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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Hermosa Beach, CA
    Posts
    383

    Default Master James Thompson - Uechi Ryu Karate - Okinawan Martial Arts and Green Beret

    Kyle with Master Thompson 1994_0002.jpg
    Kyle with Master Thompson 1994_0001.jpg


    Uploading and scanning all my old photos and found these two golden oldies from 1994. Master Jame Thompson - He was stationed in Okinawa for the Army and was one of the very first African-Americans to become a Green Beret during the Vietnam War. He ended up back in Kalamazoo MI to start a martial arts school and I stumbled on his school in college.

    The most humble man I have every met - but there was no doubt he could handle any situation anytime - you could just sense it being near him.

    Below is an article I found when he received his 10th degree black belt. He trained directly with the Uechi family and was one of the first african-americans to ever be accepted into a japan/okinawa traditional martial arts school (prejudice was big in both the SF community and the japanese martial arts community). He also met and married a wonderful japanese woman while he was there. I always thought it was a huge credit to his ability and character that he was accepted in this community in that era - an amazing testament to his work ethic and the respect he earned from anyone who met him.

    His wife, Hideko, is a 6th degree black belt and I remember in class she could do more push ups, pull ups, or pretty much any physical task better then all of us young bucks even though she had 15 years on us (was called out - it may be a bit more then 15 but I wouldn't be dumb enough to use real numbers :) - she was a savage and at 5 foot a force of nature if she wanted to show us "kids" how a woman can kick some butt.

    He used this skill to teach hand to hand combat with the Green Beret's and other special ops units until he "retired" in 1979.

    https://www.mlive.com/sports/kalamaz...ructor_jo.html

    They are a family academy and you can see his wife and sons at their site:

    https://www.okinawankarate.academy/karate-dojo.html
    master thompson.jpg
    Like lots of schools the students would do maintenance, cleaning, etc. to help the dojo. One time we offered to help Master Thompson while he was moving to a new house. I got to help pack his office and saw his "ego wall" - photos, awards, medals, and other things from the SF community from his days in the army. This was before iphones and other easy cameras - that wall was covered with some amazing pics/medals/honors and unit stuff that was incredible - wish I could have taken a picture.

    A very great man and an incredible teacher.

    HBP
    Last edited by HermosaBeachPatriot; 03-01-2020 at 09:09 PM.
    - Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. - President Ronald Reaga n
    -ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ - King Leonidas 480 BC
    -terroists love to blow themselves up, and we love blowing them up - you'd think we'd get along better

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Hermosa Beach, CA
    Posts
    383
    As a side note- Master Thompson was a warrior first so he was interested in all types of real effective hand to hand combat. For those of us who are a bit older and lived through this time we might remember that no other forms of martial arts were taught in any traditional school. We studied Aikido, Judo, and very early Gracie work before MMA became a thing. The focus was always to learn and honor the traditional art while blending it with "real world" techniques from multiple forms. We had students that left the school because of this and I always thought that was limited.

    HBP
    - Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. - President Ronald Reaga n
    -ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ - King Leonidas 480 BC
    -terroists love to blow themselves up, and we love blowing them up - you'd think we'd get along better

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Palestine, TX
    Posts
    1,723
    Neat write up. Thanks for posting this.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Hey.. Why not join the Army? It's free!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SWFL
    Posts
    743
    That was the karate style I started with when I was an early teen.
    KRG-1: Kalashnikov Rifle Gunfighting
    HRO-5: Terrorist and Active Shooter Interdiction
    CRG-4: Force On Force Gunfighting
    CRG-5: Zero To Five Feet Gunfighting
    Red Dot Combat Pistol School
    HRO-6/HRO-7: CQB-Fighting in Structures/Team Tactics, Urban Warfare Weekend
    Pistol Ground Fighting

    TWOTU since 2016

  5. #5
    I've never had a chance to study it, but by all accounts Uechi Ryu is old school bad ass.

    Sounds like Master Thompson is. too.

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