To make a long story short, I became the best kata competitor on the West Coast in the 1970s. For many years, I was the ranking regional kata champion for Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

The prestege had its benefits, the least of which was that the kids at school stopped picking on me. I gave interviews to magazines and toured with some of the best martial artists in the world. I was one of the youngest black belts ever to win the Golden Fist Award (considered the "Academy Awards" of martial arts). Now, I have a garage full of hundreds of trophies - each with little karate guys adorning the top with cobwebs hanging on their toes.

It was a life lesson that I would never choose to alter.

The secret to my success was one-part natural talent and ten-parts excellent instruction. I was one of the first martial artists in the U.S. to compete in the Northern Shaolin style....

To a few like myself, martial arts is not just a sport nor a way to simply work up a sweat, rather it is a way of life. I started at the young age of ten. In the early 1970s, I was nearly the only Asian in my elementary school and the smallest in my class... I was constantly picked on by the other kids. My dad, Wally Hiraki, was a boxer back home in Hawaii and thought it would be good for me to take karate and build my self confidence. Since I was also born with asthma, he thought the exercise would enhance my breathing ability.

Style Ranking Instructor

Northern Shaolin Black Sifu Johnny So
Five Animal System Black Sifu Douglas Wong
White Crane Black Sifu Jim Ibrao
Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate Brown Instructor Jim Grunwald

Copyright © 1998-2003, 2004 [April M. Hiraki-Morris]. All rights reserved