A lot of people around town know who Maurice Moore is.
Apparently, a lot of people other places know the name as well.
In June, Moore was inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame and was also named to the organizationâ€™s board of directors.
Moore, a Lincolnton native, began taking Karate lessons at the age of 10 as a way of defending himself from bullies. He says he rode his bike to Charlotte for the lessons.
Despite the inconvenient commute, Moore stuck with it, and Karate became his passion.
â€œMy dream was to come back here and be a teacher,â€ Moore said.
And thatâ€™s exactly what he did.
Now, at age 58, he still runs Mooreâ€™s Karate Academy on East Main Street in Boger City, where he teaches Karate, Kickboxing and Aerobics.
Yet Mooreâ€™s role in the world of martial arts extends far beyond the borders of Lincoln County.
In addition to his recent induction into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame, Moore was named to the Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame in January, in part due to his work doing stunts for martial arts movies.
â€œI did a whole lot of action stuff in New York,â€ said Moore.
Next month, Moore will appear on the magazineâ€™s cover, as the international publication has chosen to profile him for their September issue.
According to Moore, he is the most decorated martial artist in North Carolina. Yet Moore, who has traveled extensively and speaks five languages, views the sport from a global perspective. He says that 33 countries were represented at the June ceremony, which was held in Pennsylvania.
The President of Russia sent a message with the group from Russia inviting all the Hall of Fame members to visit the country. Moore says itâ€™s on his agenda.
â€œProbably in a year or two weâ€™ll be going to Russia,â€ he said.
Moore sees martial arts not only as a way of defending oneself, but also as a diplomatic tool. In the martial arts world, says Moore, itâ€™s like one big family.
â€œEverybodyâ€™s respectful,â€ he said. â€œEverybody greets one another.â€
Soon, Moore will have another chance to see that firsthand, as he as been invited for induction into the Irish Martial Arts Confederation Hall of Fame in October. Heâ€™s hoping to have his passport in time to make the trip.
Yet no matter where Mooreâ€™s involvement with martial arts takes him, he still calls Lincolnton home. Although some of his colleagues have been urging him to move to New York City, Moore says heâ€™s staying put, at least for now.
â€œI canâ€™t leave until I finish what I want to do here,â€ said Moore.
What heâ€™s doing here is using his extensive knowledge of martial arts to educate the local community. Considering that one of his students, Ryan Lail, is ranked number three in North America for his age group, it seems he must be doing something right.
At his school, Moore imparts more than just Karate skills. His students are expected to learn a bit of Japanese, including the names of moves, numbers and greetings.
Moore also expects the kids to show good manners and perform well academically. He even requires his students to pass a written test with questions about language and Japanese history and culture in order to earn belt rankings.
For Moore, itâ€™s about molding kids into upstanding citizens, not just Karate champs.
â€œThe ones that come just to be a fighter, they donâ€™t stay long,â€ he said.
Of course, Mooreâ€™s students do have a good chance of becoming great Karate fighters. One former student, Joe Mannino, who also served in the Marines with Moore, was inducted with him at the June Hall of Fame ceremony.
Mannino is just one of many individuals who have benefited from Mooreâ€™s teaching martial arts. Moore himself says he has benefited tremendously from the sport he has pursued for a lifetime. He says martial arts not only helped him learn to control his temper, it also helped him prosper as a person.
All the recognition is just the icing on the cake.
â€œI have a legacy I can leave to my kids,â€ said Moore.
by Allyson Levine