Tim Kirby is without a doubt the greatest kata/forms champion in Texas Karate history and that is a record that is going to be very hard to beat because of the huge amount of competition in the kata or form division at any karate tournament.
The biggest division at any martial arts tournament is the Kata or Forms division and no one has ever dominated the kata/forms division in Texas history like Tim Kirby did in the 80’s and 90’s. Master Kirby grew up as a Black Belt and was one of the youngest Black Belts ever promoted under Allen Steen and Dennis and Ronnie Cox and Raymond McCallum. Some of the best fighters and teachers in Texas were trained by Tim and include Guy Mezger, Steve Sosa, Freddie Poole and Marian Kirby. Tim’s influence on Texas Karate and more importantly tournament Kata can not be over stated. He changed the way kata was done in Texas and had a significant influence on Kata in America.
We trained Tim was back in the 1980’s at Barry Guimbellot’s and Walt Mason’s TKI school and also with him and Royce Young at Texas Instruments, in the oldest continually running karate class in America. He was an incredible student, sucking up all you knowledge and then improving on it to make it his own. He was a great fighter, but his fighting did not compare to his kata. No one ever did traditional forms as powerfully, and precise and and technical as Tim Kirby.
He won 100’s of tournaments as the grand champion in kata and won the about as many as a point fighter too. To see Tim do a kata was like watching a great dancer or acrobat. His focus and determination was so immense that you could not even talk to him before he was ready to do his kata or fight. He simply would not acknowledge you and if he did it was just with a head nod, and then would immediately back into focus to prepare for the kata or the match. It was his mental determination and focus that made him so great and he taught that to his students.
We remember when one of his most famous students the Great Guy Mezger was getting ready to fight at a big tournament in Dallas, and we went up to him to say hi. He didn’t even look at us or acknowledge us and just keep his eyes on the ring and the fighters whom would be his next victim. After he crushed the entire black belt division, then Master Mezger actually came over to me and said he was sorry he could not speak to me before, he was getting ready to fight and was in a zone. He learned that focus from Tim Kirby and used it to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest full contact and MMA fighters in the World. Tim was able to impart his focus and determination to all of his students. You will never see a Tim Kirby student playing around and not be focused for a fight or a kata competition.
Here are some of his amazing statistics.
United States Championship 7-times
6-time Texas State Champion
15 consecutive Double Black Belt Grand Championships
International and National Kickboxing Champion
Captain of the Semi-Contact World Champion Team
First recipient of the Golden Greek Award for Best All-Around Black Belt in Texas
1985 AOK Instructor of the Year
Inducted into the Texas Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2000
Produced 58 Black Belt students, many of whom are state, national and world champions.
The Kata division has changed significantly since Tim was the Kata King. It now is more like an acrobatic competition and if you can’t do back flips, double spinning jumping turn flips, you just won’t get the attention and win. This is not traditional Kata and this is what Master Kirby teaches or did when he dominated the Katas scene for 20 years in Texas. We don’t want to sound old but we think the good old days of traditional Kata were better and the students better. You can’t teach everyone to do double jumping spins front flips, but you can teach everyone to do traditional Kata and no one is a better Kata teacher than Tim Kirby.
If you want to learn Tim’s Kata techniques, you can go to his website and get a copy of his great Kata DVD