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 and have traveled regularly in order to continue my own Kyokushin training.
In late 2021 I was approached about teaching again. After giving it some thought I agreed, but on a limited basis. As a result of that conversation I launched Texas Kyokushin Karate in November 2021… 41 years after beginning my own training and study of Kyokushin karate. Before writing about the training at my dojo first let me say this though… I am not running a commercial school. Training with me will definitely not be for everyone 🙂
All training sessions will take place on a private or semi/private basis. Face-to-face training is conducted six months out of the year at my home dojo in Bryan, Texas. Those six months roughly coincide with the Fall/Spring semesters at Texas A&M University. To be accepted as a student you must be willing to commit to 6 hours a week of instruction during the time I’m in residence. For the remaining six months out of the year I provide a training plan for students and supplement with online instruction. To be accepted as a student you will need to be serious about training and highly self-motivated. Like I said… this is not for everyone🙂
If you are still interested and you live in the local area, you may apply by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Please include a brief introduction about yourself, any martial arts history, why you wish to train in Kyokushin, and why I should accept you as a student.
Enough about me and my dojo though! Over 99% of you reading this aren’t here looking for someone to train with so let me share a little about what I plan to write about on this blog… 🙂
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. I hope that people will find some value there!
I’ve always thought of myself as a student first. I have trained with, and continue to train with, some of the top instructors in Kyokushin. Learning is a life-long process. I hope to perhaps share a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Although, as I said in the previous paragraph, I see myself as a student first and am always seeking to learn, I am also a teacher. I write from the perspective of someone with decades of teaching experience. 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. Hopefully, some of the insights that I’ve gained through my decades of teaching and life experience will be of interest.
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! 🙂