,though the ropes, slams his head on the table and concrete, everyone thought the worse, a few minutes Raymond gets up ,enters the ring and Knocks out Glen.
    Though the Internet they say he is fighting in the Battle of Atlanta , I hope they are ready for him ,he has won that event many ,many times!

    Think about it over 35 years he has been kicking Ass Texas style!
    That is amazing, he will always be a hero for many a old timer who wishes him all the best he can have in life and martial arts .

    Keith Vitali was the nicest Champion but he could bang.
    The reputation was he was very polite but he could hit you light, medium or hard , and the movement, it was not running! , it was set up and stick you, with his amazing defensive Skills , he was a complete package.
    He is also a History General for The Sport Karate History Museum

    Fast Feet is personal too, we go back to when were Sherman Oaks Raiders, a team we were on ,but you are right Jerry is still very active ,as a History General for the Museum and his internet solutions to his Radio talk show interveiwing the pioneers he is a super trend setter .
    The REKSUITS showed the world he was a head of his time.

    Mike Jones
    A lot of these guys were great, are great. But I think you have to add Glenn Keeney to the list.
    Sabato Trent
    You are both right and I am glad we are giving them their just do. But a name not mentioned is Jim Harrison, he was MEAN. And the Mike Warren and still upcoming for this century or decade is Steven Lennon – Taekwondo and Shotokan out of Brooklyn and only about 23 or 24. Raymond McDaniels and Jason Bourelly are TOPS but here is a young guy that has grown up on them and he is an excellent instructor as well. Raymond McCallum and TEXAS fighters are top dogs and I will honor them to the days I pass even thought our East Cpast FIGHTERS ARE it.

    We are is losing an entire generation of fine Black Belts, men who laid the foundation for, and developed the strongest system of martial arts in the world. The passing of each saddens me greatly. . I suggest that you seek out, and talk with as many from that generation as possible. When the

  • I found your blog web site on google and test a few of one’s early posts. Proceed to maintain up the incredibly excellent operate. I just extra up your Rss feed to my Msn Information Reader. Searching for forward to reading more from you later on!?

  • Well to determine who could or might be the best point fighter of all time! One would have to have fought each one Of these fighters at least once. That way you could at least give a honest and educated answer. So, I feel that my answer to this question would be of real value to determine who was the best point fighter of all time. Now, since I personally fought 80% of these fighters over a 40 year period Yes, thats 4 decades,the first in 1964 and the last in Canada in 2001. That would put me in a very true position to honestly select just who that fighter might be. We are not talking about any one catagory of fighter here…Just the very best all time……So there are no more questions that need to be considered here correct…And answer is MIKE STONE.
    Answer by Hanshi Jerry Piddington, Founder American Shorei/Shorin Karatedo,

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    We are a Alumni of a era that was very special, it is the right timing that has change things around the the world, it is the right time!

    I am very excited to have been put in the position to head this project, over the years this group has been there for my ideas and supported the Living Legends Celebrity Roast and on-line Museum where this project started and still going very strong.
    After seventeen Roast, collections of autograph pictures, signed Gi tops, documents, dvd’s, Film archives, Magazines and other memorabilia ,I felt it was time to take the next step and open a office to do the necessity day to day activities to raise Money for Land and building.
    Enter the first person I would like to introduce as a adviser . Shireesh, I call him Dr. J, ,He is the reason We have a office , he pays the rent , form the corporation, applied for the 501C non profit and is my partner , webmaster and trusted friend.
    We have five months left to pay $400.00 to secure the 501 C status and or lose our application and will lose all we have done ,it now the time to form this Board.
    The first is to take care of this small ,but important detail, then start finding the funds to build, once there is a amount that everyone feels comfortable, please set up a salary for myself as I make a living Bass Fishing and teaching privately and I have put a lot of time and spent my own funds to be where we c be able to form this Board of Advisers.

    I have built a incredible group of Pioneers ,Ambassadors and Community leaders to oversee this project ,here they are and what they mean to the Museum of Sport Karate, to the martial art community and to my Family.
    In not in any particular order .

    Adam James, Sifu ,Master Instructor, Leo T. Fong student , Ambassador , since the beginning and was asked to be the financial adviser from the start, family.

    Hanshi Danny McCall, Original History General, my sponsor in Fishing, been friends for 35 years, lineage Jerry Piddington, asked to be financial adviser from begnning , family.

    Dana Stamos, My Editor / Publisher for my world column on and, Ambassador , personal consultant, family

    Grand Master Duane Ethington, original History General, Museum Library name after him , Personal Consultant, family

    Sensei Breck Mills,my bodyguard, my Black Belt student, international affairs adviser, oil man, Knows me and my vision more than most been with me from the begiinig, family

    Hanshi Andrew Linick, visionary, pioneer , master instructor , has adopted me with his knowledge ,history and trust, together we will bring the pioneers together, family

    Scott Knudsen, Son of Ken Knudsen, original investor and one of the creators of the History Generals, owns, sponsor, financial Adviser, family

    Aaron and Michelle Perzan, owners ,, partners with the Museum, personal sponsor of my son ,the museum and myself, family

    Hanshi Dan Tosh, Original History General, closest to my Sensei Hanshi Sid Campbell who started it all with his vision, Old School, knows my heart,

    Please help me finish this project and find a sponsor to step up to the next step before we lose any more pioneers of the Golden era , you may go on-line and go to the the paypal Donation button or contact Dr. Andrew Linick, Dana Stamas or my self, we need the $400.00 to wrapped up the 501C ,after that we can go after the funding to build and secure.
    I had the vision with a handful of sport karate pioneers , we have come a long way, look at this Board alone ,bringing everyone together is priceless,


    Honorary Directors at Large
    To always be there for advice and personal consultation to any of the above but not to be responsible for funding , just advice and friendship, Alumni

    Grand Master Jim Harrison, Missouri, Old Dear friend , original History General, donated his heart and attitude to project

    World Champion Mike Stone, my first hero and mentor from Hawaii ,please read his letter of endorsement,

    Grand Master Pat Johnson, hero, original History General, old dear friend, and personal consultant, visionary

    World Champion Jeff Smith, hero, original History General, old dear friend, and personal consultant

    Grand Master Danny Lane, History General , Law enforcement adviser, Master instructor and Seminar Host for Museum.

    Kyoshi Rick Smith, known for 35 years, History General, Co-Producer Living Legends, Family

    If any of you do not want to be part of this and or have not the time, no feelings are hurt ,no grudges just a lot of love and Ohana because you were my first choice in experience ,friendship and History we have together ,most of all ,when it comes down to the bottom line,,, I trust you ,


    Professor Gary Lee
    Museum of Sport Karate inc.
    13133 Southwest Fry
    Suite 210
    Sugar Land , Texas

    Office- 832-315-5585

    Personal- 713-483-0476

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Hi Gary,

    I am so humbled by your offer to be a History General for the MSK.

