The Isshinryu Hall Of Fame

All Isshinryu Practitioners Building & Recognizing Master Tatsuo Shimabuku's Vision Together

Willie Adams (Inducted in 1987)

Willie Adams long and colorful history as one of the most prominent and respected martial artists in America began in the late 1950's and early 1960's, when he earned his Black Belt in Isshin-Ryu Karate under Masters Don Nagle, James Chapman and Doug Noxon. In addition, Sensei Adams also had the opportunity to study other martial arts, including Shotokan under Master Ozaki, Kung Fu under Masters Lee and Wong, Aikido under Master Yusuda, Judo under Master John Osako, and the arts of Quan Tao and Poke Lon under Master Phil Reeders.

His complete dedication to the martial arts laid the groundwork for a stellar tournament career, spanning the years 1963-1975. Always a fierce, top notch competitor, highlights of Master Adams' accomplishments include winning several Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania State Championships in the weapons and empty-hand kata, kumite and breaking divisions.

He won the 1966 International Karate Championship Black Belt kumite division, and was also a member of the United States International Karate Team in 1964. He was an outstanding coach as well. In the 1970's, as Captain of the Detroit All-Stars Karate Team, he led his fighters to two years of undefeated success in tournaments throughout the East Coast and Midwest. In 1972, his team competed against Chuck Norris' team to a draw for the title of United States Team Champions.

Sensei Adams is also involved in the administrative side of the martial arts. He was a member of Grandmaster Shimabuku's first, original organization, the Okinawan American Karate Association (OAKA). Later, he became the state representative, then the regional representative, Vice-President, and finally President of the American Okinawan Karate Association (AOKA). As a result of his unflagging dedication to and high level of achievement in the Art of Isshin-Ryu Karate, Sensei Adams has received many honors, including induction into the International Karate Hall of Fame, the Michigan Karate Hall of Fame the Spirit of Isshinryu Award. Most recently, he was inducted into the International Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame, an honor of which he is very proud.

Sensei Adams has also owned and operated a number of successful businesses outside of the dojo, including a limousine service, the Worldwide Import/Export Company, Renaissance Security Investigation Company and Panther Brand Karate Uniform Company.

Today, he owns one of the most successful Karate schools in Michigan, trains all of the major police departments in the area, including the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, the Detroit and the Southfield Police Department and several other law enforcement agencies. He is licensed by the State of Michigan as a private investigator, and is also active in the Southfield Police Department D. A R. E. program, developed to keep kids off of drugs.

Sensei Adams was born on January 20th, 1946, and he was educated at Southeastern High School, Cass Technical High School, Highland Park Community College and Wayne State University.