Kelly Markham began training in Nashville, TN in 1971 with Master Denny Shaffer, Jim McDonald, and Phil McElroy. Returning home to Rogersville, TN, he received his Black Belt from Devoid Wright and Ron Honeycutt. In 1973, he founded Kelly’s Heroes and began teaching classes in his hometown.
A fierce tournament competitor for over 25 years, Sensei Markham won numerous events including the IIKA Lightweight Championship in 1975, the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame Championship at age 40, the Battle of Atlanta, and the Battle of Nashville just to mention a few. He was rated one of the Top Ten Fighters in the country by Karate Illustrated Magazine for over 10 years.
Master Markham has hosted the Annual Kelly’s Heroes Classic since 1983, and is a member of the IIKA Board of Directors. While raising five children along with his wife Linda, he returned to college and received his Bachelor’s degree. He is a devoted to God, his family, his students, and Isshin-Ryu Karate.