Master Art Palmer
8th Dan

Master Art Palmer Hachidan (8th degree black belt) began karate in 1975, studying Shorin-ryu under Will Dalton in Jamestown, Tennessee.  In 1978 Master Palmer's family moved to Crossville Tennessee and he began to study Shotokan with Ken Nelson and earned his black belt in Shotokan in 1981.  In 1981 Master Palmer's instructor Ken Nelson began to train with Master Harold Long and the entire school switched to the Isshinryu system and Master Palmer was promoted by Master Long to Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in 1985. 

Master Palmer suffered a great loss in 1988 when his instructor, mentor, and close friend, Ken Nelson died during an auto accident while on duty as sheriff's deputy. Master Palmer opened Art Palmer's School of Isshin-ryu Karate in Crossville, Tennessee in 1988; it remains the largest and oldest martial art school in the  area.  Master Palmer continued to train under Master Harold Long and later under Master J. C. Burris and Master Tommy True. Master Palmer states the accomplishment he is most proud of is being promoted to Godan (5th Degree) posthumously by Master Harold Long in a letter opened after his death in 1998.    


During his competition years, Master Palmer was known as a hard hitting fighter and for his powerful traditional katas.  Master Palmer names fellow board members as his toughest competition.  Mast Palmer describes Master Scott Shamblin as being almost impossible to beat in kata due to his flawless katas, and in kumite he was a tricky and fast fighter.  Master Palmer describes Master David Gabbard as another tough competitor due to his wide range of fighting skills.


Master Palmer's achievements include:

• 2010 Isshin-ryu Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year

• 2010 I.I.K.A. Spirit Award

• 2010 I.I.K.A. Male Instructor of the Year

• 2011 Inducted into the I.I.K.A. Legacy Circle of Honor

• 2016 I.I.K.A. Dojo of the Year winner


Master Palmer was promoted to his current rank of Hachidan on July 8, 2013, and was appointed to the IIKA Board of Directors in 2016.  He currently lives in Crossville Tennessee.  Master Palmer still teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays at his dojo located at 1222 Dayton Ave, Crossville, Tennessee.  He can be reached at 931-456-6273