After 12 years, karate tournament revives memorial tradition
The 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death will revive a martial arts tradition here with the first Elvis Presley Memorial Karate Tournament since 1990.
Five martial artists, including kickboxing champions Bill Wallace and Anthony Elmore and movie veteran Cynthia Rothrock, will be inducted into the Elvis Presley Memorial Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Six others, including Mayor Willie Herenton and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, will be inducted as honorary hall of fame members.
Patrick Wrenn, who once co-owned the Tennessee Karate Institute with Bill Wallace and former Presley security guard Red West, said the tournament began as a memorial to Elvis in 1981 and was held for nine years before it was discontinued. “This year, since it’s the 25th anniversary year, we decided to do it again,” says Wrenn.
The tournament, a benefit for Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, begins at 11 a.m. today in the Showcase, a ballroom-size space on the first floor of the Gibson Guitar complex at 145 Lt. George W. Lee downtown.
The hall of fame inductees also will include martial arts experts Ed Parker and Pat Burleson.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children.
Wrenn, 58, said that he, like Elvis, is a seventh-degree black belt karate expert. Wrenn, who holds several world records, now teaches more than 100 karate students at the Six 50 Health & Fitness centers in Cordova.
For more information, call 753-8883, or go to Elvis.com, and look for the karate tournament under Elvis Week events.
- Michael Lollar: 529-2793
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