Isham Latimer

The Modern Day Warriors

In Their Own Words

I am honored as well as humbled to be among the dedicated Martial Arts Masters and Warriors in this the second Edition. I thank all of my Martial Arts Predecessors and my contemporary Martial Artists, for their dedication to the training, instruction, knowledge, and sacrifices that were endured as part of paving the way and staying the course.

I have been vigilant in my continuing study, training, and instructions in the martial arts of Isshin-ryu Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, Arnis, Kobu-Jutsu, and Hsingi- Liu-ho-ba-fa- Chuan Tai-Chi.

Master Latimer began his martial arts training in June, 1972, under Master Robert Salay, who at the time  held the rank of 7thdan in Judo, and 6th dan in Isshin-ryu karate.  Joseph Drual held the rank of 6thdan,  in Isshin-ryu karate and Kodokan jiu-jitsu. He trained diligently in Isshin-ryu karate and earned the rank of sho-dan, on November 4, 1975, under sensei Salay and sensei Drual. He had begun training simultaneously in Kodokan jiu-jitsu under sensei Joseph Drual and was awarded the rank of san-kyu in August 1975, in the Kodokan Jiu-Jitsu system.

In the spring of 1975 Master Latimer had come to the reality that it was time to move on in order to advance his own knowledge and skill level in martial arts and he sought out new exchanges, with other skilled martial artists. He met and trained with several students of his rank level and higher, including then sensei Furman Simmons, who later changed his name to Makakuvu Ali El-Bey. They exchanged knowledge and technique as they forged a great friendship relationship that has survived many sprains and bruises. Master Makakuvu was a student of both the renowned Grandmaster Moses Powell, and Grandmaster Ronald Duncan. At that time, master Latimer was also introduced to two of sensei Makakuvu’s students namely Sensei Cleveland Robinson author of (The Modern Day Warriors in Their Own Words), and Sensei Hamilton Banks. Both Sensei Robinson and sensei Banks also trained with grandmaster Moses Powell, and both are Master’s level Martial Artists today in the Sanuces ryu jiu-jitsu system as well for Shihan Banks as the Kumite ryu jiu-jitsu system under Grandmaster “Little” John Davis. Grandmaster Little John Davis is a high level master under his sensei Doctor Moses Powell.

In the summer of 1976, Master Latimer had grown to love the Isshin-ryu karate system because of it’s street combat orientation in terms of the application of techniques and rapid execution of combinations. He felt that jiu-jitsu was the perfect complement for Isshin-Ryu karate and has continuously worked these arts simultaneous.

Master Latimer began training under Malachi Lee 6thdan at the time of his joining the dojo, in the winter of 1975. Sensei Lee was a very skilled fighter in the New York City tournament circuit. His dojo was located at East 23rdStreet and 3rdAvenue, New York City.  Sensei Lee established himself prominently, in the top fighters with consistency. He did not like to train his students for tournament competition because his belief that the fight on the street will never be controlled in the manner as tournaments.  When Sensei Lee interviewed me we discussed my current rank status (black-belt), and my expectations.  My response to sensei Lee was that I was perfectly willing to begin training as a white-belt because in my mind it was a new beginning for me and I would accept whatever rank he determined I had earned at such time he saw fit. I knew that he and his students had much to offer and I would grow as a person and my martial arts skills and knowledge would advance under sensei Lee’s leadership.

Master Latimer recalls very well the very talented students in the dojo, all of who were very strong tournament competitors, including Maria Melendez (Sense’s #1 student), Jose Diaz, John McDonald, Aston Hugh, and Arthur Samson. It was an exceptional jojo as well as Malachi Lee was an exceptional instructor and martial artist. You had to have it together up in Master Lee’s dojo. Sensei Lee’s untimely death in June, 1976, was a devastating jolt to Master Latimer and all of his dojo brothers and sisters.

Master Latimer was promoted to the rank of San-kyu, in April of 1976, by sesei Malachi Lee. The Malachi dojo remained a force in the martial arts circle in New York City, with sensei Maria Melendez, Jose Diaz, John McDonald, Aston Hugh, and Arthur Samson, and Isham A. Latimer.

Master Lee had connected with Master Walter E. Cooling affectionately called “Toby”, several years preceding his death. He viewed Master Cooling as did many in the Isshin-ryu system, as the foremost knowledgeable practitioner and instructor in the country. It was this connection and friendship that has continued to this day for which Master Latimer acknowledges and credits much of his advancement in the art of Isshin-ryu. Mster Toby Cooling had established the” Order of Isshin-Ryu” karate organization in January, 1971, in Maryland. It is through Grandmaster Cooling’s OI organization that Master Latimer received all of his black belt ranking.

On February 6, 2011, Master Latimer was promoted by Grandmaster “Toby” Cooling, to the rank of 9thdan, during the OI Family shiai, in Chesapeake Maryland.

As he progressed through dan rankings to that of 9thdan; Master Latimer has been acknowledged for his dedication, skills, and loyalty to the martial arts world. He has received the following awards and recognition:

1996- Recipient of the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame most coveted award title “The Spirit of Isshin-Ryu Award. This is perhaps the most coveted award issued by the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame.

