Grandmaster Joe Martin
Grandmaster Joe Martin began his studies in Go Shin Do Karate (Goshi Kai) in 1963 from Sensei Bob Alexander. Mr. Alexander, a 1st degree black belt, was a student of Sensei Don Nagel. By 1965 Grandmaster Martin had received his 1st grade brown belt (ie kyu) and began teaching as assistant instructor at one of Sensei Alexander's three schools. Sensei Alexander began classes at Central Pedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC in the mid sixties. Mr. Martin occasionally assisted in these classes. He was unable to test for 1st degree black due to Sensei Alexander's rank of 1st degree black.(see origin)
In 1966 a colleague, John Farris, also 1st grade brown, began studying Li Ka (Lee family) kungfu from a Chinese gentleman, Alfredo Sui (Sui Man Kuen), who was here as a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Mr. Farris, due to his superb talent, soon received his black sash in Li Ka and began teaching Mr. Martin.
In 1967, Grandmaster Martin began accompanying John Farris to Alfredo Sui's school and there met Buddy Springs, who had been a student of Mr. Sui for two years. Mr. Springs was an accomplished practitioner of Li Ka and the three became close friends. Mr. Farris and Mr. Springs joined the armed forces and Grandmaster Martin continued his studies with Alfredo Sui until his training conflicted with his family and music career and forced him to stop in 1969. John Farris had a large impact on Grandmaster Martin's training as his friend and teacher. After returning from the armed service and recognizing the newly acquired knowledge of Master Martin, Mr. Farris became a student of Grandmaster Martin.
Alfredo Sui left the United States in 1970 and his school closed. At this time John Farris was 1st black sash, Buddy Springs was 1st star black sash and Joe Martin was still 1st grade brown. In Li Ka, each star is equal to two degrees. By 1971, Buddy Springs had returned from the Navy and was teaching Li Ka Kungfu, along with Gerald McAbee, at Central Pedmont Community College. It was then that Mr. Martin resumed studying kungfu with Buddy Springs.
Martin was promoted to 1st degree black sash in 1972. Mr. Springs and Mr. Martin opened the Silver Dragon Kungfu Academy at 1959 East Seventh Street in Charlotte, North Carolina in October of 1973.
Mr. Springs became a student of Jerry Peddington, former heavy-weight full contact karate champion in 1975 and has created his own karate style combining some of the kungfu he learned from Master Sui. He moved to Roanoke Virginia at the end of 1975 and left the school to Joe Martin where he continued teaching Li Ka kungfu at 1959 East Seventh Street in Charlotte until 1979, when he was asked to teach at Central Pedmont Community College.
In 1974, Mr. Martin formed a kungfu uniform company, Tiger-Crane Supply Company. Through requests for uniforms, he learned that Jerry Hobbs of Wilmington, North Carolina was teaching Hong Chun kungfu (Sweet Smelling Fist) that he had learned from Sifu Kiang Wah Pan in Idaho while enrolled in college there. After corresponding with him by letter, he soon became a student and later received 2nd degree black sash (Dragon grade). Hobbs joined the armed services and introduced Mr. Martin to George Phipps of Sanford, North Carolina in 1975.
Grandmaster Joe Martin began formulating the principles of Esoma in 1975. The stance form, developed that year, is still used in all schools today. The fundamentals can be found in the Esoma Philosophy Papers. It wasn't until 1985 that Esoma became an established style when The Shaolin Kempo Karate Federation, International (SKKFI) recognized and certified Grandmaster Martin as founder of Esoma Kungfu.
He was the chief instructor at CPCC until moving to Davidson, North Carolina in 1989. That same year his students took over the classes at CPCC and he and student Tim Rogers opened the Silver Dragon Kungfu Academy in Davidson at the Ada Jenkins Center on Gamble Street.
Grandmaster Martin was associated with classes at CPCC through his lineage from Sensei Bob Alexander for 40 years.
Grandmaster Joe Martin's Rank
|Martial Art Style||Instructor||Rank|
|Esoma Kungfu||6th Degree||Black Sash|
|Stover Lau Su Lum Fa Kungfu||Master John Stover||4th Degree Black Sash|
|Chun Li Kungfu||Master George Phipps||4th Degree Black Sash|
|Hong Chun Kungfu||Master Jerry Hobbs||2nd Degree Black Sash|
|Li Ka Kungfu||Master Alfredo Sui||2nd Star Black Sash|
|Goshin Kai Karate||Sensei Bob Alexander||Ie Kyu (1st grade brown)|
Esoma has five working levels of black sash. Fifth degree is master level. . Levels above five are acquired when an instructor at fifth degree has a student who is promoted to fifth degree black sash. The instructor then is automatically promoted to sixth degree black sash and then holds the title of grandmaster. This is sometimes known as the "grandfather method". When the instructor's student (A) has a student (B) to acquire fifth degree black sash, the instructor becomes seventh degree black sash, great-grandmaster, student (A) becomes sixth degree, grandmaster, and student (B) becomes fifth degree black sash, master.
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