karate

Jim Harrison

The "Ronin" Followed the Martial Path and Left His Mark on Our World!

Any veteran of the martial arts will tell you that the 1960s were known as the "blood and guts" era of American karate. Chances are that person also will tell you that one of the pioneers of this period — not to mention, one of the toughest fighters ever — was Jim Harrison. Born on December 30, 1936, the man they called "Ronin" built an impeccable reputation in the combat arts, one that persisted until he passed away on February 23, 2020.

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"Yoshiharu Osaka sensei was always the textbook of shotokan," one experienced karateka said."True," his colleague replied. "But Kanazawa sensei was always the book of its poetry."

Stories of Hirokazu Kanazawa are a soundtrack of post-training bull sessions. Kanazawa, who won the first All Japan Karate Championship in 1957 — with a broken wrist. (When his mother heard he was dropping out of the competition because of the injury, incurred only days before the event, she asked him why he couldn't win with the other hand and with his kicks, compelling him to stay in. Moms then, and Japanese moms in particular, were a little different.)

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Frequently in martial arts you hear laments about the changing nature of these arts and how particular styles were better years ago because they were more "traditional" or how they are better now because they are more "modern." But rarely does anyone stop to ask just what constitutes traditional and modern in martial arts or where the dividing line is that separates any particular art into its traditional and modern phases.

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Team: AKA

Date of Birth: August 15, 1999

Style: Goju-ryu, Tae Kwon Do

Specialty: Traditional Forms

Hometown: Westfield, NJ

Location: Bethel, CT

Experience: 18 Years

Leagues: WKF, NASKA, ISKA, WKU, NBL, ProMAC, AAU

Gabrielle Dunn is a captain of Team AKA and is known for her balance of power and grace when performing traditional routines. Having competed in creative and extreme divisions earlier in her career, as an adult she has focused her efforts on excelling at both Korean and Japanese-style traditional forms. Dunn has already made a name for herself on the NASKA circuit as an overall grand champion and is in the process of building her reputation in the more traditional-focused WKF by training with the world-renowned Sensei Robert Young of Miami.

Dunn's martial arts résumé also includes world championships in WKU and multiple performances for America's troops in Guam and Hawai'i with the famous Sideswipe performance team. Outside of her athletic career, Dunn was named Miss Teen Connecticut International in 2016 and is known as a talented vocalist. She typically performs the national anthem at the beginning of the Saturday night finals at a few NASKA world tour events each year.

When I left Okinawa, I had no idea that the valor and hard work of my instructors would bring me so many honors. The lasting respect I have for them will always touch the deepest part of my heart. Those who trained in the Far East during the late 1950s and early '60s enjoy a spiritual bonding that others cannot imagine.

Secrecy played a big role in my early training in Okinawa. I had asked the U.S. Marine Corps to station me there so I could learn karate, but upon arrival, I found it difficult to get any information about good schools. No one who was practicing the martial arts wanted a new person at his school, and when a newcomer did show up, the others were rude to him. They refused to speak to him and embarrassed him if he asked questions.

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