Kelly began his martial arts career under the tutelage of Sin Kwan The (Shaolin-Do) in Lexington, Kentucky. He also trained inOkinawan karate under the direction of Parker Shelton, Nate Patton, and Gordon Doversola. During the early 1970s, Jim Kelly became one of the most decorated world karate champions in the sport. In 1971, Kelly won four prestigious championships that same year, most notably, the World Middleweight Karate title at the 1971 Long Beach International Karate Championships.
He opened his own dojo, which was frequented by numerous Hollywood celebrities. He taught karate to actor Calvin Lockhart for a role in a thriller feature film Melinda (1972) and ended up playing a martial arts instructor in the movie.
Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday salutes Jim Kelly.