Three inducted into martial arts hall of fame
Published 11:26 pm Friday, July 12, 2013
Long-time Suffolk karate instructor Kyoshi Jeff Bateman recently received a new induction into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame along with two of his students-turned-instructors, Brandon Kolipano and Nathan Luckado.
The June ceremony took place in Tannersville, Pa. and involved about 100 inductees from around the world.
Bateman had previously been inducted as Black Belt Instructor of the Year, but this time he received the honor as a result of his faithful instruction in the martial arts for over 30 years, many of which were in Suffolk. He was inducted as a recipient of the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award of Honor.
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Bateman, who holds eighth and seventh degree black belts in separate disciplines, said it was a great honor to be recognized for what he has done for the art, but that was not the greatest honor.
“I think the greater honor was for me to be inducted along with two of my black (belt students),” he said.
All inductees needed to have someone submit them as a candidate to a board that, in turn, does a review of the candidates’ character and confirms their credentials. Bateman was not sure who submitted his name, but he was the one to do it for Kolipano and Luckado, both of whom have studied under Bateman for over a decade.
Jeff Bateman’s Isshinkan Academy of Martial Arts has been located in Hampton and currently operates at the Fort Monroe Community Center. The school’s location has consistently required traveling for both Kolipano, who lives in Virginia Beach, and Luckado, who lives in Whaleyville.
“They’re very dedicated, they’re very loyal boys, so that’s why I sent in a letter of application for them to be nominated,” Bateman said.
Kolipano has a second degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu after 16 years with Bateman.
“Knowing that I was nominated by him meant that I believe he understands and respects my dedication, not only to him and to his school, but the system and the martial arts overall,” Kolipano said.
Luckado also has a second degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu and a first degree black belt in Okinawan Kobudo. He shared what it was like having Bateman submit his name for induction.
“I consider him family,” Luckado said. “It’s almost like having my dad put it in, pretty close similarity there. It was pretty cool.”
Bateman had an extra reason for hoping Luckado would be inducted. He know that Luckado, having been home schooled, had never received a class ring, but that the Hall was awarding inductees with something aside from a plaque.
“Instead of having a class ring, he has a Hall of Fame ring,” Bateman said.
Describing what the induction meant to him, Kolipano said that it “is just another step in the right direction for the continuation of the studies of the martial arts.”
Bateman has no plans to stop teaching, even though enrollment is low due to the economy and operating the academy is costing him money rather than making it.
While some martial artists train and drop out, Bateman said he has been a consistent presence since 1979 because he enjoys helping his students, particularly children, grow in the art and as people.
Though he has always lived in Hampton, he estimated that he has taught thousands of students in Suffolk, where he commuted to for 25 years, several times each week.