Under: karate
21 Nov 2007

I remember Steve Anderson when I was fighting white belt at open karate tournaments! He (Steve) was a brown belt that was dominating the division! Steve seemed to be at every tournament I went to (I went to about four a year) and almost always won first place. He went to every nearby tournament he could and I would guess the number to be 30 or more a year!

  

Orned “Chicken” Gabriel was Richard “Dick” Willett’s (Tracy’s Karate at that time) student who started the United Karate Federation in San Diego. Chicken was Steve Anderson’s instructor. Steve went on to get his black belt and dominated the black belt division for about 10 years! No one has consistently won as may tournaments as Steve Anderson! 

  

I remember working out at then Larry McCraw’s (school) Tracy’s Karate in El Cajon in the early 80’s with Steve. I was a new black belt and was trying to fight rounds with Steve and Larry. I did ok but noticed that Steve had an uncanny way of figuring out how to get his strikes in on me. One day Larry did not make a workout and I discovered what great shape Steve was in. I went over five rounds and was tired, but Steve wanted to keep going. We ended up working for another three or four rounds but I was little more then a semi-moving punching bag at that point. :)

  



Steve came from strong roots with Chicken – a top rated fighter that won a full contact championship in Japan – and as I recall from his acounts, Steve was a strong wrestler before he took karate. Steve is currently running studios in Canada. I strongly urge anyone near his locations, that wants to learn tournament (or any kind of) fighting to visit his site. 

  

I fought Steve a couple of times in tournaments but lost both times. One time I was close in points. The only thing I found that worked against Steve was to take the fight to him. Steve had reach on me easily so my strategy on the close fight was to either tie him up (meaning punch the same time he was) or use angular attacks (came at him and away at angles) to slip inside. Steve was a very savvy fighter and could rapidly adept to different strategies to get the win.

  

The thing that most stands out in my memory was the room he kept to put all of his trophies. Larry told me that he had so many trophies that he devoted a room in his house just for trophy storage! If you are interested in learning more – Black Belt Magazine did an interview with Steve that gives a good overview of his tournament days. One comment he made in that interview (paraphrasing) was that he tried to focus on not letting his opponents get points on him as he was winning more. I remember Steve attending a Joe Lewis Seminar in San Diego (former world heavy weight full contact champion in the 70’s) where Joe challenged us to not only focus on scoring points – but also work on critical distance to keep points from getting scored on us.

  

Anyway – I guess you know how I feel about having the privilege of knowing, learning and fighting with Steve Anderson. I doubt we will see anyone dominating the tournament scene like he did again.


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56 Responses to “Steve “Nasty” Anderson – Top Fighter in the 80’s!”

  1. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Victor!

    Cool – let me know if you hear from him. I’ve not seen Larry since he was just starting a second career in power lifting!

  2. al hernandez Says:

    Let me first say what an awsome job and service you have done especialy for us older students from the old days 70″s and 80″s. You help to fill in the gaps thank you so much. My name is Al Hernandez and Orned (Chicken) Gabriel was and still is my personal trainer and instructor even tho I live in Austin Texas. Iam in contact with him by phone and mail often and I am planing to visit Him in San Diego Ca.In the near future.On june 5″ (Fith) 2009 I was Promoted to the rank of SHODAN (First DEGREE BLACK BELT) Something I have always yearned for every since I met him (Chicken). He was just amazing to wacth (Especialy In forms).He is also my spritual adviser (Brother In Christ)All Praise Due. Secondly I have allways seen the improvements he has bestowed upon child/students I donot recall any of them getting in trouble at home or more inportantly at school. for this I comend you very much. As for his martial arts? let his record speak for itself.And not to mention his adult students beginng with my former sparring partner the incredabel Steve (Nasty) Anderson 1O Times World Champion. And the list goes on and on. God Bless you Orned (chicken) Gabriel. You and your”s are always in my prayers. To Mr.John W.Zimmer I hope someday to meet and once again thank you for all you do to keep us all in contact with our fellow martial arts Family. Sincerly Mr. Karate AL From Cal. (Karateal60@Yahoo.com)

  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Al,

    It is good to see you here. I have always loved Chicken! His fighting amazed me when I used to spar with him and he has turned out so many great fighters. Let me know when you get into town!

  4. AL Hernandez Says:

    Hey!!! Steve I am still in awe of that unexpected ‘Spinning Rear Kick’You placed on my Chest back in 1973 National City (UKF)Thursday Night Sparring Class. But I am also in awe of the statement You made Al I picket that one up from wacthing you at the tournements I have seen you use it and SCORE,OFTEN!!! What an awesome complement comming from such an incredabelMARTIAL ARTIST’Steve you ROCK and ROCK and ROCK Again and AGAIN Stay Strong. I am planning to vist Chicken soon and hope to see you there I am living in Austin,Tx.(karateal60@yahoo.com)Pease,lOVE AND Unity!!! Take Care, Ever in TEXAS AUSTIN give me a call (512) 6539671 I will show you the ROPES!!!

  5. Tony Pablo Says:

    Hello Luis!!! You may not remember me. I was part of Karate Club Cuahtli with you, Carlos, Reny, Resty, Lap, and Terry. I was online to see if Mr. Murphy was still teaching. I typed in ‘Cuahtli’ and found this blog. Man, I miss those days. Stay in touch if you have the time.

    Hello John, Thank you for this blog. A lot of your friends names bring back memories. Terry was like a dad to us. We students of Terry were so far ahead in terms of preparation for full contact because that was how he trained us. Terry instilled confidence in me because of his teaching. I knew I would be able to defend myself. When we could not practice at the national city garage anymore, Terry took us to Tracy’s on El Cajon Blvd. I was with that bunch of kids with Terry that you saw. That was so cool of Dick to take us in. Dick Willet does not know me from a fly on the wall, but I remember him as very fast, strong, and a gentleman. I stopped training for a while; A few years later I began training with Lap when he opened up his school near the DMV in Chula Vista. I wanted to fight my ‘ten’ so Lap agreed to train me. Terry came in to train me also; my side still hurts because I accidently hit Pops in the face (Go hard with Pops but don’t hit him in the face). Later, I was told that Lap died. I took Lap’s death hard…so hard that I didn’t want to train anymore nor practice for a long, long time. Now I have two beautiful daughters that are interested in the Chinese and Japanese cultures. I took them to Pete’s studio (Chinese Karate Federation) last week to watch him teach. My next move is to go to Eagle Trading to buy their Gis and fill out paperwork for Pete so they can begin their lessons. I can see now that I am almost coming full circle. Kenpo techniques a very beautiful. Lap taught me Bookset then Tiger and Crane back in the day…It was difficult for me to learn because I came from a ‘hard’ Japanese style (Wado Kai) yet eventually I did learn them. Don’t ask me to do them now; I wouldn’t know where to start. Seeing my girls wanting to learn from Pete has perked my desire once again. My sparring days are over but I do want to learn the techniques so I may take advantage of Pete’s family discount. In sum, I just want to thank you again John for your blog; it is wonderful to hear how everybody is doing. If you come in contact with Terry, please give him my regards. John, you take care as well and as Pete said to me a long time back, ‘Keep Kicking’. Peace

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Good to hear from you Tony! It is good so hear/see old friends. Terry is still training at Todd’s (Dicks old studio). Pete is a good man and it is full circle to have your kids training. I remember the old days when Renie, Dave,James, Brian and I fought in the internationals on a brown belt team. Those were the days. To have some of that youth again. :)