For many the 1950’s-the late 1970’s  were a very historic time in our country and the martial arts world is no exception. Martial Arts, far from being a household word, was still in its infancy in the United States. It was being popularized, at times, on television, in some movies, but on the tournament circuit is where the martial arts really flourished. Legends such as Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Mike Stone, and Joe Lewis began to be known in mainstream media outlets thus increasing the notoriety of Karate and other martial arts. There were other names and fighters despite their skills and accomplishments who were left out of mainstream coverage. These men had defeated some of the aforementioned Karate stars and were known as some of the best martial artists in the country.  Some were featured in kung fu movies, some quietly teach their craft to new generations of students. Their history is a very important part of both the American and Hong Kong martial arts movie cinema.  Let’s meet some of them in this Dojo Tribute: Black Karate Tournament Fighters part 2.  For a more in-depth study of this topic visit Forgotten Fury written by Clarke Illmatical.

Willie Adams

(image originally posted at

Grandmaster Willie Adams is a 10th degree black belt in Isshinryu Karate and has studied Shotokan Karate, Judo, Aikido, and Kung Fu. He was a top competitor in the Midwest from 1963-1975. Grandmaster Adams won the 1966 International Karate Championship in the kumite (sparring division) as well as winning championships in kata(forms), kumite, and breaking in tournaments in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. He owns and operates a very successful Dojo in Southfield, Michigan and he is a trainer to the Southfield Police Department, Detroit Police Department, and is a licensed private investigator. For more info on Grandmaster  Adams click here.

Oso Tayari Casel

(image originally at Tayari Casel’s Facebook page)

Master Casel is a legend in the martial arts world. He was a competitor of both forms and sparring. His match with “Little” John Davis was featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and the list of tournaments he has competed in and won is too many to name. He has studied Shaolin Kung Fu, Kupigana Ngumi, Tai Chi Chuan, West African Dance, and others. For a more comprehensive bio click here. Master Casel owns and operates his school in Silver Springs, Maryland. This small post cannot begin to describe the accomplishments, his influence on the martial arts (in many areas). He can be reached at this Facebook page. He has been featured in the great documentary The Black Kung Fu Experience ( a must watch).

Donnie Williams

(image origianlly at

Bishop Donnie Williams is one of the most decorated tournament champions in history. He has more than 85 championship trophies to his credit. He has trained in Taekwondo with Master Byong Yu and Sensei Jerry Atkins and Donnie was known as a great kicker on the tournament circuit. He was a co-founder of the Black Karate Federation with Sijo Steve Muhammad as well as co-author of Championship Kenpo with Sijo Muhammad as well.  His biography Conquest Over Hatred is a very good read and gives insight into his life and struggles. Master Williams has been in films such as Enter the Dragon, Black Belt Jones, and Truck TurnerAs with all the other profiles this small piece does not do justice to the contributions of Bishop Williams, please click here to read more about Bishop Williams.

Bishop Donnie Williams on Bo Luellen’s Kenpo History Channel

Howard Jackson

(image originally at

Howard Jackson, Tang Soo Do black belt, was a very accomplished martial artist, full contact fighter, sparring partner and friend to Chuck Norris and Joe Lewis. He was a major part of Chuck Norris’ s fighting team and trained with and sparred with men such as Bob Wall, Pat Johnson, Darnell Garcia, among others. Master Johnson was the only two-time grand champion of The Battle of Atlanta. Jackson was a World Kickboxing Association welterweight champion! In addition Master Jackson was a stunt man on several Chuck Norris projects and was a personal protection specialist for 10 years.  Master Jackson passed away in 2006. He was a great fighter and a respected martial artist who is deeply missed. Visit for more information on this great man.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. This is meant to be a starting point to research for those interested in this aspect of American Karate history. Forgotten Fury is an excellent resource as well as The Search for Counte Dante, and others. Please feel free to contribute your ideas, thoughts, and suggestions in the comment section. Thanks!