1997- Recipient of Grand Master Don Nagle’s (American Okinawan Karate Association, Inc.) Hall of Fame  Award, as Master Instructor.

2000- Sensei of Sensei award by the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame (IHOF), in Tennessee.

2003- Master Latimer was inducted into the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame (IHOF), in Tennessee.

In 2003 Master Latimer spearheaded the development of “chi-ryu jiu-jitsu”. He collaborated with   students/sensei John Costanzo 7thdan, and sensei John McDonald 6thdan. They were undeniably valuable contributors in the development of “Chi-ryu Jiu- Jitsu. This is an eclectic system comprising the skills, philosophy, and principles from the Order of Isshin-ryu Karate, Kodokan Jiu- jitsu, Sanuces-ryu Jiu-Jitsu, Hsing I Liu Ho Ba Fa Chuan (Tai-Chi) and Arnis. It is inevitable that these are the martial arts that Master Latimer has expertise and high level of proficiency in as a result of having trained in all of them.

Ultimately as Master Latimer expresses “a skill or technique is simply physical movement”. The technique is influenced by the formal study of a particular system over time. Regardless of the style however, every skill or technique has one fundamental element at the genesis and that is movement. Therefore, the most efficient method of movement is essential to the effectiveness of any skill/technique. The most efficient and effective manner of movement is as natural as possible which has to do with the level of coordination between Mind Body and Breath, as the movements are performed. There is a deceptive level of force in the skills when these 3 elements are present, in harmony. This seems to be perceived by many as being automatic. However it is perhaps the aspect that is most difficult to learn and harness because to accomplish it one must move slowly, without ego, intent, stopping, starting, or winning and losing ideas. Therefore, Master Latimer has incorporated the training in Liu Ho Ba Fa Chuan (tai-chi), as the basis for all other skill set development in chi-ryu jiu-jitsu. He and his collaborating black belts refer to the set movements as “forms” rather than “kata”, because the term form can  notes greater possibilities within movement (limitless), rather than technique that have clearly defined parameters, including stopping and starting points. Form is intended to devoid the body and mind of tense (muscle constrictions), during all movement. This allows for the improved chi, qi (energy) circulation essential to achieving a higher level of oxygen throughout the circulatory system. It is also a method for achieving better overall health.

My focus for the past 12 years has been that of health related issues among martial artists today. I feel that as martial artists we may overlook the fact that there is more to maintaining good health than how hard we can punch, kick, perform kata, do kumite, and apply joint manipulation techniques, etc…  Much of what we know and can physically perform is the result of our state of health overall including mental, physical, and emotional. We should not neglect things like good nutrition, proper rest, and positive thinking. To this end Master Latimer has been influenced by his good friend Sihan Makakuvu Ali El Bey.

Isham has participated in a number of seminars and demonstrations produced and hosted by Shihan Makakuvu called “Martial rts And The Healing Arts”, on Long Island New York and Brooklyn, New York. These Health, Wellness and Fitness Expo and Seminar have been educational, informative and motivational towards maintaining a healthier life. Particulary considering the disproportionate rate of illnesses such as Diabetes, Prostate cancer, Hypertension, athsma, and other health issues within the Black and Hispanic population: I am more conscious now than ever and subsequently take more action towards maintaining good health.

Maste Latimer is the President of Golden Glow Investigative & Protective Services, LLC, and has brought the company through all of the legal requirements and processes. Operational status as a company began on April 20th, 2001.

 He is a retired member of the law enforcement community after 23 years of service with the New York State Division of Parole. He has received numerous commendations for high professional standards of conduct, sound tactical judgment, and restraint under critical circumstances.

Master Latimer’s certification was acquired through the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Bureau of Municipal Police, and the NYS Division of Licensing Services.  Isham A. Latimer’s certifications are in the following:

  • New York State Department of Homeland Security (Enhanced Security Guard Train the Trainer Program) 40 hours Instructor Certification – Nov. 17, 2006
  • New York State Department of Homeland Security, National Incident Management System (NIMS) IS-700 Certification – Nov. 17, 2006.
  • New York State Department of Homeland Security (ICS-100 Introduction to ICS Certification), Nov. 17, 2006.
  • General Topics Instructor
  • Defensive Tactics Instructor
  • Firearms Instructor
  • General Topics Security Guard Instructor
  • Armed Security Guard Instructor
  • Monadnock Baton Instructor
  • Glock Armorer

 Master Latimer attributes his career achievements much in part to his martial arts training, to his family, and also to the accomplishments and standards set by the Masters and practitioners of the arts who have preceded him and his contemporaries.

Master Latimer continues to strive for martial arts knowledge, human growth and development, and the most important purpose to him, which is his devotion to his family.

“Every Shadow is surrounded by Light” (Master Isham A. Latimer)

“It is difficult to obtain new things, with your hands clinched in fists”

“The difference between winning and losing is in the extent to which it affects the ego for the better or worse, of the persons on either side.” (Master Isham A. Latimer)   

 I am honored to take part.

Respects in all regards.

Thank you for the invitation: Shihan, Cleveland Robinson