Mr. Long married Doris Witsberger on October 18, 1952 in Wheeling,
West Virginia. They had three sons, Richard, the
oldest, born in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina; Michael, born
in San Diego, California; and Gary, born in Albuquerque,
In the mid 1950's, Mr.
Long was stationed on Okinawa. He had always had the desire
to study martial arts and inquired of his house girl who the
best karate instructor was on Okinawa. She did not hesitate
in telling him that in Chun Village there was a teacher by the
name of Tatsuo Shimabuku, who had the reputation of being the
top karate instructor on Okinawa. After three visits to Master
Shimabuku's dojo, he was accepted as a student and began training.
He studied for nineteen months, as much as eight hours a day,
seven days a week, in some cases.
When Mr. Long returned
to the United States, he was stationed at Twenty-nine Palms,
California, where he opened his first dojo in his back yard.
After his discharge from the Marine Corps, in July 1959, he
returned to East Tennessee, and opened a dojo at the Marine
Reserve Training Center.
In 1963, he attended
the "Systems Head meeting" of the first World Karate Tournament
in Chicago, Illinois, to set-up rules for all American karate
tournaments. In attendance were John Kehan, Phil Kepal, Harold
Long, George Mattson, Anthony Mirikan, Roy Oshiro, Don Nagle,
Ed Parker, Wendall Reeves, Jun Rehe, Mas Tsuroka, and Robert
Trias. Rules for kata and kumite were adopted at this meeting
to be used for all tournaments in the United States regardless
of style. All of these rules, with one exception, were proposed
by Mr. Long. He also served as Vice President of
the United States Karate Association for several years.
In 1974, Mr. Long returned
to Okinawa to visit with Grand Master Tatsuo Shimabuku.
During this visit, he received permission to start a new Isshin-Ryu
karate association in the United States.
In December of 1995,
Master Long closed his dojo in Knoxville, Tennessee, and retired
from active teaching. He moved into the US Navel Retirement
Home in Gulfport, Mississippi, in 1996. He remained active representing
Isshin-Ryu Karate at tournaments, clinics, seminars and special
In December of 1997,
he represented Isshin-Ryu karate at the World Karate Union Hall
of Fame's annual event in Australia. While returning
home, he was involved in an automobile accident enroute to Gulfport.
He underwent several surgeries to repair ruptured blood vessels
in his brain. In August of 1998, while still recovering
from the accident, he flew to Knoxville, Tennessee to visit
his family. During this visit, he was diagnosed with terminal
cancer. He remained in Knoxville until his passing on
October 12, 1998. Master Long was laid to rest at
Oak Grove Cemetery in Rockwood, Tennessee on October 15, 1998.
Isshinryu Hall of Fame Website