About Edward Boot ~ II Dan Black Belt Shotokan, 5th Kyu Battōjutsu

 

My History

Hello and thank you for visiting my website. My name is Edward Boot. I am a second degree black belt in Shotokan karate and I also hold my first belt (rank 5th Kyu) in Battōjutsu. I started karate when I was just a kid in October of 2000. Why did I start karate? Well as a kid, part of it was pop culture. To this day, I am a huge fan of fighting movies and video games, particularly of the Mortal Kombat franchise. Besides that, I wanted to join a sport and a few of my friends were in karate and they liked going. I decided to give it a try and I loved it.

I was once the kid in the back of the class like everyone else. But I worked hard and I wanted to prove myself. I started to compete in many tournaments and to this date I have competed in over one hundred tournaments. Before I knew it, I had a room filled with over three hundred trophies. I joined and was one of the first members of the Kumite International competition team in 2002. I competed all over the northeast including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and parts of Canada. To this day I occasionally still attend local tournaments to perform kata and weapons routines.

Accomplishments

  • Multiple USAKF Medals across many years of competition
  • Pennsylvania State Champion (2002-2004) in weapons, karate, and sparing divisions
  • Multiple grand champion awards from major regional tournaments
  • Kumite Classic Scholastic Scholarships awarded in 2002 and 2003
  • 1st degree black belt earned June 13, 2008
  • 2nd degree black belt earned December 27, 2018

Training

I started Shotokan karate in October of 2000. I received my first degree black belt on June 13, 2008. For all of my life in martial arts, I have trained at Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania under Shihan William Viola II. Shihan William Viola is master of Shotokan karate and a USA Karate Federation Hall of Fame Inductee, and I was honored to be one of only a few students who were able to witness that event. He is also one of the founding fathers of the modern Mixed Martial Arts scene and has earned the nickname of “godfather of MMA”. Shihan Viola is among the greatest Shotokan masters I continue to train with on a weekly basis. He continues to teach black belt class every Monday night to this day. Each class is a very traditional Shotokan experience.

At Allegheny Shotokan, I have also had the great privilege training under Sensei William “Billy” Viola III, son of William Viola II. Sensei Billy is the  expert in kumite, and a passionate instructor and coach, training each new generation of karate-ka to be true champions. I was one the first students to join his competition team, “Team Kumite”. He is extremely well-known in the Pittsburgh region for hosting the annual “Pittsburgh Fitness Expo”. He also produced the Showtime documentary “Tough Guys”, and lived in the west coast for sometime, starring as a background dancer in Britney Spears video for “Stronger” and making various film and television appearances over the years. I highly recommend visiting the Allegheny Shotokan Karate site and reading his bio!

I also train frequently with Sensei Ray Walters, longtime student and karate master at Allegheny Shotokan Karate. Shihan Walters has taught Saturday morning karate class forever. It has been a great privilege and honor to train with Master Walters, an extremely dedicated practitioner of Shotokan karate. I have attended his classes for almost 20 years as I came up through the ranks and then made black belt. He runs both the underbelt class and black belt class on Saturdays. I would not be as polished of a martial arts practitioner if it were not for attending his Saturday morning classes.

Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of working with many other great martial artist. Those including the late Master Roger Miller (founder of Syu Sin Do), the late Master Giuseppe Grasso (7th dan Shotokan master from Italy), and Shotokan world karate champion Dr. Clay Morton. I also had the privilege of training for a while with Shotokan expert and author Sensei Grenville Harrop while he lived in the states. Sensei Grenville trained under Shihan Keinosuke Enoeda in Great Britain. He introduced me to many of Enoeda’s teachings as well as exposed me to the world of the JKA.

Continuing the Journey

After I received my black belt, I faded out of the competition scene. Although I still enjoy keeping once in a while, the things I like about karate most are in the art itself, not in show or competition. Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi never designed Shotokan to fight with. It was merely for one’s own benefit and for self defense. He believed that a martial artist should never through the first punch. And that is a saying that I think most people have forgotten in today’s world. Karate is something passed on from generation to generation, and at my level of rank now, I like to continue learning and to pass on my knowledge to others in the art. Furthermore, I believe I have finally accomplished a certain feat to karate. There is a quote by Funakoshi:

When you look at life think in terms of karate. But remember that karate is not only karate — it is life.

What you take in at the karate school is what you take out of it in life. It is more than just learning to fight. It is the mental discipline, confidence, and character you develop that applies to the outside world. It is, what I like to say, good for the body, mind, and spirit. In terms of the physical aspects, I feel that I owe the world back something from karate. When I was a child, I suffered from severe allergies and asthma. Outdoor sports and other activities really made it difficult for my normal breathing functions. But within one year of training in martial arts, my asthma problems became a thing of the past. Today, my asthma is nearly non-existent in breathing test. My allergies have also improved and living normal life is much easier now without having to rely on inhalers multiple times a day.

Although I still have asthma being a disease you live with for life, it no longer controls me. Funakoshi himself was a sickly child until he started training in martial arts. Now imagine if the entire world has accessibility to karate? Imagine all the people with breathing ailments like mine. Karate training can perform miracles for the human body and mind. And for that reason alone, I think it is one of the greatest things that humanity has ever created.

Lastly, I have also discovered the importance of karate as being an adult. As I approach 30 years old, I realize that karate is truly a lifelong practice. Where other traditional sports you may play in high school or college you fade out of after school, karate is always there. It doesn’t matter your age or condition, you can always do karate. It’s something that can be crafted and modified to your expertise, fitness level, and age. It doesn’t discriminate, because it is a self-journey. I went through a difficult period between 2016 and 2018 where my mother fell ill and passed away in June 2018. During this time, it became difficult for me to practice karate; I had to quit for a while. After she passed away, I made her a promise on her deathbed that I would go back to karate. I did, and I got my 2nd degree black belt that same year. And what’s amazing about it, as I said above; karate is always there. What I am saying is no matter where you are at in life, if you have to quit, you can always go back to karate. Other sports aren’t so welcoming or on the same level as karate is.