Wae-Kune-Do Karate is a very unique form of martial arts. It incorporates the beauty of the traditional arts with the practicality of living in a modern and urban society. This particular system of karate is a very difficult and demanding discipline which teaches the students the balance between mental and physical strength, as well as humility and restraint. This system has not been intended for Hollywood, but rather to be taught as a way of life, with students learning to contribute positively to their world and community. Our motto is "We enter to learn. We leave to serve!"
After 30 plus years of hard work Master West's system has been recognized throughout the U.S.A and Canada and he was even listed in the 1990’s "Who's Who in the Martial Arts." He has won numerous martial arts championships and holds titles nationally and internationally. Two of his most notable fights were against Grandmaster Billy Blanks and Grandmaster Chuck Norris in 1970 (GM West was the first to beat GM Norris in five years). During his creation of Wae-Kune-Do, at any point he could have chosen to wear a 10th Dan as most founders claim, but he never once did so. When he first began teaching his art, he only claimed the rank of 3rd Dan and as the years went on, and as his students grew, he slowly progressed in rank and rightfully so.
Grandmaster West remained at the rank of 5th Dan until he promoted Parrish to the rank of 3rd Dan in the mid '90s. Now, some may ask what is so important about the rank of 3rd Dan? I will simply say that the ranking style of Wae-Kune-Do is very unique, and to avoid any confusion and fit his purpose for the students of WKD, it was then that Grandmaster West assumed the rank of 8th Dan.
Fast forward to November of 2008. Grandmaster West was elevated to the rank of 10th Degree Black Belt by his highest ranking student, and the only karateka to ever reach master status in the system, Master James Parrish as well as all of the active black belts in Wae-Kune-Do. Unfortunately, due to a tragic accident we lost our beloved founder to a fire that consumed him and the dojo we all called home, while he was trying to save a young lady that was living in the upstairs apartment. That was a sad day for the Technician Family, and the whole community of Steubenville, Ohio. Master West was not only a master of the martial arts. He was a master of the limo game as well. He not only owned and operated his own karate school, he had started a very successful limo company titled Heavenly Dream Limousine after he won his first limo during a karate tournament. Grandmaster West may have left us, but he will never be forgotten and his legacy will continue to be carried on through the students of Wae-Kune-Do Karate during our daily lives. We all carry WKD with us to work, school, the park, day and night. These skills and lessons taught to us can and will not ever be forgotten. Sensei always made sure to give every student 100% of himself both on and off the floor while providing us with what we needed (never simply what we wanted). We worked for everything, where it was a new kata, or weapons kata or rank, it didn’t matter. Nothing was handed out and it was all earned. One thing is for sure. If you are one of the lucky ones that earned your black belt in WKD from him personally, you know what you went through and you know that it was earned.
For those that may be interested in learning more about Wae-Kune-Do Karate we have four active branches located here Columbus, Ohio, and one located in Weirton, West Virginia a list of our schools have been listed below.
Stay tuned for future articles about the Wae-Kune-Do Karate system.
Parrish's Academy of Martial Arts
Instructor: Master James Parrish, 9th Dan
Teaching License: Menkyo Kaiden (1993)
Position: Soke/Head of Family
The Technician Dojo
Instructor: Master Steven Hatfield, 4th Dan
Teaching License: Menkyo Kaiden (2015)
Position: Soke Dai/Designated Inheritor
Awarded November 28, 2014
Instructor: Tashi Sensei Troy Fernandez, 3rd Dan
Teaching License: Menkyo Chuden (2015)
Cromer School of Wae-Kune-Do
Instructor: Tashi Sensei Bill Cromer, 3rd Dan
Teaching License: Menkyo Chuden (2015)
Friends of Christ Karate
Instructor: Sensei Charles Tatum
Teaching License: Menkyo Shoden (2007)
Kaiso Steven Hatfield is the Vice President of the US Association of Martial Arts as well as the President of the Ryu-Sakura-Do Karate Federation. He has founded two unique systems of martial arts, Ryu-Saiichi-Do Karate and Tenshi-Akuma-Do Aiki Jujutsu, and he is also the inheritor of several others including Wae-Kune-Do Karate. He began training in Wae-Kune-Do in 1999 and was named Soke Dai in 2014 after fifteen years of dedicated study under both Grandmaster West and current Soke James Parrish.