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Thread: Professor/Hanshi William (Bill) Marron (Kudan)

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    Devildogmrk is offline
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    Exclamation Professor/Hanshi William (Bill) Marron (Kudan)

    I currently take what we affectionately refer to as "Hawaiian Kempo Karate". I started this journey largely due to a man that I worked with. I had previously trained in other martial arts and was for the most part slightly disappointed with the training I had received. I had taken them through the YMCA when I was younger. But, I still yearned to learn as much about the martial arts as I could to spite the fact that I had found previous instructers lacking in teaching skills.

    But, Hanshi Marron definitely seemed different! He had an air about him that demanded respect to spite the fact that he was a "gentle" man. He was always courtesy, encouraging, respectful, and fun to be around. Plus, we had both served in the United States Marine Corps so there was already that bond right from the start.

    Having talked to him a few times about my previous martial arts training and how I really wanted to find another place to start training again, I got this response from him; He said "don't think about it, just do it!"

    At the time I was in college classes on the nights that his "dojo" trained. So I could not start immediately, but as soon as that semester was over I made sure not to schedule classes on the nights that they trained.

    I expressed interest to the instructor (one of Hanshi Marron's students) and he invited me to their "Christmas Party". I showed up and met everyone and had a really good time. I was sure that I would do well under this instructor because I had a good feeling about him as well. He seemed patient, courteous, and fun to be around as well. And, since he came highly recommended by a man that I valued his opinion I decided to attend the next class. I have been HOOKED ever since!

    So, I wanted to share a bit of Professor/Hanshi Marron's history here in hopes that there is someone out there that will value this information or if they have an interest in learning Hawaiian Kempo Karate and live in the Greater Kansas City area they will have gotten a powerful recommendation from someone that is currently a student of the system.

    Hanshi Marron was born on September 6, 1946 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (which is as tough an area as some of the other areas of the country that are infamous for being tough areas). He attended Toner Military School for boys on a scholarship/charity basis. His mother later married an Air Force man and they all moved to Alaska (once again not the easiest place to live). He lived there during the time that Alaska got admitted one of the states to the United States. He then moved to Lubbock, Texas, (which is where he first got interested in martial arts) and then to Wolforth, Texas where he played football (at barely over 130 lbs)and ended up graduated high school.

    Hanshi Marron originally trained in Tae Kwon Do when he as 18 in Lubbock, Texas. He then joined the United States Marine Corps. But before going he attended a ceremony where Sensei Stein (who was the United States Karate Grand Champion at that time) was the guest of honor and where Hanshi Marron was promoted to a green belt. By this time Hanshi Marron was getting good at breaking techniques and could break five boards and could break a board with his 2nd set of knuckles.

    Hanshi Marron went to boot camp, came back home married Kathy (his sweetheart), and then within months was sent to Vietnam. Even while in Vietnam he strived to continue his martial arts training. By this time he weighed 150 pounds. As anyone who has survived United States Marine Corps boot camp can tell you, it was 150 pounds of solid muscle by then. While there he was recommended for the Bronze Star, but ended up receiving the Navy Commendation with a Combat V instead. Which is not a medal to sneeze at either.

    After moving quite a bit with the United States Marine Corp after returning from Vietnam and constantly searching for a suitable martial arts instructor (getting promoted to Staff Sargeant along the way), he ended up in San Diego, California where he found Stan Mattson (a Gunnery Sargeant in the United States Marine Corps at the time). After studying rigorously under Sensei Mattson, competing in many tournaments, and attending additional training sessions with Ron Alo (Sensei Mattson's instructor) in Los Angeles, Hanshi Marron was promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt (Alo Kenpo-Karate Association; AK-KA) in February, 1971. Hanshi Marron's wife was also studying the same art and got her 1st Kyu Brown Belt at the same time. Jim Reifinger (also a United States Marine) received his black belt a few months later.

    Then all the suddenly all three "instructors" got orders to Okinawa, Japan (Stan Mattson, Bill Marron, and Jim Reifinger). Leaving Hanshi Marron's wife as the instructor for the classes. Which was no easy task for a 1st Kyu Brown Belt, making her the ONLY civilian woman to ever have the honor of teaching the San Diego USMC Karate School.

