JAY T. WILL
An eigth-degree black belt in the style of Kenpo Karate (he was trained and promoted by Ed Parker), Jay T. Will is one of the most versatile and well-established martial artists in the field today. He has taken top awards as a competitor, teacher and referee. As a former nationally ranked fighter and author, he is seen regularly in both print and broadcast media. It's no exaggeration to say that Jay T. Will is one of the most well-known karate men in America.
Will began his karate training with Ed Parker in Santa Monica, California. The year was 1965. Will found karate a "stimulating, competitive and disciplined sport" - and he wasted no time in leaving his mark on the tournament scene. Will, who was selected as one of the year's "Top Ten Karate Competitors" by Karate Illustrated magazine in 1972-1973, claimed over 50 trophies during a seven year competition career when there were 10 "top" tournaments a year at best. Included are: Ohio State Black Belt Heavyweight Champion (1972), Ohio State Black Belt Grand Champion (1972), East Coast vs West Coast Black Belt Champion (1971), Tournament of Champions Black Belt Champion (1972), Ohio Pennsylvania Karate Championships Grand Champion (1972), Kenpo Karate Black Belt Grand Champion (1973), Pro-Am Black Belt Grand Champion (1972-1973).
Will began officiating in 1976, and was named PKA Referee of the Year in 1982 and 1983. In 1991 Karate International magazine named Jay T. Will "Referee of the Decade". As director of referees for the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) Will has refereed over 6000 rounds of world, US and regional fights televised by ESPN, NBC, CBS, SHOWTIME, CTV and European TV.
Since opening the Jay T. Will Karate Studio in Columbus, Ohio in 1968, Will has taught over 15,000 students, and was named "Karate Instructor of the Year" and was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1976; in 1984 he was inducted in the Inside Kung-Fu Hall of Fame as the "Kenpo Karate Instructor of the Year".
Jay T. Will has also taught law enforcement agencies, sheriff departments, Ohio State University and Wittenberg University basketball teams, as well as professional football and baseball players. Will taught the only accredited karate program through the physical department at Ohio State University.
KARATE HALL OF FAMER JAY T. WILL PASSES AWAY
March 15th, 1995
Most recently recognized as the "Third man in the ring", Jay T. Will died on March 15th in Atlanta, Georgia. An eighth degree black belt in Kenpo, and writer for KARATE INTERNATIONAL, Jay was trained and was promoted by Ed Parker, both veterans of the US Coast Guard. Seen often on TV officiating fights since 1976 Jay T. was named Referee of the year in 1982 and 1983 and in 1991 he as named "Referee of the Decade" by KARATE INTERNATIONAL. "The Martial Arts and Kenpo community lost one of its most well known leaders, who was a great instructor and warm and caring person." said Michael DePasquale, Jr. Publisher and Executive Editor of KARATE INTERNATIONAL.
Since opening his school in Columbus, Ohio in 1968, Will had taught over 20,000 students and was named "Karate Instructor of the Year" and was inducted into The Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1976, and Kenpo Karate Instructor of the Year. Jay has authored 2 books and was working on a third, as well as numerous articles. He had also appeared in many television shows and films. Jay was one of the original "old timers" who knew many in the Kenpo Karate world by trying to keep all the different factions and organizations communicating and working together to improve the Martial Arts, he achieved this by directing the United Kenpo Karate Association (UKKA). The organization will continue under the direction of Dave Harris one of only two 6th degree Black Belts promoted personally by Mr. Will." The UKKA which kept unity through membership, videos of self-defense techniques, and Katas was appreciated by all Martial Artists, will continue to grow and allow his dream to continue." Harris said.
JT is survived by both parents James and Travice Will of Springfield, OH, sister Barbara as well as daughters Kim, Shawn, Shannon, and Erin and grandchildren Mitchell, Megan, and Sarah.