    While I started studying martial arts in 1963, beginning with Kodokan Judo at the YMCA (earning a junior brown belt), I began studying the “old school” (what I call the original military style of TKD) from Allen Steen’s Texas Karate Institute on Garland Road in Dallas in Spring of 1967. I was just 13 years old at that time and my instructor was Fred Wren. I studied with him, occasionally Allen Steen, and Charles Armstrong for several years, then studied (still in Steen’s TKI) with Keith Yates, James Toney, Royce Young, Jack White, and Skipper Mullins. In 1972 I earned 1st degree black from Mr. Steen –of course my instructors at the time (Mr. Yates, Mr. Toney, Mr. Young, Mr. White, Mr. Mullins) were also present on the board. Back in those days, the test for black was a real ordeal –sort of like “hell week” for Navy Seals! After that, I became a full-0time instructor for Mr. Steen, eventually becoming “head Instructor” of his Garland Road school until 1976, when I decided to go back to college and moved to Denton, Texas. While there, I continued to study Western Boxing and routinely fought with local fighters in the ring. I continued my formal education and moved to Oklahoma in 1978 to attend the University of Oklahoma, where I earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy. In 1980, I became a Norman, Oklahoma Police Officer, and went through the state certified Defensive Tactics Certification Course. I also believed that shooting and tactical operations were a form of martial arts (in the older sense of “Bushido”). I trained law enforcement officers in defensive hand-to-hand combat tactics and began developing my own style of doing so at that time. I also became a “high master” combat pistol shooter, now called “Grand Master,” and won many awards, including the Oklahoma State Police Combat Pistol Championship, and placed 11th in the US at Des Moines in 1984. I continued to study formal martial arts with the late Mansuk Kim, working on both Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do. He recognized my existing black belts and continued to promote me in his system to 4th Dan, in 1983. I attended several training camps in Kali knife fighting and also a seminar with Dan Inosanto in the use of short sticks (Escrima) for law enforcement. I also became a certified instructor in SWAT Tactics and was a member of the Norman PD SWAT team for several years. At this time in my career, I began sensing the need for a “transitioning style” of combative tactics designed specifically for law enforcement officers –i.e., I wanted to teach “real world” combatives that included knives, clubs, firearms, and tactics. I began developing what I have called “CQB Combatives” at that time and teaching it throughout the state of Oklahoma to law enforcement officers. In 1983, I became an Undercover Officer for the Norman PD and moved to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics in 1986. There, I was immediately the Chief firearms and combatives instructor and continued this duty throughout my 27-year career. During that time, I also went through US Army Urban Warfare School, US Army Air Assault School, and US Army Sniper School and designed the submachine gun training system for the state of Oklahoma. I also helped design the Clandestine Laboratory Hazardous Material Raids program that became a national model, as well as the “Narc Assault” course –an Army style course to teach narcotics officers how to rappel from helicopters and perform tactical counterdrug missions. I tried, throughout this process, to include defensive tactics in the mix –to integrate skills to help officers become “total warriors.” I continued developing the system of CQB –blending many martial arts to the task of self-preservation in law enforcement, for the past 29 years. When I retired as Chief Agent of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics in 2007, I was hired as a full-time professor at the University of Oklahoma. I teach neurobiology for the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical School and Ethics for the College of Liberal Studies. For the past two years, I have studied Wing Chun from Sifu Tony Chan (student of Koo Sang, who studied with Yip Man). I also became certified as a Level 2 instructor in Commando Krav Maga in April 2010. I continue to work with law enforcement officers on CQB with the Navy Seal veteran Matt Kelm, who has a 3rd Dan in Tae-Kwon Do and was a combatives instructor for the US Navy Seals.


  • Prof. Gary Lee

    How the Masters Got Their Ranks:
    Origins of the Karate Rank System

    Throughout the course of our karatedo training, we take for granted the grading system that awards our belt ranking and titles. Sometimes this system is manifestly personal, with the headmaster–and only he–bestowing each promotion directly, according to his own standards. Often, the testing for and awarding of rank is a more bureaucratic affair, with a committee exercising a perfunctory duty in a formally standardized and even routine mannerless ceremony, yet somehow more officious.

    The recent writings of Hanshi Richard Kim of the Butoku-kai (Dojo Fall 1993) taught how the dan/kyu (degree) system was adopted by modem budo systems, promulgated by the Butoku-kai, and codified in its final form for Japanese karatedo by the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organizations (FAJKO). To truly understand this ranking system, it is important to gain a clearer insight into how the various masters obtained their ranking, since that forms the basis for your rank.

    This much we know for certain: On April 12, 1924, Gichin Funakoshi, the “Father of Modern Karate,” awarded karate’s first black belt dan upon seven men. The recipients included Hironori Ohtsuka, founder of wado-ryu karatedo, Shinken Gima, later of gima-ha shoto-ryu, and Ante Tokuda, Gima’s cousin, who received a nidan (second degree) black belt. Like Gima, Tokuda had trained extensively in Okinawa before coming to Japan proper. The others were Kasuya, Akiba, Shimizu and Hirose. This beginning was a highly personal, yet formal ceremony in which Funakoshi is said to have handed out lengths of black belting to his pupils. Still there is no evidence that Funakoshi himself had ranking in any budo under the dan/kyu system.

    Actually, Funakoshi was greatly influenced by Jigoro Kano, aristocratic founder of judo, and originator of the dan/kyu system. Kano was a highly respected individual, and Funakoshi prided himself on being an educated and “proper” man who rightly believed that he was acting correctly. Kano’s system was not only being applied to judo, but to other budo as well under the aegis of the Butoku-kai and the Japanese Ministry of Education. Funakoshi, then, just adopted the order of the day: a ranking system officially sanctioned by Japan’s greatest martial arts entities. Funakoshi’s own rank was of no consequence, since it seems that belt ranking was really just something for the students, not for headmasters.

    For its part, the Butoku-kai issued instructor’s licenses: the titles renshi (the lowest), kyoshi, and hanshi (the highest). It would be a while before the dan/kyu system became universal in karate. By the end of the 1930s, each karate group was called upon to register with the butoku-kai for official sanctioning, and in 1938, a meeting of the Butoku-kai’s official karatedo leaders was held in Tokyo. Its purpose was to discuss the standards for awarding rank within their art. Attending, among others, were Hironori Ohtsuka of wado-ryu, Kenwa Mabuni of shito-ryu, Kensei Kinjo (Kaneshiro) and Sannosuke Ueshima of kushin-ryu, Tatsuo Yamada of Nippon kempo, Koyu Konishi of shindo-jinen-ryu, and a young Gogen Yamaguchi of goju-ryu. Most of these men were founders of their own styles, and as such automatically became the highest rank that their agreed-on respective standards allowed. Yamaguchi assumed leadership of goju-ryu because, we are told, goju-ryu’s founder, Chojun Miyagi, personally asked him to take the leadership of the style in Japan. About then, Funakoshi also finalized the grading standards for use at his shotokan dojo.

    Of course, the Butoku-kai continued to sanction head teachers directly. This was not without controversy, however, since Konishi sat on the board that awarded Funakoshi his renshi and Konishi had been Funakoshi’s student. Of course, Konishi had inside ties to the Butoku-kai by virtue of birth, something the Okinawan Funakoshi could not have.

    Back on Okinawa, the dan/kyu system did not become universal until after World War II. It was not unknown there, however, and some individual teachers did utilize the black belt. Judo had been practiced on Okinawa at least since the 1920s. In fact, it was at a Judo Black Belt Association (Yudanshakai) meeting on Okinawa that Miyagi and shito-ryu’s Kenwa Mabuni demonstrated karate kata (forms) for Jigoro Kano garnering praises from the judo founder. Miyagi, it should be noted, became the first karate expert given the title of kyoshi (master) from the butoku-kai in 1937. Miyagi was then appointed chief of its Okinawan branch

    After the ravages of war in the Pacific, the surviving karate leaders had to begin anew. With the Butoku-kai administration shut down for years to come, each karate group was on its own. The acknowledged leaders of each faction, as well as individual dojo chiefs, gave out dan ranks based upon all original sanctioning by the Butoku-kai or mandates inherited directly from the ryu’s founder.

    Rushing in to fill the vacuum left by the Butoku-kai, various dojo coalesced to perpetuate the art and legitimize its members’ ranks. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, each new association, including the Gojukai, Shito-kai, Chito-kai, Shotokai and Japan Karate associations codified their rules and issued rank accordingly. Generally, several instructors created a board of directors or council to govern the association. Some officer, be it the chief instructor, president, director or chairman would have signature authority on menjo (rank certificates). In this way, the senior-most members would attain their rank by being acknowledged and “signed off” by the board or committee. Other times, a senior member of one faction would attain high enough rank from the faction-head to then go out and form his own style or organization. Supposedly, the famous Masutatsu Oyama received his eighth dan from Goju-kai head Gogen Yamaguchi. Oyama later formed his own style that was not completely a type of goju-ryu.

