Grand Master Roger Clark

Leader of Leaders

Written by William Rivera Kyoshi

Edited by Lydia Alicea


Neither fire or wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds. Buddah


The passing of Grand Master Roger Clark is felt in our hearts, and our condolences continue to go out to his family, friends and many he has touched, and will continue to for years to come.

I will speak of two events. Both fulfill those aspects that make the Martial Arts nothing short of inspirational and enlightening.

The first event took place on Sunday, April 29,2012, The New York City Annual Kumite Classic Martial Arts Tournament. It took place at I.S.292 in Brooklyn, hosted by the late Grand Master Roger Clark and Shihan Jackie Drayton.

The New York City Annual Kumite Classic, began with the black belt meeting followed by the introduction of O'Sensei Ronald Duncan.

Organizational rules were discussed in great detail. O'Sensei Duncan's introduction was met with a standing ovation that set the tone for this grand tournament.

The event is known as one of the best tournaments on the East Coast, with competitors from all different styles, with a reputation known for its consistent fairness, respect, essentially holding up to a standard of true "Budo."  Grand Master Clark left nothing to chance, and directed the event like an orchestrated symphony.

As I followed him around he engaged with everyone directly and indirectly involved, addressing issues, compliments, asking people what he could improve upon, and, lastly going out of his way to talk to as many parents as possible. For Grand Master Clark, parents were not to be treated as mere spectators sitting in the stands but rather as participants.

With respect to Shihan Jackie Drayton, she was nothing short of an extension of Master Clark. Zilch passed her eyes, observant on all that was taking place, everything was important. Her passion translated to her love for what I can say is her "family."

The event drew the best in support: Haisan Kaleak, Abdul Aziz, Sam McGee, Kelly Rice, Dave Thomas, Sabu, Eugene Scott, Linda Ramzy, Lamarr Thornton, Alfred Hinds, John Rullan and others.


The second event took place on June 16,2012 at I.S.292 in Brooklyn. The Martial Arts fights Drugs and Alcohol abuse and celebration of Shidoshi Roger Clark was a memorial celebration of Shidoshi Roger Clark and his legacy.

His life was a fulfillment of love and giving, reflected by all who were in attendance, Family, friends, Martial Artist confirmed through demonstrations, actions and words, that his work will continue into the future. Shidoshi Roger Clark's love and passion was not only for the Martial Arts community, but also for the community at large. The Martial Arts was his vehicle, he was the driver, and the highway was his world.

I cannot begin to measure the multitude of people he has touched or the stories that will be told of his benevolence. I knew him through the years in the arts, but it was not until his tournament on April 29th, when he sat down with me and we spoke, that I came to realize why he is loved and respected. That day he touched my heart like an electric shock, a blot of lightning.

We spoke outside the tournament floor, walking the hallways of the school for what seemed as hours. At some point I whipped out my recorder, thinking he wanted an interview for the magazine, prepared to ask him some preliminary questions.

Instead he laughed and said, "Turn it off, I'm not the interview, Shihan Jackie is." "It is not about me, but about what is being done." He continued his conversation as he spoke about, Farouk Gibbs, Abdul Aziz, Haisan Kaleak,his students and of course Shihan Jackie, what they have done and are actively doing for their community.    

He talked about a magazine he wanted to start, ask for my advice, gave me advice because to Shidoshi Clark it was about working together. It was about brotherhood and sisterhood of the Martial Arts. I have met far few Martial Artist that would prefer not to speak of themselves, but instead, turn the spotlight on to the highlights and accomplishments of others. That my friends, is the essence of a gentlemen, and a true "Master."

From my perspective, I could say more about that conversation; in essence it was inspiring and a learning experience. Yet there are others who have known him far longer than I, who can speak more eloquently with more knowledge and insight about this wonderful person, and great Martial Artist, Shidoshi Roger Clark.

The world is a better place and will continue to be so, that is the legacy of Shidoshi Roger Clark.