Master Willie G. Wilson, born August 17, 1949 in Blount County Tennessee, married to
Linda P. Brabson Wilson of 34 years. In 1978 Linda Wilson was the first black female to
receive her black belt in this area of East Tennessee. We have three children, Shelia,
Anston, and Shantala. Willie or Garfield, as some people call me, I reside in Corryton,
Tennessee, and is the president and chief instructor of the Karate Five. At the present
time I am a member of the International Isshinryu Karate Association and Modern Arnis
My first encounter with martial arts was in the army. This was a basic course of hand to
hand and with a trainee that held the rank of a brown belt. After the army, my real
training started with Master Long, which was in 1973. In 1975, I was awarded my black
belt in Isshinryu. Some of the senseis I studied under are Grand Master Maurice Masarsa,
Master Glenn Webb, and Master Cas Cox in Isshinryu Karate. To further my training in
the martial arts, I was invited by Master William Mason to train in Jiu Jitsu. My first
sensei in this art was the late Professor Moses Powell of the Sanuces Ryu System. I
received a second degree from this system in 1978. Professor Moses was so impressed
with the Tennessee students he brought in Professor Florendo M. Visitacion from New
York, the founder of the Vee-jitsu Ryu System. I received a fourth degree from this
system and was being promoted to fifth degree before Professor Vee became ill which
was stated in a letter to me. I also studied under Master Edwards from New York in the
Vee-jitsu System. In 2002, I introduced and began studying Modern Arnis under Grand
Master Jeff Delaney and Professor Lisa McManus. Master Delaney is the successor to
Professor Remy A. Presas, the founder of Modern Arnis.
In 1999 was awarded Instructor of the Year in the Isshinryu Hall of Fame. In 2002, I was
inducted into the World Hall of Fame for Master of the Year, the Worldwide Martial Arts
Hall of Fame and 2003 inducted into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame. I have been awarded
numerous awards in leadership, contributions and leading by example. Our Karate Five
Dojo has been nominated and placed in the top five dojos three times for Dojo of The Year.
In the past years to present I have taught hundreds of students in promoting Isshinryu and
cross training other arts in Jiu Jitsu and Modern Arnis. I have given numerous
demonstrations to civic groups, churches and schools. Some of the demonstrations have
been for the University of Tennesseee, Black History, Dogwood Arts Festival, numerous
city schools, Knoxville College Home Coming, community stations, radio and TV talk
shows and numerous articles in the Knoxville News Sentinel. I was instrumental in
getting a karate class started at the National Fitness Health Club.
Beginning in 1977, I was instrumental in organizing numerous Kids’ Day programs that
helped children at different schools learn about Isshinryu Karate and the dangers of crime
and abuse of drugs. In the past, some of these demonstrations were given with Master
Harold Long and local high schools and colleges. The demonstrations that were created
could be used in churches and schools that involved the whole community to show them
leadership and that karate could develop a positive, well being attitude.
My present sensei is Grand Master Msarsa in Isshinryu. In 1974 Lee and Wilson started
teaching in the inner city to help develop the system among the young adults and kids.
Master Wilson and Lee, Sr., created the Karate Five in l980. The original five were
Melbert Lee, Sr., Willie Garfield Wilson, Frederick Brabson, William Faulkner, and
Linda P. Wilson. The present five are Masters Willie G. Wilson, Melbert Lee, Sr.,
William Faulkner, Daryl Cox, and John Whitehead. The Karate Five is located at 3816
Oakland Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee where Isshinryu Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Modern Arnis,
and modern day self-defense is taught.
In 2005 the World Karate Union Hall of Fame presented it's most prestigious award to
Master Willie G. Wilson. The GOLDEN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD OF HONOR.
On 24-Jun-2006, Master Wilson was elected to the World Karate Union Hall of Fame
Board of Directors.