Master Barry Smith was born in Cambridge, Maryland in 1945. He began his martial arts studies in 1966 under the guidance of Master Tom Lewis. He eventually studied under Master Toby Cooling and opened his first dojo in 1969 as a brown belt. Master Smith received his 1st degree black belt in 1970 and was promoted to an 8th degree black belt in February 2011.
Master Smith worked as a Defensive Tactics Instructor MPTC since 1982, Defense Tactics Instructor MSP, and currently works as a Farm Manager.
Master Smith credits Master Cooling for his martial arts growth.
“He stood alongside of me many times when he should not have. He pushed me to make me what I am.”
Master Smith also credits Frank Hasting:
“…who left me way to soon . He taught me how to survive the tough times and tested my strength and heart when he left me standing alone. A warrior’s heart he gave to me.”
Even though Master Smith was inducted into the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame, he believes his greatest award was receiving his Sho-Dan (1st Degree) promotion from Master Cooling who tied his black belt around Master Smith’s waist. Secondly his other greatest award is being around all his friends in the Order of Isshin-Ryu and thirdly his wonderful sons.
“We were brought together by years of battle that turned into respect.”
If given the opportunity to provide wisdom to the current kyu ranks, Master Smith states:
“Go back to the old ways of training. IT IS THE ONLY WAY YOU WILL EVER KNOW WHAT I HAVE BEEN SO HONORED TO LEARN. Karate is not for everybody so don’t give it to everybody. If they don’t have what it takes let it be. Time will tell if they really want it. I have quit in my mind many times but not in my desire to stand on the line.”
Master Smith continued to manage a dojo in Cambridge, Maryland, until his passing on May 25, 2019. He will never be forgotten and may he rest in peace.