Ed Daniels: Shorin Ryu

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Ed Daniels was called the “King Kong of Karate,” by Black Belt Magazine. He stood 6’6″ and weighted 275 pounds, one of the largest (and oldest) competitors on the tournament circuit during the 1960s and ’70s. Ed began his successful career in the tournament circuit when he won the white belt division at the 1964 United States Karate Championships in Dallas, Texas. Because of his size and his toughness, “Big Ed” was placed in the Brown Belt division almost from the day he began competing. A year later he was still wearing a White Belt when he won the Brown Belt division at the U.S.

As a Black Belt, Ed Daniels bested many of the top competitors of the day. All fighters during this period gave Daniels a healthy dose of respect for his abilities in the ring, however Ed Daniels was also respected for his teaching skills. Many of his students became champions in their own right, including Harry Leggett and Tim Vought, just to name a couple.

Born in Waco, Texas Ed Daniels moved to Dallas at a young age and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1951. He entered the U.S. Army and served in the military police at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Later he was assigned to a maximum-security military prison in Arizona. Returning to civilian life, Ed Daniels worked as a Special Police Officer for the Dallas Police Department serving for 16 years. During his late teens and early twenties, Ed Daniels trained as a professional wrestler, a very tough life back then. He was also a weight lifter working out at “Doug’s Gym,” the famed old boxing club in downtown Dallas, and this strength training served him well. It was there that “Big Ed” met Johnny Nash in 1964. Johnny was perhaps the first karate instructor in Dallas, Texas. While serving in the navy in Okinawa Johnny Nash had earned his Black Belt in Shorin Ryu Karate from Eizo Shimabuku, Sensei, who was himself designated as head of that system by its founder Chotoku Kyan. Ed Daniels eventually became head instructor for Johnny Nash and operated his own Dallas School of Karate downtown until its closing in the late 1970s. Allen Steen’s students would often train with Daniels at his tiny dojo.

Ed Daniels has served as a bouncer, body-guard to the rich and famous, and has trained many martial arts champions. Truly one of the people responsible for the evolution of karate in Texas, Mr. Daniels holds the rank of 10th degree Black Belt and is a member of the Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

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