    Usually in a legalistic and officious way these groups would simply adopt or adhere to some even higher authority or granting agency to further legitimize their actions. Recognition by the Japanese Ministry of Education was the ultimate sanction for individuals and groups in these times. Also new associations — both in Japan proper and in Okinawa — appeared. These became the grantor ranking authority, much in the way the Butoku-kai had acted previously. These new organizations were to set the pattern and be the original source for today’s ranking. As with the single-style clubs, the head instructors often assumed the rank for which they were qualified, based on criteria they wrote themselves.

    One of the first was the All Japan Karatedo Federation, which seems to have started shortly after World War II as a confederation of headmasters such as Funakoshi, Chitose, Mabuni, Yamaguchi and Toyama. They regularized the dan/kyu system to some extent, and with this group the modern Japanese karate ranking system became the norm. This unity did not last however. For example, the ranking was not consistent from group to group in the upper levels. The shotokan associations such as the JKA and the Shotokai only used up to godan (fifth rank) at this time. As a result, some groups had ceased to participate by the early 1950s.

    Even more reminiscent of the Butoku-kai was the International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF), known as the Kokusai Budoin. Originally named the National Japan Health Association, IMAF was launched in 1952 by powerful martial artists from several disciplines. From judo there was Kyuzo Mifune, Kazuo Ito and Shizuo Sato. From kendo came Hakudo Nakayama and Hiromasa Takano, and from karatedo there was Hironori Ohtsuka. Its first chairman was Prince Tsunenori Kaya. From the start, IMAF was set up by senior martial artists to preserve and promote various budo to create a mutually supportive network. A ranking system consisting of first through tenth dan, as well as the title system of renshi, kyoshi and hanshi, was adopted. Now highly respected and skilled instructors could have a direct avenue for promotion themselves. Several karateka including Gogen Yamaguchi, Hironori Ohtsuka (I and II), and more recently, Hirokazu Kanazawa of shotokan, received their highest grades through IMAF.

    For Okinawa, the dan/kyu system did not really take hold until 1956, with the formation of the Okinawa Karate Association (OKF). Chosin Chibana, first to name his system shorin-ryu, was the first president. According to the historical data of the Shudokan (a Japanese group started by Kanken Toyama in Tokyo), Chibana and Toyama were officially recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education to grant any rank in the art of karate, regardless of style. Chibana helped organize the OKF, and it was then that the mainstream Okinawan groups, on a widespread basis, began differentiating their black belt ranks as other than simple teacher and student demarcations.

    A talented and, some say, colorful character, Toyama gave several certifications as largess to dojo heads in Okinawa and Japan proper. These were usually shibucho (“superintendent,” from the feudal area commander title) diplomas. These certifications set up the individuals so named as head of their own branch of the All Japan Karatedo Federation and, by extension, of their own groups. Eizo Shimabuku, founder of the shobayashi-ryu/shorin-ryu faction (a Kyan-type tomarite/shurite shorin-ryu blend), traces his own tenth dan to a Toyama certification. Shimabuku’s assumption of the tenth dan, and his wearing of a red belt, was not without dispute, and it was controversies of this type that led most Okinawan leaders to eschew the red belt altogether.

    The AJKF did not last as a unified group of different styles in Japan proper. Toyama’s foray back to Okinawa did lead later to the formation of the AJKF-Okinawa Branch with the organizing help of Isamu Tamotsu. Tamotsu became a student of Okinawa’s Zenryo Shimabuku (of Kyan-type shorinryu) and would become known as the soke (style head) of the Japanese faction of Shorinji-ryu. In 1960, the Okinawan branch of the AJKF organized with Zenryo Shimabuku as president. A constituent group of this AJKF was the Okinawa Kempo League headed up by Shigeru Nakamura and Zenryo Shimabuku as a loose confederation of various technique sharing dojo.

    Like other associations, the AJKF Okinawa Branch provided for the ranking of its member instructors. It operated as a rival to the Okinawa Karate Federation. However, it did not last long either and its member schools drifted away and formed other alliances. Its emblem did not die, however. The same patch is still used by Tsuyoshi Chitose’s Chito-kai. The center karate leaders continued on their own or became part of other groups, using authority inherited mostly from members of one of the original Okinawan organizations, the most significant is the All Okinawa Karate and Kobudo Rengokai. Formed by Seitoku Higa as a successor to the Okinawa Federation in 1967, the Okinawa detail of the emblem was used to distinguish each member group. Seiyu Oyata can be seen wearing this patch in Dojo, Fall 1993, page 13.

    Chitose was a founding member of the original Japanese AJKF, but his tenth dan was issued in 1958, according to the Chitokai, by the All Okinawa Karate Kobudo Rengokai. His hanshi title was issued by the same group in 1962. This is confusing however, since the AOKK-Rengokai was not formed until 1967. It grew out of an earlier group: the Okinawa Kobudo Federation that was organized in 1961. This later group was organized by Seitoku Higa (of various lineages related to shorin-ryu) and Seikichi Uehara (molobu-ryu). Higa had been ranked by Toyama while living in Japan and may have been connected with the original AJKF.

    As we learned from Richard Kim, the most significant event in the use of the dan/kyu system in karate was the formation of the FAJKO in 1964. All the major groups and factions of Japanese karatedo were brought under FAJKO’s umbrella. By 1971, a ranking structure was adopted that standardized all the systems. High rank was issued to FAJKO member instructors by the organization’s board. In this way, heads of constituent organizations could be upgraded, much as in earlier attempts at confederacy. An earlier, but smaller, confederacy of schools with rank-sanctioning authority was the Japan Karatedo Rengokai, which still exists and is a member of FAJKO.

    After the birth of FAJKO, the JKA upgraded its own ranking requirements to conform. Sixth and eighth dans were awarded in the JKA back in the mid-1960s, and Hidetaka Nishiyama in Los Angeles was one of those upgraded at that time. Though not all groups participate in FAJKO these days, most still are tied to that organization in terms of rank structure and sanction. Others, not so tied, have conformed to the FAJKO criteria and standards nonetheless.

    Shortly after FAJKO was launched, the Okinawans formed the All Okinawa Karatedo Federation as a successor to the old OKF. Members of both the OKF and AJKF-Okinawa Branch became part of the new association. Some of Okinawa’s most mainstream karate leaders formed the AOKF board. These included Nagamine, Zenryo Shimabuku, Meitoku Yagi of gojuryu, Kanei Uechi of uechi-ryu and Yuchoku Higa of shorin-ryu. They adopted a dan/kyu and renshi, kyoshi, hanshi (plus a hanshisei) system almost identical to FAJKOs.

    Other karate leaders continued on their own or became part of other groups, using authority inherited mostly from members of one of the original Okinawan organizations. Probably the most significant is the All Okinawa Karate and Kobudo Rengokai. Formed by Seitku Higa as a successor to the Okinawa Kobudo Federation in 1967, the Okinawa Rengokai also adopted very similar standards to the AOKF. Higa’s organizations had certified as hanshi–and hence supreme instructor–several who were style or group heads in their own right. These included Shinsuke Kaneshima of Tozan-ryu from shurite, Hohan Soken of matsumura shorin-ryu, Shinpo Matayoshi of matayoshi kobudo Kenko Nakaima of ryuel-ryu, ShianToma of shorin-ryu (Kyan type) and motobu-ryu, Tatsuo Shimabuku of isshin-ryu, Shosei Kina of uhuchiku kobudo, and Zenryo Shimabuku of shorin-ryu.

    It is clear that karate ranks sprang from several original sources — a relatively modem construct on an old martial art. It was issued by individuals and institutions with set standards that were recognized by other prestigious groups and individuals. And this is the crux of the matter: For rank to be recognized, the bestower must be recognized within karate’s mainstream community. It must be based in tradition, and linked to a body or sanctioned individual who is perceived as beyond reproach. The standards by which rank is achieved and given must be recognizable, and conform to already existing norms in the Okinawan/Japanese martial arts hierarchy. Anyone can print up or write a fancy certificate, but absent of any governmental or legal guidelines, it is the recognition and acceptance by existing groups and institutions that give each ranking group or individual its legitimacy.

