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Steve Muhammad (1944) Is an American martial artist, instructor and one of the four founding members of the Black Karate Federation.
Born Steve Sanders in Topeka, Kansas, 1944. Mr. Sanders has since changed his name as an adult to Steve Muhammad. As a youth he participated in school athletics, excelling in Baseball, Football, and Track. He received a Football Scholarship and attended Kansas State University.
Mr. Muhammad joined the United States Marines, serving as a member of the Pathfinders, an airborne paratrooper unit which operates as a small team, dropping into enemy territory to scout and prepare landing zones for large-scale paratroop and helicopter landings. He served a tour of duty in Okinawa, where he trained in Goju-Ryu one of the “hard/soft” styles of Okinawan Karate, employing both hard and soft fighting techniques.
After completion of his tour he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Southern California. During this time he enrolled in Edmund Parker’s West Los Angeles school, earning the rank of Purple Belt before he was sent to Vietnam. When he returned from Vietnam at the completion of his military service, Mr. Muhammad resumed his training in Kenpo , and earned his first black belt under two of Edmund Parker’s black belt instructors, Dan Inosanto and Chuck Sullivan.
Mr. Muhammad began competing in Martial Arts tournaments, winning his first title in 1965 at Azusa Pacific University in southern California. He became a member of the West Coast Karate Team. He went on to win a number of tournaments: International Lightweight Champion, eight titles, California State Champion, four titles, World Professional Champion, three titles, and state titles New York, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.
During his competition years Steve Muhammad earned the reputation for having “the fastest hands in karate".
Towards the end of the 1960’s Steve Muhammad joined with other black martial artists often from different disciplines, training together at places like the West L.A. Karate Institute, Teen Post, Manchester Part, and Manual Arts High School. Many of these martial artists would also meet at Van Ness Park, and this became the foundation to what later developed into the Black Karate Federation. They called themselves The "Magnificent Seven"; Steve Muhammad, Donnie Williams, Curtis Pulliam, Cliff Stewart, Jerry Smith, Ron Chapel, and Karl Armelin.
Steve Muhammad became the unifying factor, helping to bring all these martial artists together. In 1969, this core group formed the Black Karate Federation (BKF) and elected Mr. Muhammad as its first President.
- Chuck Sullivan
Founders of the Black Karate Federation
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