Master Karl Kazuo Hovey was born in 1951 Okinawa, Japan. He learned karate in the true Okinawan tradition of the “Esu” family. His Uncle Shinji was his first instructor. At the age of seven, Master Hovey studied Kempo Karate-Do and Judo at the Okinawan Koza police school. Later he studied Judo and Okinawan Goju-Ryu at the Naha Air Force Base.
While still in his teens, 1967 Master Hovey moved, with his family, to the United States. He began training in Isshin Ryu Karate under Gunnery Sergeant Donald F. Bohan at HQ Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. In 1972 He open first Dojo HQMC Quantico. 1973 he moved to Fredericksburg, VA and opened another dojo. At that time sport karate was popular and he quickly learned that to expose the art of karate, he had to love it with a passion – but still bring it down to a level everyone could understand -and that was competition!
Master Hovey wasted no time in winning every major tournament he entered. His kata was superb, and his sparring (kumite) was enthusiastic. In 1973 at East Cost Armed Forces Karate Tournament in Dover, Delaware, Master Hovey took home every honor that was awarded. At that tournament he placed first in kata, weapons, demonstration, sparring and also won the coveted “Best Spirited Karate-Ka Award.” At that tournament, there were more than 350 competitors.
Unfortunately, in 1974 Master Hovey suffered a trauma to his knee, causing severe pain and difficulty in performing. But after surgery and rehabilitation, he returned to competition and progressed quickly and efficiently to his present level. In 1975 he again won “Best Spirited Karate-Ka Award” over 200 other competitors at a tournament sponsored by Grand Master Harold Long in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Master Hovey has been inducted into the Pioneer Hall of Fame twice; first in the Masters division in 1997 and second in the Most Distinguished Masters Division in 1999. These nominations were both made by Professor Ed Brown. In 1997, Master Hovey was one of 1,500 competitors at the Okinawa Karate and Kobudo World tournament in Okinawa. He placed sixth in his division.
Master Hovey produced the first Isshinryu Interactive Guide in 1998, which provided computer users with an interactive multimedia tool for their martial arts studies. In 1999, Master Hovey assisted with the production of a book about the martial arts in Puerto Rico.
On July 5, 2002 Grand Master Angi Uezu awarded 8th Dan in Isshinryu Karate to Master Hovey. He also holds the following ranks, 6th dan in American Kempo given by Dr. Ron Cherry, 5th dan in Sakugawa Koshiki Shorinji Ryu Karate by Kyoshi Thomas Cauley and 1st dan in the Bando Association by Dr.Muang Gi.
In July 2009 Master Hovey was inducted into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee. On April 16, 2011, Master Hovey was promoted to the rank of Hanshi Ku-Dan from Hanshi Seifuku Nitta from Okinawa. On July 31, 2011, Grandmaster Harold Mitchum also recognized Hanshi Hovey’s rank by signing his promotion certificate along with Granmaster Phil Little.
Currently, Master Hovey’s dojo are currently with Stafford County Parks and Recreation and at the Quantico Marine Corps Base both in Virginia. The focus on training there is to develop serious students of karate. Master Hovey’s philosophy of karate is from Isshinryu, the one heart method.
Master Hovey also serves as the American President of the IOTKA (Isshinryu Okinawan Traditional Karate Association) and has founded the Hovey-Kan Martial Arts Association.
A special thanks to Sensei Wayne Wayland for writing Master Hovey Biography and presenting us with an album of pictures that illustrates Master Hovey’s Martial Arts career.
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