It seems like there isn’t much that Elvis Presley didn’t do. He was the King of Rock and Roll. That royal title demanded much of him. For instance, it wasn’t just his iconic voice that brought him fame. He also knew how to whip a crowd into a frenzy. At the same time, the timing of his rise to fame had much to do with it. So, there was a little fate in the mix. He was also an accomplished actor. On top of all of that, he had a family and a close circle of friends to look after.
One thing helped Elvis Presley hone his body and mind to be able to deal with all the stress of being the King. He practiced karate in his spare time. In fact, he incorporated his martial arts training into iconic dance moves later in his career. Today, fans can still travel to Graceland and see evidence of his in-home karate demonstrations.
Earlier today, the Elvis Presley estate posted a photo of the King working on his karate skills. The photo was coupled with an interesting fact about his training.
The caption states that Elvis Presley was first exposed to martial arts in 1958 while stationed in Germany.
A Look At Elvis Presley’s Karate Training
Elvis Presley first studied karate under Juergen Seydel in Germany. Seydel was trained in the art of Shotokan Karate, a style developed in the late 1800s. When he went on leave, Elvis traveled to Paris to study under Tetsugio Murakami. Murakami was one of Japan’s top Shotokan stylists, according to the Australian Elvis site. During his time with the Japanese teacher, Elvis once worked for nine straight days, for multiple hours a day, to learn the art of Shotokan Karate.
Elvis Presley also studied on base with another soldier who was training in Shotokan. At the same time, he began striking hard surfaces to condition his hands to break boards.
When he returned to the United States, Elvis Presley continued to hone his martial arts skillset. In 1960, the King became a black belt under the tutelage of Hank Slomanski in Fort Campbell. However, he wasn’t done. In fact, Elvis continued to study after he returned to Memphis.
Elvis Presley worked with Master Kang Rhee in Memphis between 1970 and 1974. While studying under Rhee, students were urged to choose an animal name by which to be called in the training ring. First, the King chose Panther. However, that was later changed to Tiger due to the complicated political implications of the name Panther at the time.
Elvis Presley ended his karate training as a seventh-degree black belt. At that point he became an instructor as well.