Master Kelly Markham Ku-dan (9th degree black belt) began training in Nashville, TN in 1971 with Master Denny Shaffer, Jim McDonald, and Phil McElroy. Master Markham returned home to Rogersville, TN, and continued training with Isshin-ryu Black Belts Devoid Wright and Ron Honeycutt until he received his own Black Belt.
A skilled and talented tournament competitor for over 25 years, Master Markham has won numerous events including the I.I.K.A. Lightweight Championship in 1975, the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame Championship at age 40, the Battle of Atlanta, and the Battle of Nashville just to mention a few. He was rated one of the Top Ten Fighters in the country by Karate Illustrated Magazine for over 10 years.
Master Markham has been the Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame’s Male Karate-Ka of the year twice and was inducted in the prestigious Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 1973 Master Markham founded his own Isshin-ryu karate school, the now legendary Kelly’s Heroes in his hometown of Rogersville. Kelly’s Heroes is the proud home of some of Isshin-ryu’s most accomplished and skilled kumite fighters. Master Markham hosts the yearly Kelly’s Heroes Tournament which has been a favorite of karate competitors since it began in 1983. Kelly’s Heroes is located at 200 East Main Street in downtown Rogersville, Tennessee, and you can call (423) 272-0752 for information about classes.
Master Markham currently lives in Rogersville, where he has made his home with is wife Linda and his five children, Kim, Kelly Jr., Teddy, Kurt, and Kent. While raising his five children along with his wife, he returned to college and received his Bachelor’s degree in 1998, from Tusculum College with a B.S. in Organizational Management, an Associate Degree in 1988 from Walters State Community College in Industrial Engineering. Master Markham also has an Associate Degree in Tool and Die from Nashville Technology Center in 1975, and is a 1973 Graduate of the Morristown Technology Center. Master Markham remains devoted to God, his family, his students, and to Isshin-Ryu Karate.