Hanshi Frank Grant: A brief look at his life

Hanshi Frank Grant was born the ninth of twelve children June 21, 1933 in Paris, Kentucky to James Albert and Elizabeth Grant. When he was eight years old, he and his family moved to the east side of Dayton, Ohio. This was in 1941, the world would soon be at war, but for a boy in America the troubles in Europe, and Asia seemed far away. He was a friendly and amiable boy but few were close to him and many considered him a loner. When he was ten, he worked for a photographer, Mr. Huffman, down the street from his home. One of young Frank's jobs was to weed the flower garden and Mr. Huffman found it necessary to keep the young man's mind working as well. He often encouraged young Frank to listen to the flowers as they grew. Although it seemed absurd, the young man made the effort to listen because he figured old Mr. Huffman knew something he didn't.

After high school, Grant was stationed in Japan for 18 months with the United States Marine Corps. He faithfully performed his duties as any other American serviceman, but in off-hours, he traveled the countryside, seeking out the Japanese artisans and observing as they performed their crafts. He became fascinated with Japanese culture and how it differed from his own heritage. He was searching for something, but didn't know what it was.

1954 brought about many changes. He returned to the U.S. and was honorably discharged from service. In June, he met a young Marjorie Huff and decided she was the girl for him. It turned out he was right. By November, they were married and Frank began his trade in the printing business and set down to work and raise a family. All the while, he read voraciously in continuous search for some metaphysical truth. It was a time of growth and exploration, but he needed an anchor, something to focus his search.

It wasn't until 1959 that he began to study karate under Sensei James Wax. He knew Wax from his church. While stationed in Okinawa, Wax studied karate under Shoshin Nagamine and became the first American black belt in Shorin-Ryu. Grant wanted to learn what Wax had to teach. He was an excellent instructor. It wasn't long before Grant found he liked the structure and the discipline inherent in karate.

In 1962, Master Nagamine sent Ansei Ueshiro to the United States under the sponsorship of Sensei Wax and both he and Grant began training under Sensei Ueshiro. In June of 1963, Sensei Ueshiro promoted Grant to Sho Dan. The training was very similar to what we practice today with an emphasis on Basics, Kata and Yakusoku Kumite. Although challenging, the training was purely physical in nature and Grant could not help but wonder if there was something else to it, some higher meaning he was missing.

Under Ueshiro's guidance, Grant was promoted to Ni Dan in 1965 and in November of 1966, he traveled to Okinawa to train under the careful tutelage of Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine. For six months, he underwent intense physical and mental instruction for fourteen to sixteen hours every day. He returned a Yon Dan in the spring of 1967.

Hanshi Grant spent most of his life in the pursuit of knowledge and helping others through teaching, training and example. Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu was his medium of instruction and he was dedicated to preserving the system as Grand Master Nagamine taught it to him. For over 59 years and until his passing in 2019, Hanshi Grant worked continuously to promote and maintain the World Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Federation. He, his students and his student’s - students have raised thousands of karate-ka through the ranks of Matsubayashi-Ryu worldwide.