Morris Lawrence III
Occupation: Instructor at the Ann Arbor Karate Club
How did you first get involved with karate? My father took us to see Bruce Lee movies at the drive-in movie theater. When I was sixteen, my brother and I decided to start karate. We used to go to the YMCA as kids, so we checked there first and have been there ever since. My start date was January 26, 1981. I will always remember my very first karate class. I was both scared and excited…in that order! It’s very important for martial artists to never forget what it was like to be a beginner.
Even though you are a chief instructor, we all have something we could improve on. What can you still learn about karate? Oh man, everything! There’s still so much to do and learn…the list would be too long! Sensei (teacher) in my opinion means, “Been there, done that, do it again, one more time, keep at it, keep learning, keep training.” I’m still a student and always will be.
Your father, Morris Lawrence Jr., was the jazz director of Washtenaw Community College. Did his music influence your life growing up? We called him “Doc!” My father was known as the man with the “infectious smile.” His music did influence me, but even more of an influence was his character—my mom’s, as well. They worked together, always. His music not only included the performers, but also the listeners. “To be one in feeling, thought and deed,” is our Lawrence Family Motto. “Be masters of what you do,” my father would teach us all. It’s the same for karate, and how I instruct. Everyone is important and we all come up together.
If you could change, improve, or add something to the city/culture of Ann Arbor, what would it be? THE ROADS! More seriously, we are lucky to live in the city of Ann Arbor, where it’s diverse, atypical (as my father would say), and you can be you. That said, we have to make sure we treat each other well, listen to each other, and be even more understanding during the crazy times. Bottom line: be nice!
Meet Morris Lawrence and kickstart your way to fitness at the Ann Arbor Karate Club. See class schedules @