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 to the United States. He began training in Isshin Ryu Karate under Gunnery Sergeant Donald F. Bohan at HQ Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. In 1972 He open first Dojo HQMC Quantico. 1973 he moved to Fredericksburg, VA. He opens another dojo. At that time sport karate was in its heyday and he quickly learned that in order to expose the art of karate one must love it with a passion but still bring himself down to a level everyone understands-competition!
Master Hovey wasted no time in winning every major tournament he entered. His kata is superb, and his sparring (kumite) is enthusiastic. In 1973 at East Cost Armed Forces Karate Tournament in Dover, Delaware, Master Hovey took home every honor awarded. At that tournament he placed first in kata, weapons, demonstration, sparring (kumite) and also won the coveted “Best Spirited Karate-Ka Award.” There were more than 350 competitors at the tournament.
In 1974 Master Hovey suffered a trauma to his knee, causing severe pain and difficulty in performing. After surgery and rehabilitation, he was back competing and progressed quickly and efficiently to his present level. In 1975 he again won “Best Spirited Karate-Ka Award” over 200 other competitors in Knoxville, Tennessee at a tournament sponsored by Grand Master Harold Long.
Master Hovey has been inducted into the Pioneer Hall of Fame twice; first in the Masters division in July of 1997 and second in the Most Distinguished Masters Division in 1999. These nominations were both at the recommendation of Professor Ed Brown. Master Hovey was most recently inducted into the Universal Martial Arts Association Hall of Fame as “Master Instrcutor of the Year” for 2007.
In August 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 provides computer users with an interactive multimedia product to enhance their studies. Master Hovey also assisted with the production of a book about the martial arts in Puerto Rico in February 1999. In 2001 Grand Master Angi Uezu and Master George Iberl inducted him in Okinawa Isshin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Association Hall of Fame.
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
Master Hovey’s dojo is currently with Stafford County Parks and Recreation and 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 is currently studying under Hanshi Uechi in Okinawa.
Master Hovey is a Life Member of the Universal Martial Arts Association and serves as our style representative for Isshin Ryu Karate.