Thomas “Lapuppet” Carroll was a pioneering African-American martial artist and a member of both the USA Karate Hall of Fame and the Black Belt Hall of Fame. He was a member of the US Ju-Jitsu Federation, but he focused his training on Shotokan karate.
Thomas was born on February 7, 1938 in South Carolina. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Franklin K. Lane High School and went on to attend the State University of New York in Westbury, but choose not to graduate due to his belief that “the university of the street” provided a more dynamic education.
Thomas Carrol worked as a firefighter for the FDNY and was also in the United States Marine Corps achieving the rank of First Sergeant.
Thomas was a former jiujitsu practitioner before he began the study of karate under George Cofield. He was a member of the USA Karate Hall of Fame, chairman of USA Karate New York as Treasurer, and held positions as head coach. Thomas Carroll was also key in getting karate recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
Thomas “Lapuppet” Carroll was a pioneering American martial artist, who was also a well known tournament competitor, defeating many famous martial artists including Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.
Thomas was featured in various magazines including Black Belt Magazine and Official Karate Magazine.
Thomas worked with numerous individuals in the entertainment industry training actors such a Gregory Hines and Ralph Macchio of The Karate Kid (1984) fame. He also had roles in The Super Weapon (1976), starring Ron van Clief, and Angel With a Kick. He is also featured training youth in the documentary The Warrior Within (1976).
Thomas “Lapuppet” Carroll is considered to be a contemporary of the Chuck Norris and Joe Lewis and was an 8th degree Black Belt. He was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1969.
Thomas “Lapuppet” Carroll died from cancer in March of 1999.