    The development of the ranking system is a typically human development, with rivalries and contradictions, and our own masters received their rank in different ways. The highest-ranked of the old masters did not-could not-receive the tenth dan from their “style.” They were invariably ranked by someone else and applied this grade to their own group. This is still true. As in a medieval European knighting, originally any knight could dub another, then regal institutions took over. However, it is the skill and knowledge that gains the rank, not vice versa. The quest for rank, per se, misses the point.

    “First know yourself, and then know others.”
    Gichin Funakoshi, founder of karate

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    When Grand Master Rhee heard of my endeavor with the Museum of Sport Karate almost 10 years ago ,he sent me personal autograph pictures of Himself, Bruce Lee, Allen Steen, Jeff Smith and his statements and articles he has bless us with over the years, signed a personal note blessing the project.
    But it goes much deeper!
    Super Grands, Hollywood Ca, 1993, Back stage ,I am the master of ceremonies and I am with Scott Hogarth from Canada.
    There is a small disturbance by the back curtain and I recognize who it was ,
    security would not let Grand Master Rhee behind the curtain , I got up and asked the security guard to let him though , he got rude ,grab my shoulder and I dropped him ,took Grand Master Rhee’s hand and let in the back stage.

    I shared with him , I was in so much trouble with Boice doing that to that security guard and then Grand Master Rhee said “I will go on stage and share”, he did more than share and save my hide with Boice, lol
    The 100 push up demo, the side kick out to the side of body water on the head demo and he bless the Tournament, saved by Grand Master Jhoon Rhee

  • sunny

    i am sunny ayub from pakistan

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Professor Gary Lee 10th Dan, Founder of The Museum of Sport Karate Masters, has Graciously excepted the award of ‘The Life Time Membership Award’, for his tireless work he has undertaken on forming this Museum of Sport Karate Masters in Preserving the History of Martial Arts in America, the acodales of your fellow American Martial Artists say’s it all, The Award is presented for long and dedicated service to preserving the history of Martial Arts, from The Traditional Okinawan Kobujutsu Association & Martial Arts Federation, We salute you and Grandmaster Ronnie Colwell 10th Dan, Meijin. OSS

  • Gary,
    It was great to see you at Linda’s tournament. Congrads to your son’s victory. Please Email some info on anything on the museum. Keep up the good work.

    Gato Tabares

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    The Shorin-ryu style was broken into several branches: the Shobayashi-ryu (“small forest style”), the Kobayashi-ryu (“;young forest style”) and the Matsubayashi-ryu (“pine forest style”). All three refer to the small pine forest where the Shaolin Temple was last located, and all three are still interpreted to mean Shorin-ryu or”Shaolin way.” Shobayashi, the original style of Shorin-ryu, was taught by one of Itosu’s famous students, Chotoku Kiyabu, better known as Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945). Kyan was extremely well-known and revered in Okinawa, and was considered Itosu’s greatest student, even though he was second in succession, with Kentsu Yabu (c. 1870- ) having more seniority. Yabu took charge after Itosu’s death, but retired shortly afterward, leaving Chotoku Kyan in charge.
    Kyan trained quite a few notable students, among them Tatsuo Shimabukuro (the elder brother of Eizo), who also studied under Chojun Miyagi. Kyan also trained Shoshin Nagamine (1907- ), who later developed the Matsubayashi form of Shorin-ryu. It has been stated that Nagamine developed this style himself. He named the stlye after Bushi Matsumura (1797-1889). Nagamine’s son Takayoshi has taken over this branch of Shorin-ryu Karate.
    Kyan’s most noted student is Eizo Shimabukuro. Upon his death, Kyan left Eizo Shimabukuro in charge of the still-unchanged system of Shobayashi Shorin-ryu. Another of Itosu’s students, Chosin Chibana (1887-1969), taught Kobayashi-ryu. This system, according to Master Shimabukuro, is the same as Shobayashi-ryu. He states that Master Chibana simply misspelled the term by using incorrect kanji (characters), which changed the pronunciation from “Shobayashi” to “Kobayashi.” These two systems of Shorin-ryu are the same today, with the same form and pattern in their kata.
    In fact, in the early 1960s, Master Shimabukuro went to Chibana, who was then in his late seventies, to ask Chibana to correct his (Shimabukuro’s) kata. Shimabukuro was concerned about the discrepancies gradually emerging in the various Shorin-ryu styles which had begun to proliferate by this time in Okinawa. Shimabukuro was a tenth dan at the time he appealed to Chibana. Out of respect for Chibana, who was Itosu’s oldest living student, Shimabukuro removed his red belt and instead wore a white belt while being corrected. This action demonstrated Master Shimabukuro’s intense desire to retain the purity of Shorin-ryu. Another oldest of Kyan’s student, Takayoshi Simabukuro (1916), Next to II War in 1950, he emigrated to Huston, USA, where he worked as mechanic and returned to Okinawa in 1987. He didn’t accept degree, and he continued to do the older from, Master Shimabukuro continued to use the Shorin Ryu Shobayashi as name of his system.
    Seibukan Shorin-ryu:
    Zenpo Shimabukuro Kaicho of the Seibukan shorin-ryu branch of Shorin-ryu. Seibukan Shorin-ryu Karate was developed by Zenryo Shimabukuro after Chotoku Kyan’s death in 1945. His dojo opened in 1947. His first students were nephews of his oldest son, Zenpo. It is believed that Zenpo is still teaching Seibukan Shorin-ryu Karate on Okinawa at the Seibukan Dojo. Seibukan means holy art school, and was named because the students minds are developed in a spirtual way- it is not how many students one has, it is how good they are.
    Hanshi Katsuya Miyahira (10th Dan) is Kaicho of the Shido Kan branch of Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate. After Chosin Chibana’s death in 1969 his most senior student was Katsuya Miyahira. Miyahira would become the logical heir to inherit leadership of Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate. But seniority doesn’t neccassarily make you the heir apparent. As to, who is the rightful heir to Chibana’s Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate depends on who you talk to. After Chibana’s death, the 9th Dan’s of Chosin Chibana’s dojo all became 10th dan’s and started their own subdivided styles. Shugoro Nakazato (1921- ) became Kaicho of Shorin Ryu Shorin Kan branch of Kobayashi and Katsuya Miyahira became Kaicho of the Shorin Ryu-Shido Kan branch of Kobayashi.
    There is another form of Shorin-ryu on Okinawa called Matsumura Orthodox.* Some of this style’s followers have reportedly changed the name to Sukunai Hayashi. Matsumura Orthodox was supervised by Hohan Soken (b. 1889-1982), who is said to have studied from his uncle Nabe Matsumura, who in turn studied from Soken Matsumura. In 1920 Hohan Soken emigrated to Negro, Argentina, where he worked as a farm laborer. He returned to Okinawa in 1952 and started teaching karate, calling his style Matsumra Orthodox Shorin-ryu.
    Hohan Soken not only lived in Argentina, but traveled to Peru and other places. He spoke fluent Spanish. It is known that Kyan Chotoku occasionally traveled with him. Kyan was Soken’s training partner under Nabe Matsumura.
    Negro, Argentina was an Okinawan trading colony. Okinawa had many of these all over the world. Hohan Soken probably had relatives there because there were many Okinawans living there. We don’t know if he would have liked living there for so long without seeing his family. Therefore it is believed he took some family members with him. Who knows if they stayed.
    Hanshi Fusei Kise’s Ken Shin Kan a combination of Matsumura Orthodox and Shorinji Kempo ) is reported to have undergone many changes from the original Shorin-ryu. Some branches of Matsumura Orthodox remain more faithful to the original system.
    There are others teaching modified forms of Shorin-ryu. But these are by far the most popular on Okinawa with Kobayashi and Shobayashi being virtually unchanged from the age-old origins of the Shorin-ryu style.
    A sensitive issue on Okinawa was the question of adopting a unified name: whether to refer to all Okinawan fighting styles in the Kanji, meaning “Chinese hand,” or to use the Kanji of karate already used in Japan, which translates as “empty hand.” In a meeting of the elite karate masters of Okinawa, who on October 25, 1936, convened to make the decision, this issue was finally settled. Some of the masters and their senior students present at that meeting were: Kyan, Kenstu Yabu, Chomo Hanashiro, Miyagi, Miyashiro, Nakamora, Chibana, Nakatsune and Choki Motobu. It was agreed that karate would be written and referred to in kanji and translated as “empty hand.” This interpretation, it was agreed, embraced a much broader and more philosophical meaning than it is generally gramted

