Art Palmer began studying karate in 1975, under Mr. Will Dalton (Shorin Ryu), in Jamestown, Tennessee. He studied for about 18 months and then the school closed for about 6 months. When it reopened, he studied there for an additional 18 months. In 1978 Art moved to Crossville, Tennessee and he begun to study Shotokan Karate under Mr. Ken Nelson (Art was 14). Art earned his 1st Dan (in Shotokan) from Mr. Nelson in 1981.
He was fortunate to begin working out under Mr. Howard Long in 1980. Mr. Long held kata seminars at their dojo to begin the process of transferring the school from Shotokan to Isshinryu.
When Art was 14 year old Mr. Nelson introduced him to Mr. Tommy True. They would go to his school on Sat. evenings to work on katas. In 1985 Art received his 2nd Dan (in Isshinryu) from Mr. Long. Mr. Long promoted him and his good friend Mr. David Parks to 2nd Dan at the same time.
In 1989 Art’s Sensei, Mr. Nelson, died while on duty as a police officer. At this time he was helping Mr. Nelson run his three schools (all three in different counties). Art was working out six days a week. After Mr. Nelson’s death Art closed two of the schools but retained the school in Crossville. At this time he changed the name to his own.
Mr. Long continued to hold monthly seminars with Art for the next two years. Also, very often, Art would travel to Knoxville to train under him. Art and his black belts have held more free self-defense clinics than they could possibly count. Many were held outside of the dojo at health clubs, schools etc. but most had a specific demographic and many were geared toward woman, the National Guard, or for children. Art’s school has also held numerous demonstrations at schools, TVA’s 50th anniversary, county fairs, etc.
Art has also traveled to two state prisons to train the guards on self-defense. Art and his students have supported open, sanctioned, and association tournaments from 1979 to date. Art has never received payment for running his dojo or for his contributions to Isshinryu karate. Several times over the last 30 years he has paid rent, from his own pocket, to keep the doors open. He is a cabinet builder by trade and owns a shop in Crossville. Art is also Head Pastor of Bowman Baptist church. He has five children and one grandchild