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The Natural: Kirby the youngest person to receive prestigious karate honor
Tim Kirby has done plenty in the sport of karate over the past 29 years.
In addition to teaching in Plano, and throughout the Metroplex, the ninth-degree black belt has won virtually every major championship in the Southwest and can call himself a Hall of Famer.
But the biggest honor of Kirby's career may have come last month in Houston when he became the youngest person to attain the Jim "Ronin" Harrison Natural Fighter Award.
Harrison, one of the forefathers of U.S. karate, bestowed Kirby with the award.
"Just to know a warrior of [Harrison's] caliber is an honor in itself," Kirby said. "But to be chosen for this award by Mr. Harrison himself and the Hall of Fame Committee members as one that exemplifies the spirit and style in which Mr. Harrison is famous for is a humbling experience I will cherish for the rest of my life."
Kirby isn't the first to bestow such kind words on Harrison as Bruce Lee once said, "I fear no man, but Jim Harrison and Mike Stone are the last two men that I would wish to meet in an alley fight. Jim Harrison's fighting style is not flamboyant or spectacular; it's just simple and deadly."
Receiving such an honor was the latest milestone for Kirby in a martial arts career that began in 1973.
Kirby became one of Plano's first junior black belt practitioners when he received his first black belt on Dec. 4, 1976. Since then, Kirby won six straight state titles and the U.S. Karate Championships seven times, leading some to proclaim him, "the best all-around black belt competitor in Texas history."
That legend continued to grow just prior to receiving the Natural Fighter Award when Kirby earned his ninth-degree black belt at an event called The Gathering in Houston.
That achievement makes him one of the youngest Grand Master black belts in the world.
"Mr. Tim Kirby gives back so much to our community by sharing his wealth of knowledge and accomplishments," said Belinda Carmona Croff, one of many Kirby-trained students. "Even now he teaches martial arts to children and adults."
Kirby continues to do so around the Metroplex, including at The Jym in Allen.