The Great Master of Combat

Bill Miller is a 10th Dan, Hanshi, Black Belt, Martial Arts Master. Combat Isshinryu Karate &  Combined Martial Arts. Ranked by the International Association of Martial Artists.

In March of 2001, at a special ceremony at the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Ca., attended with his son, Michael, the U. S. Marine Corps bestowed a high and unique honor on Bill Miller. The certificate reads: “To Gunnery Sergeant Bill Miller (retired '67), for pioneering martial arts in the United States Marine Corps, you are hereby awarded the rank of Black Belt Emeritus.” Bill was certified as a Close Combat Instructor Trainer (Trains & Certifies Black Belt Instructors).

At the age of fifteen a judge in New Jersey gave Bill a choice; jail or the Marine Corps. Bill chose the latter and escaped the poverty & crime of the cities. He took his Baptismal Certificate and changed it to say he was seventeen. In 1948, he joined the Marines. He went into the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island, South Carolina weighing 150 lbs. He graduated from boot camp weighing 190 lbs. For most recruits, joining the Corps was a step down in lifestyle, for Bill it was two steps up.

Soon there after, when the rest of his platoon was shipping out to Korea, Bill was chosen for Embassy Duty in Southeast Asia. He was Marine Security for the American Embassy, Bangkok, Siam and Southeast Asia. Only the best Marines were chosen for this coveted position. It was here that Bill was first introduced to Eastern Marital Arts in the form of Judo. Having a Caucasian study Judo was nearly unheard of in those times. At first he was more of a novelty to his instructors and fellow students. He was the Uke of choice for everyone that wanted to throw a Big White Barbarian, a Gaijin. He would attend tournaments in which black belts would put on white belts so that they could throw him. Through all this he would not give up, he refused to give in to their bias and prejudice. After six-months of learning nothing but falling his Sensei recognized his grit and fortitude. He began to train Bill as he trained all his other students. It was not long before Bill’s natural strength and athletic ability combined with his dedicated training in Judo; Bill excelled until he was the top student in the dojo.

Now the life of a Marine on Embassy Duty sometimes requires travel; often times travel as an armed courier. He would have an attaché case handcuffed to his wrist and he would fly military, and sometimes commercial, transport to various spots around Asia. After he was met at his destination, he asked where the nearest Martial Arts dojo was. He always brought his Gi with him. He would find the dojo, bow to the head instructor and ask politely if he could train with them. In this way Bill expanded his knowledge of the Marital Arts and exposed himself to a myriad of techniques and philosophies.

In 1955, after returning from Korea with the 1st Marine Division, he was assigned as a Drill Instructor at MCRD, San Diego. He is featured in the book, “The History of the Marine Corps Drill Instructor”. He was also a former Counter-Guerrilla Warfare Instructor and Infantry Platoon Sergeant, for the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions, FMF, Pacific, USMC. He past on to his recruits the lessons he had learned while training in Southeast Asia. At the same time Bill competed on the Marine Judo Team. This brought his skills in the Martial Arts to the attention of his Commanding Officers, shortly there after he was made the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Hand-To-Hand Combat at MCRD San Diego. For the next year, he developed his own “realistic” style of fighting several enemies at the same time, ideally preceded by a surprising & violent preemptive attack, including an instantaneous multi-combination of Karate, Judo & Jiu-jitsu strikes & throws. Quality training equals survival…  All Marine recruits who attended boot camp there went through this Hand-To-Hand combat program. At this point he also trained Recon Marines, various Special Forces of the US and allied Countries, and many civilian entities. It is impossible to say how far his training reached out across the globe.

In 1958, he was assigned to Recruiting Duty in his hometown of Jersey City & Hudson County, N. J. Of course, once there he searched out and found the best Martial Arts Dojo he could. This dojo was run by Okinawan Isshinryu Master Don Nagle. It was here that Bill met future Grandmaster Gary Alexander. This was the beginning of a friendship that lasted fifty years and countless combined students. To attract Marine recruits Bill performed Martial Arts demonstrations at high schools and community centers. Then he formed a youth organization called the Bayonne Devil Dogs that competed in, among other things, Judo. They went on to win the tri-state championship. Then the team, and the mayor of their city, was flown to Washington, D. C., as a reward, and met with the Commandant of the Marine Corps. At the same time he instructed members of the Bayonne Police department in various methods of hand-to-hand combat, Judo, and Jujitsu. Years later he was assigned to Recruiting Duty again, in Azusa Ca., with responsibility for parts of the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles. During both recruiting tours, his boss, the Colonel, “volunteered” him to instruct police SWAT teams on the East & West coasts, in Karate, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Rifle & Bayonet and Knife & Bo/Club fighting. Also the 'Demo' physical-fitness-test Marine, that appeared on posters nationwide, providing many demonstrations.


