Sensei Frank Gorman was featured in the September 26, 2021 edition of the Okinawa Times. The photo used in the article shows Sensei Gorman (second from right) at Sensei Bruce Tulgan’s Hampden, CT dojo with Senseis Bruce Tulgan, Peggy Hess, Lawrence De Voe, and Robert Kaiser (left to right).
translation courtesy of Sam Malissa
Training Toward Self-Actualization
By Miguel Da Luz
After training Uechi-ryu Karate in Okinawa during the latter half of the 1950s, George Mattson returned to America and wrote The Way of Karate. Published in 1963 and going on to become a best seller, the book is associated with the dramatic rise of karate’s popularity in North America, as well as the starting point for the spread of Uechi-ryu.
Frank Gorman read the book and contacted Mattson, who introduced him to Charles Earl, at the time running a dojo in Rhode Island. This was Gorman’s first encounter with Uechi-ryu Karate. He was twenty years old. When asked why he was attracted to the style, he answers, “Mattson’s book was different from other karate books at the time. It didn’t just teach you how to kick and strike, it also got into the philosophy of karate, the ways it connects to our humanity. It was really appealing.”
Gorman was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1942. He had been training with Earl for three years when when he visited Okinawa for the first time, in 1965. There he was taken on as a student by Kanei Uechi, the son of the founder of Uechi-ryu Karate. Gorman trained with Mr. Uechi for twenty-one years. When Mr. Uechi retired in 1986, Gorman began to train under the tutelage of Ken Nakamatsu. “In 1978, when I was training in Okinawa, Mr. Uechi arranged for me to go around and train in five different dojos,” Gorman recalls. “When he asked me what I thought of it all, I told him I was confused, because all the different masters had their own way of training. I asked him what I should do, and he said: ‘Watch Nakamatsu.’”After teaching classes at several different YMCAs, Gorman opened his own dojo in Massachusetts in 1973, and another one in Florida when he moved there in 1987. Today he lives in Hamden, Connecticut, where he teaches at his student Bruce Tulgan’s dojo. A handful of students train there regularly, and groups from around the US and as far away as Argentina periodically come to train as well.
Before he became a professional karate teacher in the 1980s, Gorman worked as a machine engineer in the wire and cable industry. He applies his analytical skills from this line of work to karate and is known for his detailed and precise instruction.
“Ego can get in the way when training. I think everyone should proceed slowly and patiently with their training. It’s better not to try to learn everything at once. It’s impossible to learn the countless lessons of karate and really understand them without long years of dedicated training,” Gorman asserts.
Frank Gorman believes that the greatest goals of karate are self-improvement and self- actualization. As he trains day by day with those who want to learn from the knowledge he gained in Okinawa, building mutual understanding, he approaches his research and instruction with the knowledge that his and everyone’s individual paths and individual ways of practicing karate are all still what he calls “a work in progress.”