Master William “Bill” Sullivan started his martial arts career in 1978 in Cambridge Maryland under the guidance of Master Barry Smith. Master Sullivan was promoted to 9th dan in 2022. Prior to his martial arts training in Isshinryu, Sensei Sullivan served with the United States Marine Corps from 1965 to 1969 and spent 18 months in Vietnam as an Artillery Surveyor. He credits his Isshinryu abilities to the modern martial arts training provided by the Marine Corps which included small arms training, crew served weapons, bayonet fighting, boxing, tactics and discipline.
After time served with the Marine Corps, Sensei Sullivan attended the Maryland State Police Academy in 1969 and served with the State Police from 1969 thru 1990 including nine years with the Special Tactical Assault Team Element , STATE Team, SWAT. From 1990 to 2000 he worked as a licensed private investigator and Accident Reconstructionist. He also was a Maryland Special Police Officer/Bailiff from 1998 to 2006 with the Maryland District Court and finally retired in 2006.
Sensei Sullivan remembers his first dojo with Master Smith as “Old School” and a school of hard knocks. It was above a casting factory with no windows and was hot and dirty. Pads were a luxury during sparring and many injuries occurred compared to today. Most of the classes were devoted to street techniques and sparring. If you wanted kata assistance you requested before or after class. “You had to want it back then and there was a lot more discipline.”
Sensei Sullivan started the Easton dojo in 1992 at the Talbot County Community Center and eventually moved the dojo to the Easton Middle School in 2006. The Easton dojo is still active today.
In 2001 Sensei Sullivan received the “Instructor of the Year” award from the Isshinryu Hall of Fame. After he attended the award presentation, he competed and won the Senior Division Kata and Kumite competition. In 2008 he was recognized by the Talbot County Council for his years of leadership running the Talbot County Parks and Recreation Martials Arts Program.
He was influenced and instructed by Master Barry Smith, Master Toby Cooling, and Master Bud Ewing.
Sensei Sullivan’s primary advice to his students is to study the kata. There are hidden aspects to Kata. He personally is still discovering things in his first kata after 44 years. He also advised karate can be practiced and can be beneficial into old age.
Sensei Sullivan was married to the love of his life, Jane, and they have one daughter, Stephanie.