Bill Miller has been an instructor trainer for U. S. Marines, military martial arts
programs worldwide and Police SWAT for over 50 years...

Honored with the induction into the Hall of Fame of, the International Association of Martial Artists. The World Karate Union's Hall of Fame. The Masters Hall of Fame. The Soke International Hall of Fame. Also featured in Black Belt magazine, with a five page story & photos of his style of Combat Karate & Street Survival. A combination of Karate, Judo & Jiu-Jitsu.

Bill also has an MBA, and three lifetime, college level, California teaching credentials, and is a former business management instructor at UCSD, La Jolla, National University, San Diego, the San Diego Community College District, and other universities. He also conducted business seminars for several corporations.

Around 1980, Bill started running and competing, he completed over fifty marathons and ultra endurance events. He finished the “Run to the Sun” on Maui, in August, coming in second in his age group 60-65, running up the “steepest paved road on earth,” 36.2 miles from sea level up to over 10,000 feet on Mt. Haleakala. Another mentionable event was his completion of the Western States 100 Ultra. This consists of 100 miles through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 4 days. Then at the age of 59, he's one of the oldest athletes to successfully complete the International 146 mile Death Valley Run; a sanctioned, by-invitation-only ultra-endurance event. It is in July with temperatures from 110 – 120 degrees; it starts from Badwater, Death Valley and goes to the Mt. Whitney Portal. He did this Death Valley Run twice! He believes that the pain endured in long distance running, in intense heat, develops an exceptionally powerful mind & body, as well as very strong character traits.

A short word from Bill Miller

"This style, is an instantaneous response to an attack by the bad guys... terrorists & thugs. It's a free flowing, continuous multi-combination of instantaneous strikes, with fists, elbows, sidehands, palmheels, hammerfists, feet, knees, legs, etc. By moving, hitting, whirling, kicking, spinning, throwing, striking, moving, sweeping, whirling, kicking, etc., until the bad guys are down.

From the moment you're attacked, or even better, you execute a preemptive strike and from the get-go, you're on the offensive and throwing them off balance as you attack them.

In this very dangerous world, both home and abroad, it is completely unrealistic to think that you will have the luxury of just fighting one bad guy... The terrorists and thugs will come at you in twos, threes and four or more... from all directions, like a pack of dogs... Be ready...

When your life or that of a loved one is on the line, it is far better, to be judged by 12, than carried by 6... "

Bill Miller & The Warrior Ethos… brings success in all endeavors

1. Live the warrior lifestyle… Bushido… the way of the warrior.

2. Awareness… always a 360… and never let your guard down.

3. Be ready to attack from any position and from any direction. The greatest samurai said: Let your everyday stance be your warrior stance, and let your warrior stance, be your everyday stance…

4. Practice, practice, practice… it’s the mother of perfection.

5. Raise your level of mental & physical strength, by going beyond the martial arts, by training in other sports, such as the marathon & ultras… learn how to endure & survive over extended periods of pain, over long distance adventures. Seek a worthy challenge.

6. Your legs should be about two thirds of your fighting system.

7. Be able to go from neutral to an awesome rage in a split second. Rage increases power and speed… But… your terrible rage must be controlled… learn control. Rage, focus on the enemy, explode, but control your actions… you’re a violent moving blur, striking, whirling, kicking, spinning, sweeping, hitting, throwing, moving…

8. Develop your warrior intuition… and go with your instincts… you must be able to spot the bad guys/gals, instantly & instinctively.

9. Practice fighting on your feet, because you can be the worlds greatest grappler, but while your down on the deck with one guy, the rest of the gang will be kicking your face in…

10. Learn how to move through many different environments, while  always aware & always in a relaxed & natural survival mode, the  low key 24/7 behavioral characteristics of the warrior lifestyle…

11. Strive for a long-term and healthy lifestyle, work out regularly  with weights, speed & balance… stay strong… the warrior ethos.

12. Become proficient with many different weapons/practice, and always carry a legal weapon in plain sight, i.e. cane/belt buckle.

13. Constantly practice the skills of fighting several of the enemy  simultaneously, as it’s unlikely that you’ll have the luxury of just fighting one bad guy at a time… explode into action w/a violent,  surprising preemptive strike… rage, focus, control… and win…

The great Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu said: “The greatest weapon on the field of battle… is surprise… preceded by the art of deception… and followed by the rapidity of the attack…” That sums up my fighting system…

Congratulations Marines, you’re the greatest fighting tribe in history.

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