Sunday, 27th July 2008

MSMAS will mourne the loss of Robert Everhart Kyoshi by training in his memory in September...

My first personal practice with Robert was back in 1997 at the '25th Anniversary Camp' of DNBKID, held at Nags Head in North Carolina, where he and others were instructed by Hanshi Hamada to share with me ‘the kindness’, when I was tested in my own disciplines ~ a day I will always remember.


Robert Everhart (58)
Robert Eugene Everhart, 58, a karate teacher and top competitor who trained thousands of Washington area residents in the martial arts, died July 27 at the Rock Creek Manor Nursing Centre in the District. He had brain cancer.

Although he also taught adults, Mr. Everhart had a particular interest in using the Japanese martial arts to help children in the District. To many of his students, he became a role model and father figure.
"His focus was not only martial arts," said Jacqueline Miller Byrd, a family friend. "It was making sure the children were educated. Students had to do their homework before practice."

Along with operating his own Japanese karate school on Capitol Hill for more than 25 years, Mr. Everhart also ran after-school programs and summer camps for children. He held karate classes at several D.C. public schools and at YMCAs and YWCAs in far Northeast Washington.
Mr. Everhart was rated among the top karate competitors on the East Coast.

He also was the first African American to be awarded the rank of 8th degree black belt by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, a martial arts organization founded in 1895 and with headquarters in Japan.
At his own studio, Everhart's Nippon Kenpo Karate Do, he trained more than 3,500 people. His students performed across the Washington area and appeared at the Kennedy Centre in 2001.
He did not believe in watering down the instructions required for students to advance to the high level of black belt. He decried karate instructors who did.

"A student must work with full intention to obtain full effect," he wrote on his Web site. "The martial arts are made for everyone, but everyone is not made for the martial arts. The easy belt exams and the lack of attention that some instructors give their students regarding the basic details are a crying shame."

Mr. Everhart, a Washington native who graduated cum laude from the old Mackin High School, became interested in the martial arts as a youngster through his stepfather.

He received an associate degree in electrical engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, attended engineering school at Howard University and was a project engineer with what became the Federal Aviation Administration before switching to karate full time in 1965.

He trained under John Womble, martial arts coordinator for the D.C. Department of Recreation and the first black American to receive a black belt.

Since 1974, Mr. Everhart had been a student of noted instructor Hanshi Hamada.

Mr. Everhart performed in more than 200 demonstrations across the United States and Japan. He won numerous karate trophies, martial arts championships and titles, including the Kanto Sho (Great Spirit) award.

Mr. Everhart sponsored national karate tournaments in the Washington area, and he co-founded Promoters Plus, a martial arts competitor-ranking system in the mid-Atlantic region. He was a past vice president of the World Organization of Martial Arts Athletes.

Roger was privileged to be in Kyoto in 2002 in order to represent the UK at the ‘2nd World Butoku Sai’ under Hanshi Hamada’s leadership, to see Kyoshi ‘in action’ at that time.

My first personal practice with Robert was over a decade ago in 1997 at the '25th Anniversary Camp' of DNBKID, held at Nags Head in North Carolina, where he and others were instructed by Hanshi Hamada to share with me ‘the kindness’, when I was tested in my own disciplines ~ a day I will always remember. A year later at 1st World Butoku Sai in 1998.

As such, our Dojo will practice in his memory during the month of September, as our mark of respect for a great man.

May he rest in peace.



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