A little about me… My name is Bill Stewart. My initiation into Kyokushin was in late 1980 with Shihan J.R. (Swanny) Swanson. I started leading and instructing classes in 1984. From 1986-1991 I was an instructor at Swanson’s School of Karate in Orlando, Florida. In 1991 I formed my own dojo, Florida Kyokushin Karate.
During my years in IKO (1980-1996) I was able to travel and train with a number of well-known Kyokushin instructors including Saiko Shihan Shigeru Oyama, Shihan Bobby Lowe, Shihan Yasuhiko Oyama, Shihan Keiji Kanemura, and Shihan Akiyoshi Matsui.
In 1996, two years after Sosai Masutatsu Oyama (the founder of Kyokushin) passed away, USA-IFK Kyokushin was founded by Shihan Mike Monaco. My teacher had retired for health reasons (he passed away in 2005). After discussing the options with him I made the decision that Florida Kyokushin Karate would join USA-IFKK. I traveled to Canada where I attended my first seminar with Hanshi Steve Arneil the following year in 1997. That further cemented my decision as the correct one. During those early years, I took every opportunity to train with the new organization, making multiple trips to New York. I trained with Shihan Mike Monaco, and extensively with Sensei (now Shihan) Bill Richards. I attended every US seminar with Hanshi Arneil from his first trip in 1997 until 2001. Following 9/11 I made the difficult decision to close my dojo and return to active military service.
From 2001 to 2012 when I retired from the United States Navy I worked as a Master-at-Arms (Military Police). During my time in the military, I was certified as a Non-Lethal Weapons Instructor. I taught the use of force, baton, OC Spray, unarmed self-defense, and the use of PPCT (Pressure Point Control Tactics). I also received training in Marine Corp Martial Arts and Army Combatives in preparation for worldwide deployment. Outside of Kyokushin, my deep and lifelong interest in martial arts has led to training in Tai-Jitsu, Kobudo, small-circle jiujitsu, and arnis, and recently I began formal training in BJJ. I have always considered Kyokushin to be my core art though, and other training as something that contributes to being a more well-rounded martial artist.
After spending a good portion of the previous two decades outside the United States, I returned to my home state of Texas in 2021. After coming home I re-connected with USA-IFKK. I launched Texas Kyokushin Karate in November 2021… 41 years after beginning my own training and study of Kyokushin karate. For more information and how to apply click here.
This blog will be a reflection of my own journey. It’s ups and downs as I have traveled through life. I’ll share my thoughts about everything from philosophy, to fitness and training, to the state of Kyokushin. I hope that people will find some value here!
Although, I’ve decades of teaching experience I see myself as a student first and am always seeking to learn. Teachers I have known have often spoke of how much they have learned from their students. In my experience this is very true! The process of teaching and explaining things helps us gain insights that we never would have had if not for our students!
Lastly, I’d like to say that I’m always open to reading others’ thoughts and perspectives as well. Please feel free to comment. I’m still learning after all! 🙂