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Learning is something that should be studied broadly.It is, for example like the beggar’s bag in which everything from leftover meals to cold soup is stored, the tie that ties together the bag would symbolize a black belt , simply a symbol that that keeps the knowledge together with added ingredients of respect ,passion and of course technique, no emotion, just pure technique, as far as Grand Masters most of them are living in the high mountains of Okinawa and Japan underneath a waterfall perfecting that one punch ,that one kick ,that one Kata, just a thought from a dedicated uki, osu

  • Professor Gary Lee 9th Dan,Okinawa Karate, Founder of The Museum of Sport Karate has been recognized as by The Traditional Okinawan Kobujutsu Association & Martial Arts Federation as a life time achievement award receiver and also awarded by the International Ryukyu Karatejutsu Research Society Historian of the year for 2011, a Black Belt Hall of Fame member since 2008, he now dedicates his work to America’s Best school business programs and to the History of Traditional Karate Pioneers, Legends and Champions in the 20th Century.

  • The Museum is run by the attitude of the five ANIMALS of Karate , they with their attitude gives Professor Gary Lee the motivation to show respect and lineage to the History of Traditional Karate Pioneers, Legends and Champions in the 20th Century.™




    Snake ,


  • Sanchin Kata may be the oldest kata whose origins are believed to go all the way back to Bodhidharma and the exercises he taught Chinese Buddhist monks at the Shaolin Temple. Kanryo Higaonna, founder of Naha-Te, brought Sanchin Kata from China to Okinawa. Higaonna taught the kata to Chojun Miyagi, founder of Goju-Ryu, who in turn taught the kata to Tatsuo Shimabuku. Miyagi modified the kata by replacing the open hands Chinese version with closed fists to emphasize the hard aspects of Goju-Ryu. Sanchin means three battles or conflicts and is supposed to produce a unity of mind, body, and spirit.

    The kata is performed very slowly and emphasizes dramatic deep breathing with dynamic tension or isometric muscular contractions. The forced breathing acts as a respiratory exercise and was added to the kata by Miyagi. The dynamic tension provides power training to improve the physique, stamina, and energy of the practitioner. The dynamic tension also produces an overall body hardening effect enhancing a resistance to blows. The level of dynamic tension may be tested by applying blows to the body while the kata is performed.

    The kata uses only one stance, the Sanchin dachi stance, which has the front foot turned inward, looking like a pigeon-toed stance. The stance should be very stable, with the pelvis tilted up and the toes gripping the floor. The kata has three forward steps, two backward steps, double middle body blocks, a series of punching and nukite strikes and two simultaneous palm heel strikes. The correct breathing technique taught by the kata is diaphragm breathing, versus chest breathing, and exhaling while tensing the body and delivering the strike.

    Sanchin Kata is the only GoJu ryu empty-handed kata with no kias. Also, there are no kicks in Sanchin Kata.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Original Kata
    This is a story.A Karate instructor was alone in his dojo, practicing the Pinan Kata, when all of a sudden, poof! Anko Itosu appeared.”Hello,” said Itosu Sensei. “I was watching you practicing the Pinan Kata back at my home in Okinawa in 1903. Well, since I have a time machine, I thought I would visit you.””Thank you, Itosu Sensei,” exclaimed the instructor. “I practice Shorin-Ryu and we have preserved your Pinan Kata unchanged from the time you created them!””Well, not quite,” replied Itosu Sensei. “Here, let me show you how they are supposed to be done.” With that, Itosu Sensei performed each of the five Pinan Kata. He then explained the body dynamics for each movement and the applications.The instructor was beside himself. He could not believe what he had just witnessed. His eyes filled with tears and he sobbed in gratitude.Itosu Sensei smiled and said, “Well, I have to return to the past. I am just glad that you will now correct your Kata and you can teach your students the proper movements, body dynamics and applications.””There must be some confusion,” said the instructor. “I cannot correct the Kata. I would get in trouble with my own Sensei if I changed the movements. And I cannot teach your body dynamics for the same reason. People would think I changed styles. We have a fixed set for applications as well. I have to follow them. Otherwise, I would be kicked out of my association and I could lose my dan ranking and titles. Plus, for all these years I have assured my students that I was teaching the authentic Pinan Kata. We perform them in tournaments. If I changed them now, they would call me a fraud. I hope you understand.”Itosu Sensei shook his head and poof! He vanished.The moral of the story is this. Even if Itosu Sensei were to appear and teach his true Pinan, there are people who would not accept it because they are too invested/trapped in a structure or system that prevents them correcting their poor techniques. They would have too much to lose.
    Respectfully,Charles C. Goodin
    By: Charles C. Goodin

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    1993 – 1998 ,The idea of a all kid’s show featuring children performers in the martial arts around the country ,inviting the superstar kids of the time to perform at Houston’s Astroworld complex, performers like Jon Valera, Mouse Kransnoo, Dave Henson , Willie Galvan , Gary Waugh, Denyle Ekis, Butch Togosalia, Allen Clark, Dude Petty , Lauren Winston, Bruce Chanvantez, Garett Lee, Zach Day, Daryl”Bigfoot” Stewart, Danny Bergeron, Jason Grable, Chris Gurka, Wayne Whitehead, Steve Marz, Andrew Carasco, Alex Wik ,Viki Santamaria and so many others that made this show run five glorious years and thousands of spectators saw the best sport karate kids at the time .
    Professor Gary Lee’s “Kids Expo”
    A children s extravaganza in excitement and martial arts pleasure!!

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Thoughts from the Japanese Waterman

    I was nineteen years old, hitchhiking for the third time across the United States chasing waves with my little five – seven Gordon twin fin surfboard right outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I stopped in a little convenient store for a soda pop and was in back of the store when I heard in a loud voice ” Give the money or I will shoot you,I mean it, I will shoot you and your Dog!

    For some reason I thought of my little dog I had in Hawaii and I didn’t care about the gun, foolish but instinct set in. I grabbed a couple of can goods and a shovel I saw ,threw the cans to the right and hit him on the left in the head with the shovel, the robber fell dropping his gun , the store owner kicked the gun away and soon the police arrived. The store owner made me out to be a hero but in my heart I was saving the dog and I just acted out of instinct to survive, it was my first encounter with a gun since I had come to the mainland and my Sword training had given me ability’s, even with a shovel.The store owner offered me money for what I did but I could not take money for something I would have done anyway, naturally.

    {Heroic Courage}
    Rise up above the masses of people that are afraid to act.
    Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all.
    A samurai must have heroic courage.
    It is absolutely risky, it is dangerous.
    It is living life completely, fully, wonderfully.
    Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.
    Replace fear with respect and Caution.