    While in Okinawa, Stan Mattson suggested that Hanshi Marron train with Master Seikichi Odo (1923-2002, Judan)

    For 2 hours every day Hanshi Marron taught Hawaiian Kenpo and every evening for 3 hours he studied Okinawa Kenpo Karate and Kobudo. Which eventually he lost weight to around 142 pounds and 6% body fat. He also would strike a makiwara board 1,000 times a day. At that time he could break 5 - 1 inch boards with no spacers. In less than a year he had learned all of the Okinawa Kempo and Kobudo kata. Before he left Okinawa he had earned his 2nd Degree Black Belt in Okinawa Kenpo Karate and Kobudo and was teaching classes in Master Odo's absence. Master Odo presented Hanshi Marron with his own Nunte Bo on his last day of class in Okinawa and a teacher's certificate so that he could teach Okinawa Kenpo Karate in the United States when he returned.

    When he returned to the United States he landed in Kansas City, Kansas, where he taught Hawaiian and Okinawan Kenpo out of his garage. There was no heat in winter and no air conditioning in the summer, so the workouts were sometimes intense. Hanshi Marron strived to make martial arts a "family affair" for his students. Although he did not compete as much since returning he managed to take 1st place in weapons and in open-hand kata competition in Sedalia, Kansas the first competition after returning to the United States. His martial arts skills had been greatly enfluenced by Master Odo, Professor Stan Mattson, and Shihan Ron Alo. The first person Hanshi Marron promoted to Black Belt (Shodan) was Hanshi Dan Kennedy (which had started with him as a green belt after arriving from California). Hanshi Marron was also the first person to get approved to teach (for credit) karate at Johnson County Community College (Kansas).

    Hanshi Marron was then transferred to Quantico, Virgina to teach at the computer sciences school (which was located right next to the FBI Academy). He worked out every day at lunch and taught Hawaiian and Okinawa Kenpo & Kobudo three nights a week. He was then transferred to Albany, Georgia for seven years. He taught Hawaiian Kenpo and Okinawan Kenpo & Kobudo the entire time he was there. He then moved his family back to Lenexa, Kansas where they still reside. In 1994, himself and his instructor (Shihan Stan Mattson) joined the Midori Yama Budokai organization and BOTH were promoted to 8th Degree (Hachidan) Black Belt and given the title of "Professor" by their peers. In 2004, the same organization awarded Hanshi Marron 9th Degree (Kudan) Black Belt in all three systems (Hawaiian Kenpo, Okinawan Kenpo, Okinawan Kobudo).

    Currently, Professor Marron mostly teaches Okinawan Kobudo, but plans on adding non-weapons classes again in the near future. However, there are a number of his direct students that teach both weapons and non-weapons styles that he has taught for years.

    The first lesson I ever learned from Hanshi Marron (even before I entered a classroom) is that a black belt is only "the first beginner". Meaning that earning a black belt only means that you know the system, but there is MUCH WORK to be done to perfect your art. The next thing he told me is "their is no perfection of the martial arts, only the aim to perfect...because there is always more you can do to better your art."

    This man has taught me a lot about martial arts, about life, and about humanity itself. I am not a worthy student but he teaches me anyway. For this I am ever thankful!
    Devil Dog Mark
    Hawaiian Kempo & Okinawan Kubudo

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    Default Re: Professor/Hanshi William (Bill) Marron (Kudan)

    Sounds like you found the right place. Thanks for the post!

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    Devildogmrk is offline
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    Talking Re: Professor/Hanshi William (Bill) Marron (Kudan)

    I definitely think that I have indeed found the right place to train. Especially for establishing my "roots" in the martial arts. I learn as much about life and being a better person as I do about the martial arts themselves from this set of instructors.

    I now know what a "great" instructor is and how they should act and conduct themselves. I can only strive to be the kind of martial artist and instructor that these instructors have been for me.

    They have inspired and invigorated me and I do not think that I will ever forget them and will never be able to thank them enough for what they have contributed to me.

    I only wish that the majority of instructors out there were at least half the person that these people are, and that martial artists across the world could see and follow their example.

    Sen rei no michi mo ippo kara - even a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.
    Devil Dog Mark
    Hawaiian Kempo & Okinawan Kubudo

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