Cecil T. Patterson
world of Martial Arts and Traditional Karatedo
lost one of its most beloved and central figures on October
27th, 2002, with the death of Cecil T. Patterson, 1st President
and Chief Instructor of the United States Eastern Wado
Ryu Karate Federation.
Born on June 22, 1930, in
the small mountain town of Sevierville, Tennessee.
Prompted by an early, youthful appreciation of law
enforcement, Patterson Sensei first became interested in
the practicality of self-defense while training in
Federal Law Enforcement tactics under the FBI. Limited
though it was, it was this basic training that would
ignite his desire for a deeper understanding of the art
of self-defense; a desire that would take him a world
away from the mountains of East Tennessee to the village
of Iwakuni, on the banks of the Inland Sea
in southern Japan.
Stationed there during his tour of duty in the
US Navy, Patterson Sensei enrolled in a small Wado Dojo under the instruction
of Sensei Kazuo Sakura - one of the few ranking senior students
directly under Master Ohtsuka. Training six-seven days every week for hours
each day, the years passed with Patterson Sensei growing closer every day to
realizing his dream of reaching a deeper understanding of martial arts.
In 1959, Mr. Patterson was advanced to the rank
of San Dan, or, 3rd degree
Black Belt. Five years later, he was promoted to the rank of Yon Dan
(4th degree) and in December of 1968, Master Ohtsuka himself advanced Patterson
Sensei to the rank of Go Dan
-5th degree- the highest rank achievable in the Wado system at that time,
making Cecil Patterson the highest-ranked Occidental in the Wado system,
With that honor, however, came many
responsibilities; including Master Ohtsuka's instruction that Mr. Patterson
bring the art of Wado Ryu to the Eastern United States. In 1968, that
responsibility was fulfilled with Patterson Sensei's formal establishment of The
US Eastern Wado Kai Federation, and taking on the new responsibility of
overseeing the operations and and instruction of all Wado Ryu Dojos in the
entire Eastern half of the United States. With the formation of the first
Federation, however, also came recognition for Cecil Patterson. He served as
both the State Representative and the Regional Director for the
Karate Association, serving also on that organization's Board of Research.
In addition, he became one of the most recognized and respected consultants to
federal and state law enforcement agencies, lecturing and instructing on Police
Defensive Tactics at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy, and serving for 40
years until his retirement as Director of the Arson and Fraud Division for the Department
of Commerce and Insurance for the state of Tennessee.
well past 70 years of age, this quiet, contemplative man still searched for
that deeper understanding, training every day, teaching every week, hosting
the yearly USEWF Tournament, and bringing his annual Summer and Fall Seminars
to hundreds of Wado students from 11 states. Holding the rank of Hachi-Dan
(8th Degree Black Belt) Mr. Patterson received many awards for his role in
karate, including being named Father of Karate for the State of
Tennessee, by the Nineteenth General Assembly, and the prestigious Master
Ohtsuka Award, presented to him by Hironori Otsuka II when visiting Japan
in 1971. He authored two books on Wado Ryu karate and several books on police
defensive tactics. On June 16th of 2001. he was inducted into the Bluegrass
Nationals Sport Karate Hall of Fame.
Patterson and wife Joan were blessed with four children,
two sons and two daughters. The oldest son
began training in Judo and Karate in 1961 at the age of
six and due to Sensei C. T. Patterson’s death has taken
the responsibility as President of the USEWF. The eldest
daughter holds a rank of
Degree Brown Belt) in Judo. The youngest son Michael
also trains in karate and assists Sensei John Patterson
with Federation maters.
The Bushido says that
"...a true samurai reflects his mastery of self
in every step, every breath, and every movement..." We have lost a true
samurai a great warrior, and a gentle man of honor.