    The Japanese Waterman

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    KARATE STORIES: I was fortunate to compete on a US Team in 1973 in Seoul, Korea after Roy Kurban relinquished his spot after choosing not to go! We were expected to pay our own way to L.A. where we would meet our other team members and travel to Korea. I flew from Dallas and met the team at the airport there in L.A. There were a ton of Koreans there all associated with the trip to compete in the 1st World Tae Kwon Do event. There seemed to be confusion about the money neccessary to pay for all of the tickets, and Ahn Ye Mo was the mission leader, which apparantly was a big deal to the Koreans. Jack Hwang was willing to put up an additional $3,000. toward the cause, but he insisted on being the Mission Leader. You would have thought someone shot Ahn Ye Mo when he had to give up his position to Jack Hwang. Anyway. tickets were being handed out to all of the team members, but after they were all passed out, Howard Jackson and myself were still without tickets. We watched as the Koreans boarded the plane, assuring us that we would board shortly, we watched the plane as it backed out of the bay, we watched the plane as it took off! I looked at Howard and told him that at least he lived in California and did not have far to travel. It looked like I was going to have to buy another ticket to get home to Denton, Texas. Just then they called my name on the intercom and told me to report to the ticket desk, the plane had developed hydralic problems and was returning to the terminal. Howard was dressed in his Marine uniform as he had just been released from the military. We waited and saw the plane return, they issued me a ticket, the Koreans on the plane came up with more money. But they did not have enough money for a ticket for Howard Jackson, they took me out to the plane on the runway where the repairs were being made and we eventually took off with no further incident. I always wondered what kind of an impact Howard would have made if he had been allowed to go with us! We won 2nd place out of 26 competing countries. The event was un-winable for us because of bias, but I will tell you about that another time! Jim Butin

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    In 2007 at the Michael Depasquale Jr. Celebrity Roast in Atlantic City ,New Jersey in front of a star studded crowd including Jeff Smith, Bob Wall, Keith Vitali, Joe Hess, Tokey Hill, Keith Standberg, Gary Alexander, Adam James, Bill “Super foot”Wallace, Shawn Flanagan, Bernard Kerick and many others ,Garett Lee performed a set of traditional Kata to this beautiful song by Willie Nelson ,dedicated to Chris Canning, a young warrior who accidentally shot himself, Chris ‘s Dad was on hand, Mr. Art Canning who awarded Garett Lee the “Chris Canning Award for the second year in a row.
    Take care of our children for they are our most precious resource that we have.
    Chris Canning was a young great martial artist.R.I.P
    Willie Nelson “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground”

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Some day my dreams will come true !!

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    My Memory of my friend and mentor Professor Wally Jay

    I woke up this morning and went to my computer and read that Grand Master Wally Jay is being taken off life support, I am very sad , but also very happy that he touch my journey, grief is a strange thing and I wrote this little tidbit of history when I found out he had a stroke.

    I guess because he was from Hawaii I am having a tough time and he was one of my first real hero’s , but I pray for his family and assure them I am just one of the thousands that are in grief and mourning. He was a great man and martial artist ,mentor and friend and I will miss him greatly, I am calling all my Black Belts this morning and we are in meeting in the park to have a special session of “Bull in the Ring” in honor of Professor Wally Jay to throw, joint lock,sweep, take down and put uki’s in pretzels and finger locks in my precious memory of my hero one more time.

    Thank you for your love and joy you have given me , I will miss you ,sir

    Many, Many years ago ,back in the early 80’s ,on a Saturday night , I was beating on my bag in my Dojo and I got a phone call , it was from Professor Jay and he was at the airport on a overlay from one destination to his home , he had got my number from my friend Al Garza, he asked if I could come to the airport and meet him for he had something for me , I dropped everything and met him ,took me a hour to get there but after we had dinner.

    He reached into his luggage and gave me a picture of two men doing a Roto -Seginagi and it was marked 1942, I looked closer and it was him when he was very young ,it was very old and sort of tattered, however he signed it and gave it to me, it said” Gary ,keep your Hawaiian spirit alive and remember your roots , I’m proud of you ” Professor Wally Jay ,Small Circle Jit-Jitsu,Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame.

    It inspired me to become the Champion and do what I have done in my Journey .

    I love you Professor

    Another memory of my journey with Professor Wally Jay,

    Thank you McCarthy Sensei ,as you know he is very special to me and has been part of my Journey, here is another little tidbit of history. When we did Hanshi Sid’s Celebrity Roast in California 2008, I am at Mark Gerry’s house getting ready and received a call from Professor Jay, he shares with me he is not feeling well and he would not be able to attend, we stay on the phone and talk and everybody from Eric Lee and Bob Wall is telling me we got to go or we are going to be late, of course I stay on the phone and mainly because he is such a precious resource for me and I promise to mention him and do something special for him not being there, when I arrived Hanshi Sid wanted me to do a Sai Kata or Self Defense routine but I told him I had talked with Professor Jay and he always loved the sword routine Banana cut ,so that is what I did at the Roast, thinking of My Hawaiian mentor and friend, Professor Wally Jay.

    I will always remember him as a mentor and a great martial artist but most of all as a friend who loved his Hawaiian roots , he is with many of my friends now ,Uncle Sid, Mako, Stuart , Howard ,Glenn and many others who love Sport martial arts, I know they are watching and being my guardian angels as I finish my journey ,working hard as they taught me to be the best I can be though their memory while they were here.

    Mahalo Professor Jay ,R.I.P


  • Prof. Gary Lee

    The Super fight!!
    Garett Lee and Chris Gallio” />

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Hitch hiking across America, “Memories of a American Samurai”

    I am publishing my first book in two weeks, “Memories of a American Samurai” and this is one of the many memories I have coming to the mainland at a early age.
    I was nineteen years old, hitchhiking for the third time across the United States chasing waves with my little five – seven Gordon twin fin surfboard right outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I stopped in a little convenient store for a soda pop and was in back of the store when I heard in a loud voice ” Give up the money or I will shoot you, I mean it, I will shoot you and your Dog!
    For some reason I thought of my little dog I had in Hawaii and I didn’t care about the gun, foolish but instinct set in. I grabbed a couple of can goods and a shovel I saw ,threw the cans to the right and hit him on the left in the head with the shovel, the robber fell dropping his gun.

    The store owner kicked the gun away and soon the police arrived. The store owner made me out to be a hero but in my heart I was saving the dog and I just acted out of instinct to survive, it was my first encounter with a gun since I had come to the mainland and my Sword training had given me ability’s, even with a shovel.

    The store owner offered me money for what I did but I could not take money for something I would have done anyway, naturally.

    Now that I am much older I realize how I reacted back then wasn’t the smartest thing to do and in my mind I have analyze what I did and still believe it was thinking of him shooting that little dog, not the owner and it did not even occur to me at the moment I could have been shot or been killed all I cared about was him saying he was going to shoot a animal.

    Martial arts teaches you not to think but react at the moment the occasion arrives , the thinking should be done in the Dojo or Kwoon where you have your teacher to help you and teach you to make the right decisions, however reality is a different animal.

    I can remember distinctly, I did not think about the future or the fact of danger, just I did not want a little dog to be shot and that is when courage took over.

    The training of martial arts teaches you to be smart, that is why I threw the cans to make assailant look the other way, the shovel was the weapon at hand and I thought of all those times I saw Kyoshi hit his students with his Shinai and whacked them across the head just for not paying attention or just his personal punishment he would give us because that is the way they did the training back in the day or at least in Hawaii.

    Why did I pick up the shovel instead of using my Karate?, well I was taught in my weapons training that the weapon that you train with, any weapon was a extension of my hands, there fore, I did think of Karate even though I hit him in the head with the shovel, mind you, all this happen in a few seconds, a flash before your mind and I know now that I have talked about it. If it wasn’t for Karate and for the intense training I did in Hawaii, it might have turned out different .

    Thank goodness I didn’t have to hit him with my surfboard , it’s funny though that afternoon right out of Oklahoma City, it is a super flat desert land and it was the first time I saw the Black clouds of a major storm, it got real quiet and from the sky huge pieces of ice started falling hard, it was the first time I encountered a Hail storm.

    I put my Gordon and Smith Twin-fin surfboard, my pride and joy, next to my Tonfas I carried.

    I put the surfboard over my head to protect me . My hands were beat to bleeding and after the hail storm my board was battered up with huge holes in it .

    I remember digging a hole in the desert and burying the surfboard and crying not wanting to leave it in the desert.

    What a day !, almost got shot, hit a guy with a shovel, saved a little dog , experience my first hail storm ,buried my best friend ,the surfboard and was heading toward another karate event.

    I love Karate !


    {Heroic Courage} Rise up above the masses of people that are afraid to act.

    Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all.

    A samurai must have heroic courage.

    It is absolutely risky, it is dangerous.

    It is living life

    completely, fully, wonderfully.

    Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.

    Replace fear with respect and Caution.

