Hanshi Carl Martin commenced training in Isshinryu Karate in 1968 under the teachings of Sensei Willie Adams in Highland Park, Michigan. After attending Eastern Michigan University, Master Martin was promoted to Sho Dan (1st Degree Black Belt) by Master Willie Adams November 1978 in Detroit, Michigan and was promoted to the rank of Ku Dan (9th Degree Black Belt) in June 2017 from Grand Master Willie Adams. Master Martin has received all his kyu and black belt ranks directly from Grand Master Willie Adams.
He has also trained with notable martial artists such as Grand Master Angi Uezu, the late Grand Master Steve Armstrong, Grand Master Toby Cooling, the late Grand Master Donald Bohan, Master George Iberl, the late Master Sherman Harrill and Master Joe Lewis. In 1999 and 2002 he traveled to Okinawa and trained with Grand Master Angi Uezu and Master Tsuyoshi Uechi.
Master Martin is a member of the Karate International Association of Isshinryu (KIAI), serves as a Board of Director and Secretary for the Isshinryu Hall of Fame (IHOF), member of the Okinawa Isshinryu Karate Kobudo Association (OIKKA), a member of the United Martial Arts Referees Association (U.M.A.R.A) and the Tiger Family IAIDO Association. He previously served as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Director for The Weapons Connection Society, a member of the Junior Board of Directors for the American Okinawan Karate Association (AOKA) and the AOKA Awards Committee
Many awards and recognitions have been bestowed to Master Martin. He was presented the Master of Excellence Award by the Karate International Association of Isshinryu (KIAI) in July of 2007, inducted into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame (IHOF) and was selected "Sensei of Sensei" by the Isshinryu Hall of Fame in August 2003, inducted in the Okinawa Isshin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Association (IOKKA) Hall of Fame in 2000 and inducted into the Pennsylvania Karate Hall of Fame in October 1998. In addition, he is the recipient of the American Okinawan Karate Association (AOKA) "Spirit of Isshinryu" award (1997) and recognized by the AOKA as "Instructor of the Year"(1994) and hosted the 1999 25th Annual AOKA Isshinryu World Karate Championship. In 2011 he hosted the Grand Nationals for the Karate Internattioal Associtation of Isshinryu (KIAI).
Master Martin relocated to the Philadelphia area in 1981 and; in 1983, established the Traditional Okinawan Karate Institute, Inc. (TOKI) in Norristown, Pennsylvania relocating the school to West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1990 where it currently resides. A satellite location was established at the Delco Training Gym in Woodlyn, Pennsylvania in 1994. Since that time, four additional locations have been established under the TOKI umbrella.
Master Martin has expanded Isshin-Ryu Karate by teaching a “Streetwise Self-Defense” Course, which is a fully accredited college elective at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania where he teaches the “5 ‘A’s’ of Self-Defense”—Awareness, Avoidance, Attitude, Application, and Alcoholism.
He has dedicated many charitable hours of instructing martial arts classes to non-profit organizations such as the Chester County Family Academy, a Pennsylvania Charter School, where he instructs Kindergarten through 2nd grade children as a part of a self-esteem program to assist in helping the students become accountable for themselves, the Police Athletic League of West Chester, PA, and the Chester County Salvation Army. He has conducted “Women’s Street Self-Defense” seminars in satellite locations including West Chester University, Widener University, Garnett Valley High School and the Jennersville YMCA.
Master Martin’s dedication to the martial arts has personally awarded him with several tournament Grand Championships in Kumite, Kata and Weapons from Florida to Connecticut and as far west as California. He coached the 1989 Delaware Classics Youth Division Team Kata Champions, the 1998, 1999 & 2000 AOKA Kumite Grand Champion, the 2000 IHOF Kumite Grand Champion, the 2000 & 2001 OIKKA Hall of Fame Kumite Grand Champion and a Silver Medal Winner in the black belt heavy weight kumite division in the 2001 Traditional Okinawan Rengokai Karate-do/Kobudo World Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.
Master Martin and his wife, Peggy, are the parents to three children; Salim Martin (Yon Dan-4th Degree Black Belt), Bobby Young (Yon Dan-4th Degree Black Belt) and Michelle Young; and two grandchildren.
He is Vice Chairman of the Deacon Board of his church and is studying for his bachelor’s degree in Theological Studies. His motto’s are “Working with today’s youth to make stronger adults for tomorrow” – “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.”