1. Gichin Funakoshi, established Shotokan Karate Do in 1939. Master Funakoshi studied from about eleven years old under Azato Anko and Itosu Anko. He practiced diligently and in 1912 became the president of the Okinawan Shobukai. In May 1922, he relocated to Tokyo and became a professional teacher of karate-do. He devoted his entire life to the development of karate-do. He lived out his eighty-eight years of life and left this world on April 26, 1957.
2. Won Kuk Lee, In 1926 Won Kuk Lee travelled to Tokyo, where he attended high school and later attended the Central University of Tokyo (Chuo University) specializing in Law. During his school years, he started training in the martial arts currently known as Karate-Do Shotokan style, under the tutelage of Gichin Funakoshi and his son, Gigō Funakoshi, who was the instructor in charge of the karate club of the Central University of Tokyo. It was there that Won Kuk became one of the first students of karate in Japan, obtaining the highest rank for a person who was not a Japanese national. After his graduation in Chuo University, he traveled Japan, visiting Okinawa and many other cities in China, including centers where Chuan Fa (kung-fu) was taught.
3. Nam Tae Hi, started training in 1946 and received his first degree under Master Won Kuk Lee. After receiving his first degree in Shotokan Karate Do went on to create Oh Do Kwan with Master H.H. Choi.
4. Grand Master Jhoon Goo Rhee – introduced his mixture of Shotokan and Tae Kown Do martial arts to the United States of America since arriving in the 1950s.
5. Allen Steen – was the first american to receive a first degree black belt in 1962 from Jhoon Rhee. Steen also recognized that his first degree was Shotokan Karate Do and subsequent black belt degrees were Tae Kwon Do oriented. In Dallas, Texas he created his Dojo that was American Karate and Tae Kwon Do.
6. Mickey Fisher – Received his black belt from Allen Steen in the mid 1960’s and was an instructor with Allen Steen at American Karate and Tae Kwon Do.
7. P. D. Hale – Received his black belt from Mickey Fisher in late 1960’s in American Karate and Tae Kwon Do. In the 1970’s Master Hale studied under Jae Won Park of Korea and was awarded another certification under Song Moo Kwan. Currently Mr. Hale is a Grand Master with the rank of 10th degree black belt.
8. Rick Williams – Received his black belt from Grand Master P. D. Hale and created Kaufman Karate in the early 1970’s. Currently Master Williams 9th degree black belt owns and operates Crandall Family Martial Arts in Crandall, Texas and he and his wife are managing the Kaufman County Children’s shelter in Kaufman Texas.
9. Jon Hodge – Started training in the early 1990’s under Rick Williams and was subsequently promoted to black belt and became an instructor for Kaufman Karate through 2003. In 2003 Master Hodge opened a school of his own in Crandall and later Seagoville, Texas where he and his son operated the schools until 2012. Currently Master Hodge, a 6th degree black belt, works with his home study students and teaches at seminars. Over the years Master Hodge has studied many different forms of martial arts and is also a Master Chi Kung and Tai Chi instructor.