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Conversation with the President of the Amateur Organization of Karate

    I look back now an smile when I think of the producers and presidents of this group I have had conversations with and in this one story because of FACEBOOK I am recording for future reference for my book on Texas Karate I am writing, I have always been opinionated and spoke my peace, sometimes it got me in trouble ,sometimes it got the point across ,this is one of those times I hope people understand I am just sharing a opinion .
    In 1979 I blew in from Hawaii with dreams of being the best I could be, I had gone back and forth to Hawaii and though out my travels I chose Texas as the mainstay. The AOK had just been formed for the unity of rules and to give Texas a governing body to regulate Sport Karate in the state. The legends of Texas had got together and formed a board ,they are in not any particular order ,Roy D.Kurban, a super star from Texas , Black Belt Hall of Fame member and producer of one of the national events in Texas ,the Fort Worth Pro-Am, Joe Alvarado,who brought Soryu Karate to Austin , taught the police force , awesome competitor and produced great fighters like Myron Muse and Dwanye”Rooster” Machen ,the first recipient of the Junior Greek Award in 1982, Mickey Fisher, who invented his own system of Karate ,Shin -to-shi he also trained many Texas Champions, Jose Santa Maria, a student of Grand Master Jhoon Rhee and a head of his time karate businessman.Master Santa Maria would have one of the biggest events in Texas and have his “Work Smart ,Not Hard Seminars that would help Karate Instructors become good ,strong business men, George Minshew, would create the franchise “Black Belt Academy” and produce great Champions but mostly known for his thirty year span as a super producer giving us the Karate Olympics and the first Diamond Ring you could win in a Grand Championship in Kata or fighting, Ishmael Robles, was the only one to win a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP and truly represent TEXAS in the Kick boxing ring , he was a super producer and true role model for all competitors, Al Francis was a dangerous competitor and a super star in national competition, he was one of the first group of Super Texans like Linda Denley , Raymond McCallum and Jimmy Tabares who would destroy their opponents in the eighties in the Black Belt rating Karate Illustrated days.
    He was also the host for the very first Amateur Organization of Karate Top Texas Ten Awards in San Antonio and Banquet.
    Together these men would change Sport Karate in Texas and give credit to a new set of rules that would change sport Karate, first the five point spread, the mainstay for any event in the country was two minutes and the first to three points , TEXAS help changed that scenario by now giving a competitor two points for any kick from the groin to the head .
    The national players loved this and hated it, the great kickers would look great until a hard core Texan would kick him or her in the private place between the legs, yes even the ladies got points for doing this, over all the two point kick was a hit and soon the national circuit would allow the two point kick .
    Texas, the AOK still allows this and it is a controversy needless to say ,”What sport in the world of Competition allows someone to be kicked in the groin area to score points?????
    There isn’t one and now it is 2012 and this group still allows it, Do parents ,even instructors want to have their children permanently injured?, no, of course not, so it is my opinion we need to changed that rule quickly before a producer gets sued or some one gets hurt really bad, oh yeah the wavier , well we all know that a good lawyer would tear that apart, I remember what Master Phil Koppell would do, at the signing of the wavier he would have it notarized and signed by a witness to help you understand what you are doing stepping in the ring of Sport Karate. The second concern and constructive criticism is why on earth do they allow wives, siblings, girlfriends to keep time and score keep if their husband. boyfriend, brother or sister is competing for a division for Grand Championship, it is unethical and non professional to the players, conflict of interest, period.
    Controversial to say the least, case in point, two Top players in the last event I saw was fighting for the over all Grand Championship, great fight !!, however the score was 5-4 when one of the players stepped out of the ring, I saw the head judge say STOP TIME,
    I was keeping time on the side and fifteen seconds was left , the player that stepped out fixed his glove, took his time, stepped into the ring, as soon as he stepped into the ring, the timekeeper though in sponge to say the match was over, the time keeper was the opponent’s wife and her husband won the ring and Grand Championship.
    When the Center Judge was asked “Did you say stop time” , he said “yes “, after wards The time keeper, wife of the opponent that stepped out was asked why she did not stop time, she said “I didn’t here him “.
    My third concern is a little more political, when a Black Belt is going for a Championship.
    I have seen and witness judges trying to maneuver other judges from their schools or sister schools to be put into that division to judge their teammates and give higher scores, this is so bad, case in point many, many years ago I was at Wang’s open event and I was going for the Grand against five other competitors, I notice that the man Mr.Hernandez , a very strong competitor was switching judges for the Grand, talking with the tabulator and then removing the judges that had been picked, I let it go till the very beginning of the Grand and then I asked the head judge for a moment and asked him why the first judges were replaced. When he asked about the switching of judges, he found out that one judge was Hernandez step brother, the other, his cousin and the other was his student Black Belt, he had got caught !!!!
    I believed that thirty -two years ago and I still believe that now, however when the producers get together in Austin this Christmas for their annual meeting of the minds ,
    I hope for good conversation , good food and a look at some of the controversy that players, Parents and spectators are talking about at every tournament.
    In closing I believe that this president and his board really care about kids ,players and yes, even the Black Belts .
    The Top Texas Ten Black Belt Ratings is free and we rate only Black Belts ,there are twelve scouts that go to events and rate the players, there are seven events we have rated with a Five -Star Black Belt Rating and yes we have rated quite a few AOK events because they are a class event’s.
    We are not affiliated with the AOK , we just support the best events in Texas, below are the events we support in the AOK for the past two years.
    These are the Five Star***** events that are rated by Top Texas Ten Black Belt Ratings.

    To see the ratings ,please go to FACEBOOK type Top Texas Ten Black Belt Ratings or for reviews and honorable mention .

    The United States Karate Championships, Dallas
    The Space City Open , Houston
    The Art of War ,Houston
    The Ocean Nationals, Galveston
    Battle of Texas, Galveston
    Houston Internationals, Houston
    Spindle Top , Beaumont,
    Texas State Championships, San Antonio
    Texas All-Star,Dallas
    BMA Championships, Houston
    Fire Dragons, Austin

    Barry Guimbellot

    What does this have to do with the AOK Fan Club? Just wondering…

    Professor Gary Lee

    It is a martial arts event and AOK spectators and Competitors are invited to come , all are welcome , sir

    Barry Guimbellot
    Then, the post is just an advertisement and does not directly have anything to do with the AOK or fans of the AOK. It was my hope that this page would be honoring AOK competitors and not turn into another advertising venue. I would like to see posts here, but if the page is going commercial, I can always block posts. Thanks for the reply.

    Professor Gary Lee

    Barry , I am just inviting my friends to a event that I am producing, do what you want, I don;t think of it as advertisement, I am just inviting my friends to a event that I invented in Texas, ALL THE MEMBERS HERE ARE AOK OR TEXAS BASED OR BOTH, AND IT IS HERE TO HONOR ALL THE COMPETITORS OF THE AOK , I HAVE GIVEN THIRTY -TWO YEARS TO THE AOK AND PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED ,HOWEVER YOU AND OTHERS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMETIMES THE HEART OF A COMPETITOR, EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE BEEN THE PRESIDENT FOR A WHILE, but have you forgot, Roy D.Kurban, Jose Santa Maria, Mickey Fisher ,Joe Alvardo, George Minshew, Ishmael Robles and Al Francis who invented the AOK brought us together for the unity of rules and working together , If I get one person from The AOK to come to my event in California which I have from sharing on this page, I have done my job as inventing this page, block what you want, it doesn’t matter to me Barry, but sharing and inviting friends to my events have always been a part of life and my character, this I cannot change, whether you like it or not, I appreciate your comments and The Living Legends which was in invented in Texas and have had AOK competitors and spectators support for the past twelve years will go on, maybe it is because you have never been to a Living Legends event you criticize, well your always welcome , heck I won’t even charge you a spectator fee, lol

    Barry Guimbellot

    It Is the roast a paid event? Inviting someone to a paid event is an advertisement. As you stated above, “If I get one person….to come to my event, then I have done my job….. BTW-I did not criticize your event.

