The Passing Of A Great American Karate Icon-Pioneer & Master
- Richard Kim
By Don Warrener
It is with deep regret that we inform you of the passing
of an American Karate Martial Arts Icon-Pioneer.
Master Richard Kim passed away on November 8, 2001.
He was born November 17, 1919 in Hawaii and began his study of the
martial arts in 1925 in Hawaii at the urging of his mother. At age
six, he enrolled in a judo class in Hawaii and within two years he
had already mastered the rudiments of Judo from Kaneko sensei. He also
began training in karate in 1927 under Yabu Kentsu (Okinawan Goju)
when Yabu Kentsu was visiting Hawaii, and he later studied under Arakaki
Sensei (Okinawan karate).
Kim also spent a great deal of time at local boxing clubs where he
acquired his many boxing skills. He trained with some of the top world
contenders of the era and later became a champion a record of 44 wins
without a loss.
Kim moved to Japan just prior to World War II and was conscripted
into the army. He graduated from the Busen (the martial arts college
of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai) and served in Shanghai, China and in
During this time he studied with Wang Xiang Zhay of Shanghai (Pau
qua, Hsing-i and Yi Chuan), and Yoshido Kotaro (aikijutsu). He also
studied Tai Chi Chuan under the tutelage of Chen Chin Wuan. Later in
life he got to know Ono Komo (10 dan in Kendo) who was head of the
Dai Nippon Butoku Kai.
In 1957 he returned to the USA from Japan and took up residence in
San Francisco where he established the Chinese YMCA dojo which became
famous during the 1960's and 1970's. From there he built a world wide
organization of traditional karate practitioners in the USA, France,
Canada, Scandinavia and his homeland of Hawaii.
His column in Karate Illustrated during the 1970's called, "The
Classical Man," earned him the title of historian and philosopher
of the martial arts. He was also inducted not once but twice into the
Black Belt Hall Of Fame.
He taught thousands upon thousands of students in seminars and camps
around the world including the famous San Diego Summer Camp in California,
which was organized by his very dear friend Master Hidetaka Nishiyama,
and the Guelph Ontario Canada summer camps.
Through his teachings he developed many top martial artists who will
miss him dearly, including Peter Urban, Robert Leong, Brian Ricci,
Frank Gaviola,Louis Jamieson, Eileen Dennis, Greg Mellor, Rod Stanford,
Peter McHenry, Scott and Kathy Greig, James Miyagi, Raymond Castillonia,
M.D., Nevel Bellimoria, Paul Bellimoria, Raul Castillo, D.D.S., Linda
Castillo, Urbano Tejo, Lenore Tejo-Gaviola,Frank ( China ) Yuen Sr.
and Frank Yuen Jr., and myself Don Warrener.
He will also, of course, be sorely be missed by his wife, Mrs. May
If what Albert Pike said is true, then Sensei Richard Kim will be
immortal. "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us;
what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
His quote, "That A Martial Artist is An Artist Of Life," is
perhaps his most memorable.
About The Author:
Don Warrener is a teacher of Goju-ryu karate who was a student of
Richard Kim for over 30 years. He is a well known writer of many
articles on the martial arts, and author of the book, "Traditional
Goju Karate." Warrener is the founder of the Canadian martial
arts publishing company, Masters Publications, which published Richard
Kim's books, and republished many translated classic texts from Okinawan
and Japanese karate masters. His most recent venture is Masters Martial
Arts, a video production company, weapons manufacturer and book distribution
company also known for its magazine, Fighting Spirit Magazine. In
addition to Richard Kim, Warrener's teachers also have included Benny
Allen, Bob Dalgeish, Frank Lee, Don Lopez and the legendary Gogen
Yamaguchi. In 1973 and 1981 Warrener broke the world's record for
breaking bricks and boards. In 1968 he won the Canadian National
karate Championship and in 1973 took kata and kumite titles at the
Eastern Canadian Championship.