|Robert A. Trias 1922-1989
Robert A. Trias was born on March 18, 1922. At the beginning of World War II Robert A. Trias was called upon to serve his country in the United States Navy. In 1942 he was stationed in the Solomon Islands. While he was training for the South Pacific middleweight boxing championship, he met a man who would set him on the path to a remarkable life of monumental accomplishments. This man was T'ung Gee Hsing. Hsing had traveled to the Solomn Islands from Okinawa in 1940, where he had trained with Choki Motobu.
Hsing was fascinated with American boxing and he began to frequent the gym where Master Trias was training. He pestered Trias day after day to spar with him, until one day Trias agreed. In an interview for Black Belt Magazine Master Trias recounts the event. "He was just a tiny little guy, said Trias, and I didn't want to spar with him, but he kept on persisting until I said yes. I called all my friends to see me kill this little man and I asked him if he wanted to spar with gloves and he said it really didn't matter. Well, before you know it, he was giving me the biggest thrashing of my life and I was really embarrassed. He kept pointing out how he could easily kill me if he wanted and right there and then, I asked him to teach me. " Master Trias began training with T'ung Gee Hsing, and was awarded his first degree black belt on July 10, 1943.
Later in 1944, he was also able to train with Hoy Yuan Ping in Singapore. In 1945 he returned to the United States and introduced karate to America. In 1946 Master Trias opened the first karate school in America in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1948 he founded the United States Karate Association which became the largest karate organization in the world. He was also responsible for the following first accomplishments in America.
1955 - Wrote the first rules for karate competition.
1955 - Conducted the first karate tournament.
1958 - Wrote the first textbook.
1959 - Made the first instructional film.
1963 - Conducted the first world karate championships.
1968 - Conducted the first professional karate tournament.
His literary works are: "The Hand is My Sword", "Karate is My Life", "The Methods of Shuri-ryu", "The Pinnacle of Karate", and "The Supreme Way".
Master Trias was promoted to 9th degree black belt on July 16, 1964 by Grand Master Yasuhiro Konishi, the Chief Instructor for Choki Motobu. Grand Master Konishi also appointed Master Trias as the International Style Head of the Shuri-ryu system. He was promoted to 10th degree black belt in 1983, by Grand Master Makoto Gima, the Chief Instructor for Gichin Funakoshi.
World-renowned karate grandmaster, George Anderson, passed away suddenly August 6th in Akron, Ohio.
A 10th degree black belt, Hanshi Anderson was a true Renaissance Man. His early education focused on the classics and music. He became a concert quality violinist. And his life-long hunger for knowledge enabled him to speak in-depth on almost any subject.
Anderson's keen intellect, hard work ethic, ability to inspire others, and generosity enabled him to rise to such heights. He was well read to the very end and had a great passion for life, which he lived to its fullest, traveling and teaching the martial arts throughout the world.
Anderson's martial arts training began in the early 1950's and extended over 50 years. His training moved from the Akron gyms to the early Korean karate movement, as it developed into Taekwondo, and then to traditional Japanese/Okinawan karate. He rose quickly to membership in the elite Trias International Society. He became President of AAU Karate, then founded the USA Karate Federation, for many years the National Governing Body (NGB) for karate in the USA. He next took an active part in the USA NKF, the present NGB for karate. Anderson also made his mark in Police Self Defense and Defensive Tactics. He taught and served as a defensive tactics advisor to many law enforcement departments around the country.
Anderson was also extremely successful at the world karate level. He was elected president of the Pan American Union of Karate Organizations, chairman of the powerful World Union of Karate-do Organizations (WUKO) Referee Council, and later WUKOâ€™s first Vice President. As head of the World Referee Council, he organized the WUKO/WKFâ€™s first technical congress, where the international rules for Karate were rewritten and categorized. He was also instrumental in getting karate included in the Pan Am Games.
Hanshi Anderson also founded the US Jujitsu Federation and was the North American representative for the Jujitsu International Federation (JJIF). And as a member of the US Olympic Committee (USOC) board of directors, he represented a variety of sports to the USOC.
His most recent projects included formulating and heading the US Masters Caucus for the USA NKF and spearheading the creation of the combined USA Karate and USA NKF Hall of Fame.
Among his many friends, students, and confidants were such martial arts luminaries as Robert A. Trias, Phil Koeppel, Sadaki Nakabayash, Fusigero Takagi, Masafumi Suzuki, Ki Wang Kim, Byung Jick Rho, Ki Whang Kim, Richard Chun, Henry Cho, Kang Rhee, Kim Soo Jin, Jhoon Rhee, Mon Soo Park, Chong Lee, and Park Chul Hee.
He left a great legacy through his Kwanmukan style and his Shihan and Sensei students, who now carry on his tradition. Many of those who received rank underneath Hanshi Anderson run or represent major martial arts organizations today. Through them, his influence will continue for many years to come.
Hanshi Anderson made his home in Akron, Ohio, and lived with Joan, his wife of 59 years. He is survived by five children and many grand and great grandchildren.