Black Karate Federation International


Founders: Steve Muhammad, Donnie Williams


Grandmaster Steve Muhammad is a co-founder of the Black Karate federation and the organization’s first president. He is also one of most dynamic and celebrated figures in the history of American martial arts. From his days as a tournament competitor with an unrivaled championship record, to becoming a trainer of fighting champions and of thousands of martial art practitioners worldwide, Steve Muhammad exemplifies the true spirit of the martial arts tradition. In short, he is a warrior and a true gentleman.

Born in Topeka, Kansas in 1944, Muhammad was the youngest of several siblings, all of whom were raised in a tight knit and fairly athletic family. Muhammad’s first exposure to the fighting arts actually began observing his mother! To keep her boys in line, she developed “a mean right hook.”

In high school, Muhammad became an outstanding athlete who excelled in football, baseball and track. He later attended Kansas State University on a football scholarship before leaving to join the Marine Corps. While in the military as a member of the Pathfinders, he received his first real exposure to the martial arts. Training with the Pathfinders was similar to training with the Green Berets – it was intense and highly disciplined.

Grandmaster Donnie Williams was born in 1947 in Savannah, Georgia. His early upbringing in the ghetto gave him a keen instinct for survival, which he channeled into his martial arts training to become one of the most dynamic and outspoken personalities in sport karate. By the time he retired from competition, Williams had amassed more than 85 championship trophies and began to appear in several motion pictures, including “Truck Turner,” “Black Belt Jones” and most notably “Enter The Dragon.”

Donnie Williams began his martial arts training in Texas with a brief introduction to the shotakan karate system under sensei Jerry Atkins. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the U.S.Navy. His four-year tour took him to Korea, where he received his first exposure to taekwondo. Williams immersed himself in training and continued his studies after returning to the states. Settling in California, he began training in that Korean art with master Byong Yu.

Four years later, he had developed into a superb kicker who gained renown on the tournament scene for his aggressive fighting style, as well as unique ring antics. It was this combination of fun and fury that earned Williams the nickname “Clown Prince of Karate.”


About the BKF
If you look at the 1960’s, you will see that it was a time of sharp contrasts in America. During this generation, “baby-boomers” spoke a language of peace, love and soul. In 1960, music pioneer Berry Gordy started the Motown Records label. BKF members would later provide security for many of the leading Motown legends of the day. In 1961, optimism was high with the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. By 1962, the U.S. commitment in Vietnam deepened. By 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers and President Kennedy were both assassinated. The riots in Watts, California followed in 1965.

In 1967, The Beatles pleaded that, “All You Need is Love,” but that year Newark, N.J. erupted in three days of riots. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner to head a commission to study the disturbances. The Kerner Commission stated that, despite some political rights for blacks from the civil rights movement, unemployment, ingrained racism and poor housing still remained. The commission concluded that: “Our nation is moving towards two societies: one black, one white – separated and unequal.”

By 1968, the “dream” was crumbling as Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy were both assassinated. As America moved even deeper into Vietnam, Muhammad Ali – world heavyweight boxing champion, icon and hero to millions – had his title stripped and was willing to face jail rather than be drafted to fight an unjust war.



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