At age 15 I was smaller than many of my peers. My nickname was “Shrimp”. I didn’t like idea of the older neighborhood kids pushing me around. I saw my friend, Keith, at school during gym class doing some movements I didn’t recognize. I asked him what he was doing and he told me it was karate. Even though I was small, I was scrappy. He gave me a quick demonstration of some of his techniques and I was surprised at how effective they were. Keith told me about an upcoming class and I made sure I was there. Since then, I have trained and received black belts in Shorin-Ryu, Taekwondo (Moo Duk Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, and Chung Do Kwan), Aikido, and Hwa Rang Do. I have also extensively studied and practiced Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. Most of my focus has been in the American Open Style Karate. I developed Allison American Karate, which is an authentic style of karate and is recognized by the United States Karate Association founded by Grandmaster Robert A. Trias.
Shortly after my introduction to karate, I had the opportunity to get involved with our local volunteer fire department. My uncle was the Fire Chief. I wanted very much to be involved but their training was always on Tuesdays and Thursdays - and those were the nights I trained in martial arts. I knew I wanted to fully commit to one path or the other but I could not do both. If I chose to be a fireman, I would become Fire Chief one day. I knew I was choosing between Black Belt or Fire Chief, and after careful consideration I chose to commit myself to a career in martial arts and never looked back. Martial arts already had a special place in my heart.
I have learned what it means to respect others and command respect for myself, and yet remain humble. Most certainly I would not be the man I am today without it. Because of what I have learned studying martial arts, I have been a better father, son, brother, grandfather, friend, husband, and citizen. It has improved every area of my life and every relationship I have had. I have met incredible people in the martial arts community, but most importantly I have been introduced to my best self, the man I was meant to be. I would not know my best self in the way I do today if it had not been for martial arts.
Martial arts is a sacred ancient art form and teaches a way of life. It is not simply a collection of techniques for blocks, kicks, and strikes. It is a philosophy in and of itself that teaches much more than physical movements. It is for the mind and spirit as well as the body. I believe we need to remain true to the spirit of traditional martial arts, even as the art form evolves. I believe in expanding and advancing our techniques and methods of application, but the foundation of martial arts is high standards, discipline, respect, honor, and courage, and this foundation must be preserved. These qualities should be demonstrated by martial artists always, whether in the ring or out.
Studying and training in martial arts has given me the opportunity to learn and share powerful life lessons with countless people. I have trained many thousands of students and promoted 165 to the rank of black belt. I take very seriously my position as a center of influence in my community and strive to be the best role model I can be. I am always cognizant of the fact that my teachings not only inspire my students, but create a ripple effect throughout society. I am not only influencing my student, but also through him or her, their friends, family, and everyone with whom they come in contact. I see this come full circle when people I taught as kids are now parents and bring their children to me for instruction. There is no higher praise for me than when someone I instructed, who I know wants the best for their child, brings their child to my studio to learn martial arts and all the lessons that will serve that child for a lifetime. I am deeply honored by the trust that is placed in me, and I am inspired to continually expand my knowledge and understanding of the arts so I can best support my students as they learn and grow.
I was always taught the value of self-respect and respect for others by my family, but I am far more confident as a person because of my experience with martial arts. Perhaps I felt I had to prove myself before I got involved in martial arts, and someone who feels they have something to prove can be an unstable person. Someone who is self-assured and confident, yet balanced with humility, is not only able to enjoy their own life and relationships, but also brings an energy of stability to all those around him or her. And to experience the camaraderie I have shared with other like-minded people in the martial arts community has been extremely rewarding for me. I cannot imagine a better group of friends. The martial arts community represents the best qualities of the human spirit: love, courage, respect, discipline, honor, humility, strength. I am beyond grateful to be a part of this community of leaders and heroes.
I have conducted seminars with Grandmaster Victor Moore and Grandmaster Ernest Dukes. I have offered free self-defense classes for women and The Boy Scouts. I have taught martial arts classes at the YMCA and at my local recreational center.
I fought in the Battle of Atlanta (about a dozen times). I trained with the Charlotte Warhawks Full Contact Karate Team in 1977 and 1978. I participated in the East Coast Karate Championships. I fought in the Southern States Pro-Am Karate Championships. I was in the Gold Cup Karate Tournament and also The Land of the Sky Championship, both in Asheville, NC. I fought in the Appalachian Open Tournament in Boone. I fought in the Queen City Classic and Queen City Nationals in Charlotte, NC.
I was listed in the 1982 and 1983 editions of Who’s Who in American Martial Arts, and featured in the third (1984?) edition. In 1978 the Professional Karate Association voted me as the American Karate Instructor of the Year. In 2004 I was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. I received the Living Legends Sport Karate Award in 2003. In 2010 I received the Platinum Achievement Award in the Black Warrior Martial Arts Hall of Honors. I received the Lifetime Dedication Award in 2012 in the Black Warrior Martial Arts Hall of Honors. I received the Founders Award as well as the Distinguished Governor’s Samurai Sword Award in 2014 from the Kuro Bushi Martial Arts Association. I am the former State Director for the United States Karate Association. I am the former Co-Director of the Dojo Organization. I was a Chief Official for the Southeast Karate Association. I was a Certified Point Judge for the Professional Karate Association. I was a Certified Referee for the World Karate Association. I am currently serving as State Director for the Traditional World Karate Association. I am currently serving as Eastern Governor for the Kuro Bushi Martial Arts Association.
I have owned and operated multiple karate schools in North Carolina for 40 years. I have been an accountant for 27 years. I serve clients mostly in NC but have many clients located throughout the United States. I am a proud father of two amazing daughters and proud grandfather of two very smart and talented grandsons.