Remembering  a genuine Martial Artist pioneer, competitor and instructor

 Mr. Robert Halliburton

It is with great sadness that we inform you of Shihan Robert Halliburtonís passing. He passed away on April 16, 2008 at his home with his family at his side.

Read Mr. Halliburton's memorial and leave your condolences.


On Wednesday, April 16, 2008, Mr. Robert Halliburton, known as Sensei to many, passed away after a battle with cancer. His last moments were spent in his home, surrounded by loving students and friends, and holding the hands of his daughters, Donna and Alyson.

Robert Halliburton was born August 14, 1944, in Houston, Texas. He attended Sam Houston High School, where he excelled in football. After high school, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in the Special Forces. Upon returning to Houston, Mr. Halliburton joined Japan Ways School of Self Defense. He began his martial arts training on May 14, 1964, as a student of Sensei Jim Arwood and Shihan Tomosoburo Okano.

Before heíd earned his black belt from Sensei Arwood, Mr. Halliburton began teaching classes for Mr. Arwood and quickly discovered his true calling as a martial arts instructor. Over the years, Mr. Halliburton trained with and befriended some of the greatest martial artists of our time. In 1993, he obtained the internationally recognized rank of 5th dan from Shihan Hirokazu Kanazawa. Sensei Halliburton was a member of Shotokan Karate International and served as its General Secretary in the United States for several years. By the time of his death, Mr. Halliburton had attained the rank of 7th dan in Shotokan Karate.

"Remembering Robert Halliburton"
by anonymous

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday April 16) Robert Halliburton, long-time proprietor and sensei of Way of Japan Karate in Fresno, California, passed away at his home. Sensei Halliburton, as he was known to his many students, was an accomplished competitor in karate during the peak years of tournament karate. He has been a prominent figure in the martial arts of the Central Valley of California since he began operating his Shotokan dojo in the mid-60's. He has taught literally generations of karateka, as his students grew and brought in their children to study.

I personally remember Sensei Halliburton as a powerful, stoic, tough man with a dry sense of humor. He was an amazing teacher, especially with children. I remember beginning karate at age 11 and being in awe of him. His dojo was very traditional in many ways, but there was also an element of tough-guy realism when it came to fighting. I have taken what I learned of tamashi, kiai, kime, gambare, and rei from him and earnestly applied it to my life.

There are many people out there who studied with Sensei Halliburton, competed with him, or even fought with him, and he touched many people in his life. In true budo fashion, he never profited much from his livelihood, offering his teaching at well below its value, and he struggled to make ends meet. He nevertheless dies a rich man, as all good teachers do, with a wealth of thankful students.

"Remembering Robert Halliburton"
by Grand Master Richard Jenkins

I first met Robert Halliburton when he was a tall and gangly 13-year-old in the 7th grade...that was in 1956, and we survived together on the roughest side of Houston (the North-side), through Burbank Jr. High and Sam Houston Sr. High Schools.

We shared many moments as teens roaming Houstonís North-side neighborhoods. Even then, Robert was always quiet and unassuming, courteous and respectful, and well-liked by one and all; yet, even at that early age, he would take no abuse from the many bullies that tried him, and neither would I. In those days, we weren't the toughest around, but everyone knew that we would not back down. It was his spirit and determination to win that carried him through many successes and allowed him to excel at sports, football one of his early best, then on to martial arts. In our early martial arts years, we both studied Shotokan, he after his stint in the Army at Japan Way, from Jim Arwood on the Eastex Freeway (then, State Highway 59), and I from Jerry Spates, of the JKA, while in the Navy, and we both received 1st Dan while very young.

Although, we had not seen one another for many years, we had a joyous reunion here in Houston, at The Legends Banquet and Awards, in September of 1999. We spent hours there catching-up, and I was saddened when we parted, but elated we got to spend that brief time in camaraderie together. As kids, we always got along well and watched each otherís backs...just as friends should and did back then in those violent times on the North Houston streets, and I hold great respect, admiration, and fondness for your father...both, as the fine, upstanding man he became, and as the brilliant martial artist competitor and Master Instructor.

It is remarkable and fitting that we both made the martial arts our careers, I! I know you are even more proud of him in all ways. I am truly saddened by this news, he was so young ... we are the same age ... and, his passing admonishes me to keep better care and watch of my own being.

He will always be a lifelong friend in my heart. I know, without any doubt, that Robert Halliburton will be genuinely missed by many, and I am one of those that already does. If there is anything whatsoever I can do here in Houston, never feel reluctant or hesitant about calling on me for anything, at any time.

Bless the Halliburton family, all students, instructors, and friends.

With highest regard,
Richard W. Jenkins, 9th Dan
4642 Orange Grove Drive
Houston, Texas 77039-6322

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