|Photo by Charles Lam|
|The exterior of Demura's dojo|
The next phase of Santa Ana's Bristol Street Widening Project, a decades-long redevelopment plan, is threatening old-rooted businesses, including a 47-year-old karate dojo run by the man who trained Karate Kid actor Pat Morita.
"I have taught here for 47 years. Everyone knows we're here," said Shihan (an honorific for a karate master) Fumio Demura at his studio, across the street from Santa Ana College near the interesection of Bristol and 17th streets. "All I want is to teach."
Demura, who was one of the first Japanese Karate masters to come to the United States, has trained notable actors and martial artists from out of his dojo, Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai Dojo, which he opened shortly after arriving in Santa Ana in 1965. He prepped Morita for all four Karate Kid films, performing as Morita's stunt double in three of them. He has also worked with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, and other Hollywood martial artists in different capacities. The walls of his front office are lined with honors he has received, acknowledgements from elected officials, and over 50 magazine covers on which he is featured.
And it might all be gone by next year.More »