The Isshinryu Hall Of Fame

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

Melvin Early (Inducted 2019)

Melvin Early has been training with Grand Master Willie Adams since he was 14 year old. This year will mark Melvin’s 40th year as a martial artist.


Melvin has been a top competitor for 3 decades, and has been ranked amongst the top 10 martial artist in the nation. He has traveled across the country to compete in countless numbers of tournaments over his 40 year career. His proudest moments were traveling with Grand Masters Nick Adler and Willie Adams. During that time he was ranked in every category; kumite, kata and weapons.


Melvin’s primary contribution has been to the karate school and his community. He travels around the Detroit community giving demonstrations at local elementary and middle schools. He runs several businesses as an entrepreneur, and has given unselfishly of himself to help those who have been less fortunate. He has sponsored other children, to help them compete in karate tournaments. Melvin and the late Charles Rice (IHOF 2016 inductee) started a karate school in a suburb of Detroit (Belleville, Michigan). Because of their knowledge and success Belleville Martial Arts thrived. Although Charles is deceased, together their spirits still live on in that school.


Melvin is a Stage 3 cancer survivor. He is also a motivational speaker, who has been invited to local hospitals to speak with cancer patients and is on call at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan. The patients love him, not only because of his testimony but also for his sense of humor and his positive outlook on life. Master Early believes, "That cancer is a bully and bullies need to be confronted."