BY RAY VAN COR
The Greenville Standard
The Isshinryu Hall of Fame 40th Anniversary took place in Gatlinburg Tennessee last month. The two day event played host to the Isshinryu practitioners from around the world.This year’s Awards Ceremony was attended by over 500 Isshinryu Masters, instructors, students and families from around the world.
There are local ties to this story because three of South Alabama’s own were in the lime lite for global recognition and all three are from the same training hall (Dojo) the Andalusia Isshinryu Dojo. Kila Owens Thompson of Andalusia was up for Female competitor of the year, Taj Patel of Opp for Karate-Ka15 – 17-year old, and Dalton Spears of Enterprise for Competitor of the year.
All three performed and placed well at the tournament but came up a little short. It is extremely rare for three students to be chosen for global recognition from the same Dojo.
Induction into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame is a permanent recognition of a lifetime of dedication to the Martial art of Isshinryu.The Board of Directors of the Isshinryu Hall of Fame reviews each and every nomination submission at their Annual Retreat and selects the finalists out of many hundreds of qualified nominations.
Mr. Edward Johnson of Fort Worth Texas is such a man to be selected. I was fortunate enough to have met and interviewed the seventy eight year old Ninth Dan Grand Master last year. Johnson said, “The Marine Corps paid for me to take lessons in 1958 while stationed on Okinawa.”
Johnson is one of the last remaining students to study under Tatsuo Shimabuku the founder of the Martial art of Isshinryu and Ed Johnson is known and respected throughout the martial arts world.
Johnson certified the last two ranks of Andalusia’s Isshinryu Instructor Mark Rudd who made it into the martial arts Hall of Fame last year.