Richard Kim (karate)

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Richard Kim
Born (1917-11-17)17 November 1917
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Died 8 November 2001(2001-11-08) (aged 83)

Okinawan Kobudo
Shōrinji-ryū Karate[1]
T'ai chi,[2]
Pa Kua
Daito-ryu Aiki jujitsu

Yi Quan[1]

Arakaki Ankichi
Chao Hsu Lie
Chen Chin Wuan
Toyama Kanken
Yabu Kentsu
Yoshida Kotaro
Mizuho Mutsu[3]
Kenichi Sawai
Tachibana Sensei

Wang Xian Zhai
Rank 10th dan
Notable students

Brian Ricci
Don Warrener
Raymond "Duke" Moore

Peter Urban

Richard Kim (Nov 17, 1917 - Nov 8, 2001) was an American martial artist. He was an instructor of various disciplines, including Okinawan Kobudo and Shōrinji-ryū Karate.

Early life and career[edit]

Kim was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and began studying judo as a child in the early 1920s, under Kaneko. Around the same time, he also began studying karate under Arakaki Ankichi.[4] Before World War II, his service in the United States Merchant Marine took him to east Asia. He cited many martial artists as his teachers, including Tachibana, Chen Chen Yuan, and Choa Hsu Lai.[citation needed] While in Japan, Kim studied Daito-ryu under Kotaro Yoshida and lived with him for seven years.[5] Kim stated that he had in his possession the Daito-ryu scrolls and had been granted the Daito-ryu menkyo kaiden.[6] Kim also studied and taught Japanese and Okinawan weaponry.

Teaching career[edit]

In 1959, Kim began teaching martial arts in San Francisco. He traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe teaching wherever he went. As well as teaching the physical aspects of the martial arts, Kim taught the philosophy, history, strategy, and spiritual aspects. He died on 8 November 2001.[citation needed]

Kim wrote a monthly column for Karate Illustrated magazine, and wrote a number of books including: The Weaponless Warriors, The Classical Man, and an instructional series on weaponry (Kobudo). There has been some controversy surrounding The Weaponless Warriors, published in 1974, as the bulk of the work appears taken, without acknowledgement, directly from Eizo Shimabukuro's 1963 work Old Grandmaster Stories,[7] which was translated into English for the first time in 2003. Kim was named Black Belt Magazine's "Karate Sensei of the Year", in 1967,[citation needed] and was later inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame.[citation needed] Kim was the Director of the American Amateur Karate Federation and Vice-President for the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF).[citation needed] At his memorial service, Hidetaka Nishiyama of the ITKF presented Kim with the rank of Judan (10th degree black belt) posthumously.[citation needed]

Kim's students continue through a number of organizations: the Kokusai Butokukai is the international organization that Richard Kim started as the Busen Butoku Kai. It is made up of Zen Bei Butoku Kai (founded by Richard Kim in 1959), Butoku Kai Canada, Butoku Kai France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Finland, and Scotland. The Bu Toku Do was founded by Don Warrener, a senior student of Richard Kim. The Zen Bei Butokukai International was also founded by two of Richard Kim's senior students, Brian Ricci and Frank Gaviola.


  1. ^ a b About Master Richard Kim
  2. ^ O'Sensei Richard Kim, His Life
  3. ^ The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai Salutes: Richard Kim
  4. ^ The Weaponless Warriors
  5. ^ For a non-referenced and anecdotal biography of Richard Kim, see: Warrener, Don (2006). 20th Century Samurai (Martial Arts Masters).
  6. ^ For an anecdotal article on Richard Kim, see: Simon, Geraldine (1963). 20th Century Warriors: Prominent Men in the Oriental Fighting Arts.
  7. ^ Similar controversy and claims of exaggerated or false achievements followed Kim throughout his career.

External links[edit]