RIP Joe Lewis, father of American kickboxing


Martial arts legend and Pioneer Joe Lewis lost a long fight with brain cancer this morning in Virginia, surrounded by family and friends.

Dubbed the “Muhammad Ali” of sport karate, Joe Lewis won more titles in his 17-year fighting career than any other tournament fighter. Unsatisfied with the level of realism in karate, he went on to become the father of American kickboxing.

Lewis was born on March 7, 1944, in North Carolina. He eventually joined the Marines and was stationed in Okinawa. It was while he was there that 18-year-old Lewis began studying shorin-ryu karate under Eizo Shimabukuro, Seiyu Oyata, Chinsaku Kinjo and John Korab, receiving his black belt in seven months. He later went on to study with Bruce Lee, Sugar Ray Robinson, and other greats.

As a fighter, Lewis amassed other important firsts—first World Professional Karate Championships titleholder, first U.S. heavyweight kickboxing champion, and in 1974, the first Professional Karate Association heavyweight full-contact karate champion.

The Black Belt Hall of Fame inducted Joe Lewis as the 1974 Karate Player of the Year. Yet to Lewis, his greatest accolade was being chosen in 1983 by his peers as the “Greatest Karate Fighter of All Time.”

Funeral plans

Friday, September 7, 2012

Visitation with Family
Times:  7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location:  Funeral Home

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Times:  2:00pm
Location: Funeral Home for Eulogy.
After service, Joe Lewis will receive full military burial at Knightdale Baptist Cemetery.

Times:  7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location:  Hilton North Raleigh Midtown

Joe Lewis Memorial - Updated Information.

Funeral Home
L. Harold Poole Funeral Service and Crematory
944 Old Knight Road
Knightdale, NC 27545

Knightdale Baptist Cemetary
264 Mailman Road
Knightdale, NC 27545

September 7 - September 9, 2012

Raleigh / Durham, NC (RDU)

Hilton North Raleigh Midtown
(919) 872-2323

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Recent Comments »

Khun Kao site profile image  

9/5/12 2:18 PM by Khun Kao

Agreed. I taught at the same seminar as him almost every summer in Radford, and quite frankly I never cared for him. He had a falling out with the organizers of the yearly event and wasn't invited back these last few years. However, when we learned of his illness, everyone pulled together and put differences aside to support him and recognize him for his many contributions to the martial arts and fight community. This last years event was dedicated to raising money for his medical expenses. It was very refreshing to see that despite the differences many had with him, when it boils down to it everyone still saw him as a friend and rallied around him in his time of need.

Toquinho site profile image  

9/2/12 8:20 AM by Toquinho

Kung Lao?

Kirik site profile image  

9/2/12 8:19 AM by Kirik

  Is that the one where the promoter took off after promising 44 grand to the winner? If so, that is one of the first times I heard about him I think.  

gluebasedroyalty site profile image  

9/2/12 6:34 AM by gluebasedroyalty

this needs more coverage guy was a fucking icon seriously

My gi is my sword site profile image  

9/2/12 6:09 AM by My gi is my sword


gluebasedroyalty site profile image  

9/2/12 6:03 AM by gluebasedroyalty

was a good man rip

Kurganvt site profile image  

9/2/12 5:40 AM by Kurganvt

RIP, we lost a true legend, great fighter & pionner...

Wasamic site profile image  

9/2/12 12:38 AM by Wasamic

I knew him too. Not the nicest guy

BigJohn71 site profile image  

9/2/12 12:34 AM by BigJohn71

I believe he got his first black belt in 7 months

Seekntruth site profile image  

9/1/12 9:33 PM by Seekntruth

He was definitely a pioneer...I attended one of his seminars in '90 or '91 in Carolina Beach, NC.... I was 15 or so and was training in American Karate...the entire seminar was basically about this weird technique called a "leg kick". I spent an entire day getting blasted in my quad by grown men(I was the only kid at the seminar). At the time, I thought, What the fack did I pay for this bullshit for? I wanted to drill high kicks damn-it! I was sore and confused but still left with a smile on my face cause I got to meet one of my heroes. I grew up idolizing guys like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace and the like from mags like Black Belt. Mr Lewis was definitely ahead of his time and on that note... I think I'll cue up Season 1, episode 7 of my favorite show ever(THE Fall GuY) and watch Joe's cameo.RIP Joe Lewisp.s. Every time my 13 year old see's the pic of Joe and I that I got that day, He laughs and makes fun of our matching Mullets. 80's style biatches!!!!