World Champion – Jeff Smith
Our students know him as a special guest, a mentor, and a friend to the TM Martial Arts family. The rest of the world knows Jeff Smith is an American martial arts instructor, best known as the former seven-time PKA World Light Heavy Weight Karate Champion.
Jeff “The DC Bomber” Smith was a World Kickboxing Champion and the first recipient of the Bruce Lee Award for “fighter of the year.” (Selected by Mrs. Bruce Lee and Karate Magazine) He was from Kingsville Texas where he started his training in Taekwondo at the Texas A & I University TKD club in 1965. He got his Black Belt September of 1969. Jhoon Rhee would come every 3 months to Texas and teach and test at several college clubs that he had started while at the University. After Smith got his Black Belt, Rhee invited him to come to Washington D.C. to teach in his schools and train. Here are some of his tournament highlights:
- 1972, Grand-Champion of the Pan American Championships in Baltimore.
- 1972, North American Championships in Toronto/Canada, wins the heavyweights title.
- 1973, Battle of Atlanta defeats Frank Hargrove, John Natividad and Everett Monsterman Eddy in the semi-finals but loses in the finals against Howard Jackson.
- May, 1973, he defeats Bill Wallace 5-1, Fred Wren 5-1, Darnell Garcia 5-1 and Howard Jackson 6-5 at the US Pro/Am (US Open Championships), in Ocean-City.
- 1973, Karate Team Championships, the Texas team is composed of Kurban, Butin, Gotcher, Watson and Havanas, and is coached by Allen and Pat Steen Burleston. The Washington DC team, coached by Jhoon Rhee is composed of Gordon Franks, Wayne Booth, Wayne Van Buren, Pat Worlen and Jeff Smith. Smith won his match against Havanas 3-0 and the team of Washington beat Texas 6-4.
- 1973, Top Ten Nationals he defeats John Natividad, and after James Butin for the heavyweights finals, 4-3.
- 1973, US Open Professional, Ocean City he defeats Howard Jackson 7-6, in the finals.
- 1973, wins the title of Grand Champion at the first “Professional Karate Tournament”, for the West Coast team.
- On May 17th 1974, in Berlin, the first European Championship Professional Karate tournament is held. At the end of the day, fights take place between the Europeans and the Americans. Smith defeated Harald Schrader, 5-0, second in the European middleweights.
- A few days later, he defeats Peter Kredijt, a Kyokushinkai practitioner, in a match between the USA and the Netherlands, in Amsterdam.
- 1974, he defeated Darnell Garcia, in the Ed Parker’s Internationals Karate Championships, in Long Beach, CA, USA.
- 1974, he defeated Fred Wren for the middleweight crown, at the Karate Olympics in Houston.
Smith defended his title of World Champion 7 times and when he retired from the sport he amassed a full contact kickboxing record of 21-1 with 7 wins coming by KO. He currently operates a martial arts school in Virginia where he teaches Tae Kwon Do, in which he holds a 10th degree black belt. On April 6, 2007 he was inducted into the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame.
Whenever GM Jeff Smith visits TM Martial Arts, we count it a real treat! He knows exactly what it takes to achieve world class success. And he has the physical, mental, and character skill set to reach the highest goals! He not only inspires students to reach for their highest potential. He also inspires our instructors to coach students in a fun, positive way! We truly appreciate the interest he has taken in our students and staff at TM Martial Arts. And we value the wealth of knowledge and experience he brings to our mats. When GM Jeff Smith visits our studio, make sure you don’t miss the chance to meet him, attend class where he will jump in and instruct, and experience the workshops he leads!
Click here for How Karate Kids Change Our World: Part 1