Hanshi Bill Solano was born in 1942 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. He was moved to the United States when he was 5 years old. In 1958 he had his first martial arts experience training in the art of Jujutsu in New York City. In 1969 he began practicing Kung Fu (Wing Chun) in lower Manhattan, N.Y. (China Town). At the end of 1969 Bill moved to Puerto Rico. In 1970 he began practicing a Japanese Karate system (Garyu Rico Do) with Master Gilberto Rodriguez, Soke. In 1972 Bill returned to New York for six months to practice Wing Chun Kung Fu with Sifu Chow Chun in downtown Manhattan. In the same year he decided to move to Daytona Beach, Florida where he started practicing Yoshukai Karate.
At the end of 1975 he return to Puerto Rico. He establish his first Dojo in the garage of his home. He tested and got his Shodan (1st Dan) on July 4, 1977 at the Yoshukai yearly camp in St. Leo College, Tampa Florida. He received his Nidan on July 1978 and Sandan on February 1980. He represented the Yoshukai Karate style until 1981. During those years he promoted a few students to Shodan level. In December 1981 he established his own organization. With the support of Grand Master Peter Urban, better known as the Father of American Karate, and the College of Dans, he was promoted to 4th Degree Black Belt on December 29th, 1981. This promotion took place at Grand Master Urban’s home in New York. On August 23, 1982 he was promoted by GM Urban to 6 Degree Black Belt and founder of his own system and organization known as the Yoshu Ryu Karate-Do.
Bill’s dedication to the traditional Okinawan Martial Arts lead to a desire to learn a traditional Okinawan system. In 1985 he traveled to Okinawa, the birth place of Karate, where he had the honor of meeting and training with Grand Master Fusei Kise of the Kenshinkan Karate system and later with Grand Master Yuichi Kuda of the Matsumura Kenpo Karate and Kobudo style.
On January of 1986, after returning from Okinawa, Japan, he was promoted by Grand Master Urban to the Judan (10th Dan), and founder of the Yoshu Ryu International. Grand Master Urban was living in Puerto Rico during 1985 to 1987. A few martial artists from Puerto Rico were recognize and promoted to 10th Dan during 1986-87. At this time Bill was representing an Okinawan master, and did not use the 10th Dan given by Grand Master Urban at this time.
In June, 1988 Grand Master Fusei Kise visited Puerto Rico and tested and promoted Mr. Solano to the grade of Nanadan (7th Dan) in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate & Kobudo.
In 1992, Mr. Solano was also tested and promoted to 7th Dan (Nanadan), in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo Karate & Kobudo by Grand Master Yuichi Kuda of Okinawa and Hanshi George W. Alexander, who at the time was the USA representative for the Matsumura Kenpo Karate & Kobudo.
In 1994 Bill Solano establish his own organization, the Okinawan Shorin Ryu Kokusai Kempo Karate Do & Kobudo Federation, Inc. an non profit organization dedicated to the preservation and teaching of the Traditional Okinawan Martial Arts (Kenpo Karate & Kobudo). In 1994 Mr. Solano was promoted to 8th Dan by Dr. Bernie Weiss, Hanshi and the American Teachers Association of Martial Arts (ATAMA) and in 1997 he was also promoted to 8th Dan by Hanshi Weiss, and the ISOK organization. Dr. Weiss was the Co-founder and was President of this two organization at that time.
In April, 2000 Mr. Solano was recognized and certify as Hanshi, 10th Dan by the International Matsumura Seito Society and its Supreme Grand Master Tom Hunnicutt, Soke and Supreme Grand Master Dave Shelton, Soke/Kaicho. Hanshi Bill Solano was proud and honored to have the support of and recognition from Grand Master Tom Hunnicutt, Soke and Hanshi Dave Shelton, Soke/Kaicho and the International Matsumura Seito Society in which he was a lifetime Member. On September 2001 Hanshi Solano was recognize by and elected as President of the Latin America Martial Arts Grandmaster & Soke Council, Inc. a non profit organization dedicated to the recognition and unification of all Martial Artist that are Founders and Grandmasters of their own independent system, school or organization.
On September 1st, 2001 Hanshi Solano was accepted and certify as a lifetime member and was also certify as Hanshi 10th Dan by Supreme Grand Master William A. Rankin, Soke and the United State Martial Artist Association. On September 4th, 2001 he was also accepted as a lifetime member by the World Budo Alliance in which he was also certify as Hanshi, 10th Dan by the WBA Grading Board.
As a competitor Mr. Solano distinguished himself during the 80’s winning various awards in Kata, Kobudo and Kumite Championships.
At the present he is better known as an excellent Teacher, Seminarist, Counselor and Tournament Promoter.
Hanshi Bill Solano is the Founder and President of the following organizations:
- Okinawan Shorin Ryu Kokusai Kempo-Karate-Do & Kobudo Federation, Inc.
- Federación Puertorriqueña de Kempo Kenpo (FE.PU.KEN.), Inc.
- Puerto Rico International Martial Arts Sports Committee, Inc. (PRIMASC)
- Puerto Rico International Blackbelt Karate Hall of Fame
- Latin-American Martial Arts Hall of Fame
- International Black Belt Society
- Puerto Rican Kempo-Kenpo Federation (FE.PU.KEN.), Inc. y P.R.I.M.A.S.C.
Hanshi Bill Solano has been Inducted into the following Hall of Fame:
- International Karate Hall of Fame
- Eastern USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame
- The Florida Brotherhood Martial Arts Hall of Fame
- Latin-American Martial Arts Hall of Fame
- Grand Master of the Year – USA Martial Arts Association Hall of Fame