Episode 12


Embark on a martial arts odyssey with guest Mr. Tony Thomas, one of South Carolina’s most senior Blackbelts. Discover his journey ignited by Bruce Lee, backyard training, and The Karate Kid’s impact. Dive into martial arts’ evolving dynamics, values, and his teaching experience. A legend’s inspiring tale awaits!

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Excerpt: Getting Started in Karate

Excerpt: Founding His First Karate School

Excerpt: On Bill Wallace

Excerpt: On Ronnie Barkoot

Join us on a journey through the fascinating world of martial arts with our guest, Mr Tony Thomas, one of the two most senior black belts in South Carolina. Listen in as Tony recounts his inspiring journey that began in 1966, sparked by Bruce Lee’s performance in the Green Hornet television program. With no martial arts schools around, he and his friends trained in his backyard and at school with the help of their English teacher, Mr Lucius Fryerson. Mr Thomas’ dedication and passion eventually led him to receive a Blackbelt at South Carolina State University.

Don’t miss our enlightening discussion on the changing dynamics of martial arts practice. Mr Thomas shares how the movie Karate Kid played a significant role in drawing younger people to martial arts, shifting the ratio from 80% adults and 20% children to the opposite. We explore how martial arts can impart respect, discipline, and focus in children, and Mr Thomas’ experience as a former school teacher adds another layer to this discussion. We also touch upon the evolution of safety measures in martial arts and his views on this change.

The conversation continues as he reflects on his martial arts journey and the various sources of inspiration that have fueled his path. He speaks fondly of his martial arts school that he and his wife established, and the remarkable evolution in the age range of practitioners over the years. Wrapping up our chat, Mr Thomas talks about the importance of timing and entrepreneurial spirit in his journey, and his impending induction into the Hall of Fame. Join us in honoring this martial arts legend as he generously shares his remarkable story.