George E. Anderson was born in Akron, Ohio in 25 November 1931. His father, William E. Anderson was a respected teacher who had taught in Egypt. His mother was Winifred Pape of Utica, New York, a noted musician. As a youth, Anderson won honors as a student of violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music and later in 1950 was a scholarship student at the University of Wichita in Kansas. He also studied Accounting and Spanish at the University of Akron, where he has been teaching since the late 1960’s.
Swimming competitively in high school, he was one of the first Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructors in the United States. In 1956, he attended machine accounting school in Chicago and was admitted to the National Association of Cost Accountants in 1957. While studying Spanish at the University of Akron he helped found the Club Hispano – Americano, serving as the Charter Secretary. Enjoying racing, he was a founder of the Akron Go-Cart Club, the BMW Motorcycle Club, and a consistent winner in drag racing competition. His company also sponsored several racing cars.
Anderson started martial arts training in 1950, beginning with elementary Ju-Jutsu, and progressing to Karate, roughly Shotokan Ryu Karate-Do, Ju-Do, Kung-Fu and Tae Soo-Do, as the Korean art was then called. After many years of study, he earned his black belt in the early sixties under Il Joo Kim, a student of Grandmaster Pyung Soo Kim and Grandmaster Chull Hee Park, the founder of the Kang Duk Won Korean Kwon-Bop Association. Chull Hee Park was a student of Byung In Yun, who is listed as Shihan of Kanken Toyama’s Shudokan in Toyama’s book Karate-Do Tai Hokan. Park is the founding master of much of what is now Tae Kwon-Do. Anderson became the General Secretary of Kim’s newly formed Tae Kwon-Do Association of Ohio.
In the late sixties, Il Joo Kim changed affiliations to coordinate with his friend and newly arrived brother, Tong Chu Choi, who was affiliated with the Song Mu Kwan (Korean Shotokan Ryu), whose founder, Byung Jick Ro, was a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Ryu. Anderson felt obliged to follow.
During the 1960’s and early 70’s, Anderson was extremely active in Karate-Do, sparring hours every day, teaching, and gaining a reputation as a good hard-nosed practitioner. As he was nearly forty when competition really became popular, and as he was in demand as a referee, he turned his attention that direction. Most of his involvement at that time was with the East Coast Korean group, and he had a close association with Ki Whang Kim, Richard Chun, Henry Cho, Kang Rhee, Soo Jin Kim, Jhoon Rhee, Mon Soo Park, and Chong Lee to name a few.
Receiving his third Dan from Grandmaster Ro, Anderson founded the Central Tae Kwon-Do Association with Larry Lunn, Bob Chaney, Dan Willis. Because Anderson was the senior of the group, he was elected Chairman. This organization grew rapidly to one of the largest in the USA at that time and became interested in national affairs. Upon returning from Japan, Anderson was appointed to many important posts, which became finalized with his being certified as a World Union of Karate-Do (WUKO) official at the World Championship in Long Beach, CA. From this position and as the head of very large American association, Anderson helped sponsor the separation of AAU Tae Kwon-Do and AAU. Remaining in both sections, he was appointed Public Relations Co-Chairman of the AAU Tae Kwon-Do and also Executive Board Administrator for AAU Racquetball. Active in the AAU Tae Kwon-Do (the pre-curser of the US Tae Kwon-Do Union) he was the leader of the successful AAU team that won the team championship at the National AAU Tae Kwon-Do Championship in Berkeley California in the 1970’s where he earned a Pan-American Tae Kwon-Do Officials Certification.
Tae Kwon-Do being well seated in Korean hands, his interest soon turned to Karate where he became the AAU Karate International Representative, as an International Judge and was elected the Secretary General of the Pan American Union of Karate-Do Organizations (PUKO) at the WUKO World Karate Championship in Madrid, Spain. Returning to the USA, Anderson was elected the President of the AAU Karate. Shortly thereafter was elected the President of the powerful WUKO Referee Council (which served as the organizing committee and the technical committee) at the WUKO World Championship in Taiwan.