    Professor Gary Lee

    No it is not a paid event ,I do not charge, it is all sponsored ,,the spectators, the roasters ,the wives the girlfriends, the V.I.P’s are given passes to get in, all awards or reconditions of one’s accomplishments are given to them, it is not a pay for fame, in fact it is just the opposite, that is the base of the event , I’m sorry I misunderstood your comments , I only started this group for the competitors and the people, parents and spectators who love Texas Sport Karate. I wish you the best and hope you are president for a long time , I would not want to be in your shoes for all the criticism you must get, I admire you for being president as long as you have, of course I have seen them come and go after 32 years, you and Bob Beasley have been the best , have a blessed day, sir

  • Prof. Gary Lee

    Karate Bass Fishing Tournament style, a tale of two sports!

    One of the first public autograph appearances was at Astroworld , Houston Texas , Iwas sort out of place ,I thought because I was surrounded by some of the greatest Basketball and Baseball players in the world , I kept thinking why am I here, it was a great year 1989 and I had brought a couple of winners, signed a new contract with six flags, rated in four different karate groups national and state, created Kids Expo and Hawaiirock Productions and the biggest thrill winning the B.A.S.S Federation State Championship and represent Texas in the the Central Championship.

    People have asked me how I could do both and be a Champion at both and I always say the same answer ” IT IS KARATE , MY WAY OF LIFE, KIME, FOCUS, AND CATCH BIG FISH!”

    This is where my life would change forever and I would be chasing BIG green fish for the rest of my life !

    I am a Bass fisherman!

    Twenty years of teaching Kids to fish and have fun !!

    Are you addicted to Bass fishing?

    Do you stop at every Tackle shop you see even if it’s going the other way on the freeway to check out just if they have a new spinning Lure?

    Are you so bad that you start thinking about your next trip as soon as you get out of the water to hook your boat from the trip you just did?

    It is Friday night and you pull into the motel , the parking lot is full of boats all players are getting ready for the next day event.

    You notice that most the guys and pros are at the local guide roost talking smack and drinking that legal stuff but you stay at the motel sharping your lures and fine tuning everything cause you know it is 60% luck and 40% technique of being prepared for anything that can happen and murphy’s law always kicks in when you do not expect it.

    Finally ,you go to bed .

    You close your eyes and count BIG Bass in the live well.


    It is 3:00 am , a cup of coffee, uplug the Battery charger, secure everything and go to the ramp , except this event you may ramp anywhere you want , just be at the weigh in at 3:00 pm or be penalized.

    You decide to chance it ,lose a couple of hours fish time ,but it will be worth it if your hunch is right,so you drive to the other side of the dam to the east for more shade and for the past three days of pre fish you have been following the birds.

    The birds find shad, the shad draw fish!!

    Sometimes schools of fish form, the shad gather sometimes they will corner thousands of those tiny morsels in a cove or against a set of rocks !

    The Pattern

    Black and Blue Stanley Jig with a no.11 black pork frog dipped in Fish Formula and thrown against rocks or structure , count to five slow , pop or moved slow , count to ten this time, wait!

    The BIG fish

    Found a back water cove off the main channel of the river though a maze of Cypress trees , it was so confusing you had to spray paint the bottom of the trees to find my way out , everything look fishy, which tree??

    Then you see a opening, the first you thought was “thank you lord for letting me leaving that spray paint in the boat!”

    Then your pre – vision sets in and you see a ripple over by a hanging log , another boil , the buzz bait , hooks in the tree for a couple of seconds and falls ,your reel ratio is high speed and you do not make a full turn when he swallows the buzz bait whole , you do what you have been taught , wait three seconds ,you try to break your arm and set the hook !

    You know it is a big fish by the way it pulls and the Kistler Rod was the reason you landed the fish .

    Two times it went under the Ranger Commache 464, a old Ranger but it’s family .

    You believe the worst is going to happen , lose the fish, break the rod and of course my Kistler came though this time to maybe win my first Championship.

    Final weight on BIG fish 9.70

    Watch the birds!

    You know BIG fish become BIG fish because they feed under the remains of what the schools miss, a theory but it is a pattern and as a Champion you must have many patterns to fish and win, part of that 40% technique you must have.

    The Pattern works, Five fish , with one BIG one over nine pounds, you have culled six times, nine teen bites for eight hours of fishing, really only four hours because of traveling time going to the other ramp!!

    You pull up to the weigh in , they have already had two waves of fisherman come in and you know you have to have twenty pounds to place and you also got a shot at BIG BASS pot too.

    Some one yells “he’s got it ,so far biggest fish has been seven {7} pounds, you get butterflies in your stomach because when you weighed it on your scale it was nine pounds plus, but it does not matter until they weigh it officially and you pass the polygraph.

    You know every one is watching for your the last to come in the third wave, BIG tournament over 350 hard core fishing bass anglers all wanting to win .

    You dig into your live well ,pulling out all your fish saving the BIG one for last , Holy crap You could win this !

    The walk to the scale is a long walk ,your nerves are goin crazy until they get your bag and it is like a dream,

    you need four {4} ounces to win!

    Nobody remembers second place, they weigh your fish and you have seven ounces over the last top weight total, twenty seven ponds two ounces

    27.2 pounds!!!!! A new Champion on a old lake ,

    plus you won BIG BASS pot, at ten dollors each angler put in times 350 entries ,

    Steak tonight!!

    More fun than a barrel of Crappie!!


    We are sorry to say ,there are no cures except get in the water and fish !

    Go early


    Stay late!

    Two weeks earlier pre fishing for the State Championship

    I t is pouring down rain and thunder storms are predicted though out the weekend ,you are here with six other Top Ten qualifiers to pre – fish for the State Championship but mother nature has played a joke and has given you the worst conditions to find fish and give you some insight on why , when ,where and how you are going to plan to win and place in the top twenty .

    You know from past experience that the sponsors only pay attention to the top twenty and offers do not come as easy as people think .you have to work and learn the marketing game of the outdoors and be around the right people.

    My partner was a born Louisiana Coon ass and could fish the socks off anybody I know, he was one of the Top Six from his club and this was his 7th State Championship to qualify.

    His name was St.Joe and he was gruff, but a die hard tournament Bass Fisherman! So St.Joe and I met at the ramp at 4:00 am and talked our smack ,put our rain gear on and Motorcycle helmet, back the Ranger into the water and headed out ,we could not fish for it was hard, hard rain coming down , but this was conditioning our mind in case the tournament has bad weather. We slowly pulled out into the basin that led to the river that led to the lake we found flying over the area to find the holes when the weather was nice five days earlier.

    It was still dark and we could not see very well, but St.Joe had a instinct like no other Bass fisherman I know, so we moved forward slowly, very slow my Ranger was tuff , but a log from this storm or anything blown in would ruin a practice trip.

    We finally made it to the river ,still pouring rain and windy, but now it was day light and we could see , so we hit the throttle and made that 200 Mercury work for us .

    I know we missed a few stumps and floating logs but St Joe was a season boat man and I trusted him completely!

    After a five mile run up river we found the little lake we had saw on the plane trip but there was a problem, the rain had flooded the small creek that led us in and now was a raging river ,we had to find another way in. We back out and started looking for other ways .I saw a tiny creek but there was a large gap that was waterless to get back into the water that led to the secret lake.St.Joe said ‘Let’s Jump it “, I said your crazy!!. He jumped out of the boat and gathered some logs and made a sort of a ramp ,he came back to me and said “we will back up and hit the ramp, jump ten feet and land in the water that leads to the lake , we can do it , I betcha dinner ” I looked at him shook my head and put my helmet on and said’ “Lets git it”

    We backed up fifty or so yards and gunned it hitting that ramp hard ,it worked ,we went flying and landed in the water , lost a tackle box and the cooler !!, only problem now , how are we going to get back , it did not matter .we were in Hog Heaven !! The rain had cleared up a little and we saw clear water and Lilly pads and there was a added attraction , we saw four five old duck blinds that we did not know was there and there was a dropped off about fifteen feet near the blinds, too cool! .


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