Master Linda Wilson began her Isshinryu training in 1973. In 1977, she was the first African American woman in the late Grandmaster Harold Long lineage to earn a black belt. The Karate Five Dojo was founded with the blessings and encouragement of Master Long “to promote and teach Isshinryu to the inner city youth of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Master Linda Wilson is married to Grandmaster Willie Wilson (2003 IHOF Inductee) and the mother of three grown children. . . Anston and Shantala. Yes, two of her children are Karate Five Isshinryu trained. In her professional career, she has over 40 years of administrative experience and joined the professional team of the Knoxville Convention Center in 2002 and is the Executive Assistant to the CEO.
Her responsibilities and participation in martial arts with Karate Five include but are not limited to a member in good standing in the International Isshinryu Karate Association (IIKA). She was also one of the five “original founders” of the Karate Five Dojo and is a Roku Dan (6th) Degree Black Belt. Master Linda Wilson leads Karate Five teams in conducting Isshinryu Karate seminars and demonstrations at such places as the University of Tennessee, local high schools, churches, civic groups, and the dogwood Arts Festival. She served as instructor for the Ladies of Isshinryu Hall of Fame Self Defense Seminar for the 2016 IHOF Annual Banquet and Tournament, Gatlinburg, TN
Master Linda Wilson still continues to leave her mark in the Isshinryu ranks as a leader, a teacher, and a Sensei. Some of her awards, recognitions and accomplishments in the martial arts are the 2014 WKUHF Instructor of the Year, the 2015 Universal Isshinryu/Jiu-Jitsu Silver Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2016 WKUHF Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2015 Karate Five Leadership Award, the 2016 Female Instructor of the Year (IHOF), 2016 Sensei Appreciation and Leadership Award; and in 2017, the first African American female inducted into the Isshinryu Karate Hall of Fame (IHOF).
She states, “It filled my heart with pride when my students placed in the winner brackets in tournaments. However, it’s more rewarding when I see how some of the young men and women from my lineage that I taught at the dojo during their youth days have matured into responsible and professional citizens. It is very common for these former Karate 5 students to bring their children and ask to please teach and train them the way you taught me.”
Master Linda Wilson is a member of the Foster Chapel Baptist Church. She’s the Ladies choir coordinator and a member of the Sanctuary, Ladies and Combined Choirs. She instructs and teaches in Vacation Bible School and when needed, is a substitute Sunday School Teacher. She is also coordinator and instructor for wellbeing of staff and family situations for upward mobility.
In her personal, professional and martial arts life, she is committed to the highest standard of performance no matter the challenge.