Anderson also authored the Constitution of the PUKO in Spanish and was soon elected the President of that Union in at a Technical Congress in Venezuela.
He now held the positions of President of the WUKO Referee Council, The President of the PUKO Referee Council, The President of the PUKO, and the President of the National AAU Karate Committee. He was soon to be elected as the First Vice President of the WUKO. He now assumed the responsibilities of Director for the WUKO Medical Commission.
Succeeding in leading the charge to get Karate recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), he was elected to represent all the non-Olympic sports to the board of the USOC and served four years in that position.
While all this progressed, his study continued. He joined the United States Karate Association (USKA) under Grandmaster Robert Trias and was appointed style-head for the Korean division, International systems and International Director for the USKA Police Liaison Division. Under the USKA Police Liaison Division he directed the greatest National Police Training seminar seen in this country to date. He earned degrees in Ju-Do and Ju-Jutsu and other styles of Karate-Do. The last major seminar by the famous Ju-Do master Sadaki Nakabyashi was at held at Anderson’s Dojo. At the time of Grandmaster Trias’ death, Anderson was the senior Dan in the USKA and was a member of the prestigious Trias International Society. He became a fast friend of Grandmaster Phillip Koeppel who has continued to be his Kobu-Do mentor.
As an organizer, Hanshi Anderson is peerless. He was the Technical Director at the First WUKO World Cup in Budapest, Hungary, where he directed the initial unification event of the WUKO and the International Amateur Karate Federation (IAKF), and the First WUKO Collegiate Karate Championships in Kobe, Japan. The First WUKO Technical Congress was held in Akron, Ohio and was chaired by the Grandmaster Anderson.
He engineered the successful drive to have Karate entered into the Pan American Games as a medal sport, served a quadrennium as a Director of the USOC representing all the Affiliated Sports Organizations. Having reached the Pan-American Games, Professor Anderson presided over this historic Karate event, receiving universal acclaim for achieving the impossible.
Emerson said “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” However, for Anderson there are other accolades. He was recognized as 9th Dan Hanshi in Seibukan, Kyoto, Japan by Grandmaster Masafumi Suzuki, 10th Dan, Principle of the All Japan Bu-Do Federation, the Zenkoren. When Grandmaster Suzuki died, Hanshi Anderson was requested to and gave the eulogy at his funeral in Kyoto, Japan. Grandmaster Suzuki directed Anderson to accept the 10th Dan upon his death. At the funeral, the seniors of the Seibukan were asked to support Grandmaster Anderson.
Hanshi Anderson was also recognized by the master of Grandmaster In Sun So as a 9th Dan in the Ki-Do Federation and Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee of the Korean Chung Mu Kwan, which he held a 9th Dan.
Hanshi Anderson claims Sa Woon Dang Chull Hee Park of the Kang Duk Won as his direct teacher and still received regular lessons from him until his death. Hanshi Anderson was first awarded the title Nosa then later Keu Woon Dang by Sa Woon Dang Park starting in the early to middle 2000’s recognizing his special relationship Keu Woon Dang Anderson had with his students and teacher.
Hanshi Anderson is an unusual man. Besides holding high Dans in many martial arts, he is an accomplished violinist, an inspired artist, and an entrancing speaker. He has been called the re-naissance man of the martial arts and in constant demand as a lecturer and teacher. His views on the arts and their relationship to the values inherent in martial arts education are leading the way towards the 21st century.
He and his wife Joan have been married nearly 50 years and have two sons, three daughters and nine grandchildren, and one great grand-child.
Anderson lived in Akron, Ohio most of his life. Hanshi George E. Anderson passed away on Thursday, August 6, 2009 at age 77 following complications from surgery.
Most of the information contained in this biography was obtained from the Kwan Mu Kan manual written by Hanshi George Anderson.