Martial Arts Biography of Charles L. Plaines, Sr.

Previous Affiliations:

  • Kodokan International
  • Japan Karate Association
  • Japan Karate Association Intl.
  • Armed Forces Judo Association
  • AAU of the United States
  • Judo Black Belt Federation

Present Affiliations:

  • Midwest Japan Ways
  • USA Karate Federation
  • US Karate-do Kai
  • USA Federation of Pankration Athlima
  • US Ju-Jitsu Federation
  • International Shudokan

I began training in the martial arts March 1955 in Brooklyn, NY at the age of 11 years old. I boxed for the New York City, Police Athletic League for more than three years and had a record of 37 and 2 (lost the first two).

1955 Under Instructor Trainer, Keith Perry, US Army Airborne, I studied a form of hand and foot fighting (Karate) now known as Kyo Shinkai and the studies continued until the summer of 1958.
1958 I was sponsored to study further in Japan at the Kodokan, in Tokyo. There I studied on a daily basis Judo and Shotokan Karate under many noted instructors such as Kudo, Nakamura, Nishiyama, Kotani, etc.
1960 I was tested and promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt in Judo and shortly there after I tested and was promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt in Karate-do.
1961 I joined the US Air Force, completed Basic Training and was eventually assigned to return to the Kodokan to participate in a special instructor training program. The mornings were broken down into four parts; Judo, Shotokan Karate, Tomiki Aikido and Tai-Jutsu. Many of the instructors mentioned above were still there, some had left. During the last nine months of training Tai-Jutsu was replaced by Taiho-Jutsu. The afternoons were primarily academic: Teaching Methods, and Sports Medicine. Before leaving I tested and was upgraded to 1st Degree Black Belt in Aikido.
1962 About 18 months later I returned to the states (Waco, TX), and was sent (TDY) to the USAF Judo/Combative Measures Instructor training school at Stead AFB in Reno, NV. This program was fashioned after the training in Japan. There I completed the required program and trained with what was then the nation’s best (Roby Reed, William Wick, Gene Villa and others) who had been to Japan before me. Olympians Sgt. George Harris and Ben Campbell had followed the same path. I returned to James Connally AFB in Waco, TX, set up a program and trained student officers (Navigator Trainees) in Combative Measures (Tai-Jutsu) and also taught, off duty, Taiho-Jutsu to the Air Police and Judo classes two nights a week. Capt. Charles Walden already had a Shotokan karate class going on the base so I trained with him as time permitted and Shihan Nishiyama would visit to give a seminar and a testing. Late that year I was upgraded to 2nd Degree Black Belt in Karate-do.

I was sent to Wheelus AFB in Libya. There I was joined by my good friend William Wick, Judoka extraordinaire, a past instructor of mine and a training partner at Stead AFB, Reno, NV. While in Libya Wick enhanced my Judo and I enhanced his Karate. We both worked in special services; however, we were also loaned to the Air Police for training per their request, on and off duty. We were also retained by the Libyan and Italian Police to train their officers. In addition to the above we were used to foster good relations between the Libyan and American governments by giving periodic Martial Arts Demonstrations for the Sheiks and tribal Chiefs. During the 18 months we stayed in North Africa I was requested and made numerous trips to Athena AFB in Athens, Greece to train special units.


Both William Wick and I were sent to Shepard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX. My orders required me to attend a Tech School and Wick stayed there as a permanent party assignment. Still we managed to train in Martial Arts together and assist/participate in the Area/Base Judo and Karate Tournaments. At the completion of tech school I was transferred to Carswell AFB, Ft. Worth TX. While at Carswell, in addition to my regular duties I started and instructed Judo and Karate classes on the base as well as gave special instruction to the Air Police Sq. I also became the Senior Karate Instructor for the Ft. Worth Division of General Dynamics Corporation, per the request of Mr. Pete Ludwick, Activity Director.

1965 Sent (TDY) to Anderson AFB Guam. There I participated in a 100 hour special training program on Aikido and Taiho-Jutsu sponsored by the US Air Force. The Master instructor was K. Uyeshiba (Aikido). Other noted Judo instructors were there also. At the program’s end I was awarded a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Aikido and a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Judo by Kodokan Representatives. I was also recognized as a certified senior Taiho-Jutsu instructor.

Sent (TDY) to Kadena AFB, Okinawa where in addition to my other duties I trained Multi-Forced Military Police Depts. before being returned to Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth, TX.

1966 Returned to Carswell AFB. The Judo and Karate classes that I started in 1964 were still going and I rejoined the classes as the Head instructor of each. I attended a Karate camp in Hawthorn CA that year, was tested and to my surprise obtained Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Karate-do from visiting JKA instructors. I then returned to Ft. Worth TX.

I founded Midwest Japan Ways, an association of combative art systems, and traveled internationally to compete and to give special training to special groups.

1968 Received 4th degree black belt Judo (AFJA).
1969 Taught Karate in Brooklyn, NY where it all began.

Started a Judo and Karate club at the YMCA Hotel, Chicago, IL. The club lasted until the building closed in 1977.

1974 Started Judo & Karate clubs at the Southside YMCA in Waukegan IL.
1976 Taught Police Combatives (Taiho-Jutsu) two years at the United States School of Law Enforcement Chicago, IL.
1977 Received 5th Dan from Japan Karate Assoc., International
1978 Taught Karate classes at the Waukegan Park District eight years.
Taught Police Combatives four years at the Illinois Law Enforcement Academy, Chicago, IL.
1986 Taught self defense classes at the College of Lake County for two years.
1987 Opened the Far Eastern Arts dojo in Waukegan IL. Classes are offered in Judo, Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Taiho & Tai-Jutsu, Tai Chi and Qigong.
1993 Recognized as a Master Tai-Jutsu and Taiho-Jutsu instructor, 6th Dan (MAFI)
1994 Awarded a 6th Dan by the Black Belt Karate Association and the US Karate-do Kai.
1999 Became a member of the US Ju-Jitsu Hall of Fame
1999 Issued a 6th Dan Karate-do Certificate by the USA Karate Federation.
1999 Became a member of the USA Federation of Pankration Athlima Hall of Fame.
I competed and taught martial arts for all practical purposes around the world and I have coached three USAF Karate teams and two USAF Judo teams internationally all with notable results.

Editor’s Note: This biography was written by Master Plaines some time around the year 2000. It does not reference awards and accomplishments attained since 1999.

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