About Us2018-05-01T14:21:02+00:00


Legacy Martial Arts is a school of long standing in Cleveland, TN, and enjoys a direct lineage to noted Okinawan Isshinryu Karate founder Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. Famous Tennessean Martial Arts pioneer Grand Master Harold Long was a student of Grand Master Shimabuku in Okinawa in the 1950s. Two of his successors, Grand Masters J.C. Burris and Scott Shamblin, followed him and began teaching Isshinryu Karate at Cleveland State Community College in 1979. This popular program grew and in 1987, Master Ruth Ann Shamblin, an accomplished teacher and competitor here in the Southeastern United States, joined to lead the program. Then in 1990, the Shamblin’s evolved their efforts and created an affordable, commercial program for the city of Cleveland. This effort was handed off to a top student, Master Tony Caywood, in 2009, and has continued to provide quality, affordable martial arts instruction to the city of Cleveland and its surrounding area ever since. Today it is led by 8th Degree Master/Sensei Charlie Murray, himself one of the last living students of Isshinryu founder Tatsuo Shimabuku, and a 50-year student of 9th Degree Grand Master Tom Lewis. He is joined by a team of very senior and experienced martial arts instructors. Thus it is that Legacy Martial Arts of Cleveland has provided and continues to provide comprehensive and very affordable instruction in Karate, self-defense and Kobudo (ancient Okinawan weaponry) for 39 years as a service to all Cleveland area citizens ages 6 and above.

Legacy Martial Arts of Cleveland is owned by Frank and Kelly Hamilton, who have lived in the Cleveland area most of their lives. They have three children, Conner Mari Cate, and Hayden. When Frank was in college he studied Isshinryu for a couple of years under J.C. Burris and Scott & Ruth Ann Shamblin. He loved the Isshinryu style of karate, therefore when Kelly’s father wanted to give their son, Hayden a karate membership for his 6th birthday, Frank was insistent upon it being Isshinryu, so Caywood School of Karate was their choice.

Their son, Hayden has trained with Tony Caywood since he turned 6 years old. When Mr. Caywood decided it was time to retire, the Hamilton’s had a desire to keep Hayden in karate and to keep Isshinryu alive in the Cleveland area, so they approached Mr. Caywood with the possibility to carry on his business. They were very honored when he entrusted them to carry on the legacy; thus, where the name LEGACY MARTIAL ARTS comes from.

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