Evolution of American Open Karate

Karate has been taught in the United States since 1946, when Grandmaster Robert A. Trias (pictured), known as the father of American Karate, opened the first karate school in Phoenix, Arizona.  Two years later, Mr. Trias founded the United States Karate Association (USKA), the first karate organization in America, with almost every early top karate instructor in its membership.

On May 2, 1972 Hanshi Jerry C. Piddington was declared the Headmaster and founder of American Open Style Karate (AOS Karate) under the USKA sanctified charter, established by Mr. Trias, which was internationally ratified on May 30, 1975.  On February 1, 2000 this tradition was acknowledged when Mr. Piddington was declared Headmaster of American Open Shorei/Shorin Karate (AOSSK) by Hanshi John Pachivas, Grandmaster of Shuri-ryu Karatedo.

In 1976, Ricky and Randy Smith, nationally known as the Gold Dust Twins, opened their first karate school, called Smith Brothers Karate, in China Grove, N.C. under the leadership of Dave Adams, founder of American Jee Do Kwan (AJDK).  In 1990, Randy opened SideKick Gym in Lexington, N.C.  The twins  reconnected with their teacher from the late 1970's, Jerry Piddington, and began teaching AOS Karate under his guidance.  In 1993 Ricky and his father purchased a building and re-established a school in China Grove, N.C. called SideKick Karate Dojo.  SideKick Karate became a life-long chartered member of Mr. Piddington's American Karate Academies National Association (AKANA).

In 1997 the Smith Brothers incorporated the name American Open Karate System (AOK System) because it is a system of study representing several styles including AOS Karate.  In 1999 Randy re-established his Lexington roots and opened SideKick Gym at Gold's Gym and in 2002 he purchased a building and founded SideKick MMA.  In 1998 Ricky and his wife, Edie, founded SideKick Karate of Concord, N.C. and in 2012 founded SideKick Karate of Salisbury, N.C.  (click here to see Salisbury Post article).  Also, in 2012 Grandmaster Jerry Piddington proclaimed Ricky Smith Headmaster of the AOK System.  Kyoshi Smith still resides as Chief Instructor of AKANA and is Hanshi Piddington's highest ranking student in AOS Karate.