RICK SPARKS (NC)
Class of 2017
Rick Sparks is married to Sue Weaver Sparks with two children: Josh (2nd Degree Black Belt) and daughter Shelley as well as having four grandchildren.
Owner/Instructor: Sparks-Jarrett Karate School
Owner: Bear Creek Construction
Growing up in the 60s & 70s in a small rural area such as Bakersville, NC martial arts was unheard of, although I had always wanted to learn. While serving in the US Army (1974-75) I studied some Judo from a guy out of Texas that I shared a barrack with. Was promoted and became a hand-to-hand instructor. In late 1976 early 1977 I had a sporting goods store in Spruce Pine NC. One day in walks this guy by the name of Bill Daniels, I think we became instant friends. I studied under Sensei Bill Daniels through the early 1980’s achieving the rank of Brown Belt until he finally moved away.
I received Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in 1983 from Shihan Martinez and started my own Karate School. I received Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt) in 1984. I’ve won several small tournaments as lightweight Black Belt & several Grand Championships. My first loss came at the hands of a great martial artist Mr. Larry Bullard. I stopped tournament competition in the late 1980s and focused on my students. It is more fulfilling to see them win.
Received Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt) in 2002, Yondan (4th Degree Blackbelt) in 2005, Godan (5th Degree Black Belt in 2007, Rokudan (6th Degree Blackbelt) in 2009, and Shichidan (7th Degree Blackbelt) in 2011 from Master Louis Shaw out of Charleston, SC. Also received Godan (5th Degree Black Belt) in 2010 from Sensei Bill Daniels. I still till teach in our small Dojo and still do some training occasionally with Professor Erie Cates. I have been teaching since 1983 and have produced 13 quality Black Belts.