He certainly lived a joyous and prosperous life as not only a martial arts icon, but also a legendary writer—one who has been an inspiration to most writers around the globe.
The Loss of a Legend: Joe Hyams , June 6, 1923 – November 8, 2008, By: Michael Miller
Martial arts legend Joe Hyams passed away on November 8, 2008 at 85 years of age. It’s difficult to put into words the impact Joe had on the martial arts world. He certainly lived a joyous and prosperous life as not only a martial arts icon, but also a legendary writer—one who has been an inspiration to most writers around the globe. He certainly will be sadly missed, but his contributions to the martial arts will remain admirable and will keep his spirit alive.
A Harvard graduate, Joe Hyams began his writing career during World War II eventually becoming a Hollywood columnist with more than 3,000 news stories to his credit. He was the highest paid magazine writer for years and has written over 15 books including Zen in the Martial Arts, and Bogie, the best selling story of Humphrey Bogart. His writing career was flawless, which also included numerous screenplays and novels. He also assisted several people in their projects including Chuck Norris as Joe and Chuck were good friends.
He began his martial arts training with Ed Parker in the early 1950s as one of Parker’s first students. He also studied with Bruce Lee for years and learned various arts throughout his life. Joe was a major influence on Lee’s introduction to Hollywood. Lee had given Joe many personal items as gifts due to their friendship.
I was fortunate enough to know Joe, but only interacted with him a few times. I was able to hang out with him at Grandmaster Michael Robert Pick’s house in Colorado in September of 2007. He was going to write the foreword for my upcoming biography on Kenpo Legend Rainer Schulte as he knew Rainer quite well. He did give me a blurb for the back of the book, which I am grateful for. Joe is mentioned in the book a couple times and it will be available in February 2008.
I enjoyed my conversations with him about Ed Parker and the early years of training with him and Bruce Lee. It was good to sit down and hear some stories of Parker’s early black belts and get an understanding of what it was like back then versus the commerciality that we face nowadays. I was also fortunate enough to speak with him about writing and the publishing process of the book I was working on.
I know he has been an inspiration to me as a writer and I will always be grateful for all his has done in motivating me to reach my career goals as a writer and a martial artist. When he read the draft of my book and said that I have done a commendable job so far I was completely honored. He will always be a writer I admire and his wisdom will live on throughout those who were close to him. Please visit www.joehyams.com in honor of him.
Michael Miller, WBB Member
Writer/American Kenpo Instructor