COLUMBIA, S.C. – Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Tom Mullikin has been nominated and unanimously selected for induction into the SOUTH CAROLINA BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME (SCBBHOF), the premier group of the most accomplished martial arts fighters either from or with strong connections to the Palmetto State.
“Tom Mullikin was an easy choice for us,” said Col. Steve Vitali, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), a 2017 inductee whose older brother Keith – also an SCBBHOF member – was ranked one of the ‘10 best fighters of all time,’ according to BLACK BELT magazine. “There are a lot of truly great fighters in South Carolina, but only a select few have thus far met the exacting standards of the Hall of Fame. Tom is one of those select few.”
According to Vitali, “Being a great fighter is not enough. Any fighter considered for the Hall of Fame must possess the requisite martial arts skills, and those skills must also be accompanied by extraordinary recognizable service to the state of South Carolina or the nation. That service may or may not be related to martial arts.”
A Camden-based attorney, global expedition leader, university professor, former U.S. Army JAG officer, retired commanding general of the S.C. State Guard, and recently appointed chairman of the S.C. Floodwater Commission, Mullikin has been a student of martial arts for nearly 40 years; having studied and practiced under martial arts masters throughout Asia and across North America. As a certified U.S. Army Master Fitness Trainer, Mullikin taught martial arts – self-defense combatives – to soldiers. He later founded the Mullikin Martial Arts Studio in Camden, and was the subject of a 2017 profile feature in BLACK BELT magazine, the world’s leading martial arts publication.
According to BLACK BELT, Mullikin is “a fighter indeed” and “an accomplished martial artist of several disciplines who holds a black belt in traditional karate,” adding, “His [Mullikin’s] smile, his fortitude, and yes, his sheer grit, all came from the discipline he learned as a young man – and has embraced his entire life – as a martial artist.”
Mullikin has not only applied his martial arts training and skills into traditional sport karate and instructing others in martial arts, but the techniques he has learned and fine-tuned through the discipline of martial arts conditioning have carried over into his mountain climbing and SCUBA training wherein he certifies SCUBA-diving students as “Ninja Divers” with a creative focus on traditional martial arts breathing practices.
“To be considered for inclusion in this esteemed body by several of the world’s greatest martial artists is an honor of a lifetime,” said Mullikin. “Now to learn that I will be inducted into the Hall of Fame is something I could have never imagined.”
Since its inception in the 1980’s (officially founded in 2012), the SCBBHOF has become one of the most-respected karate halls of fame in the nation. In addition to SCBBHOF president Mike Genova, the directors include “karate greats” like Keith and Steve Vitali, also Sam Chapman, Bobby Tucker, Bruce Brutschy, and Marty Knight.
Mullikin will be officially inducted in May.