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Sensei Cecil T. Patterson 6-22-30 10-27-02

The 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, worldwide.

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 United States 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.

Even 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.

Mr. Patterson and wife Joan were blessed with four children, two sons and two daughters. The oldest son John 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 San-Kyu (3rd 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.

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