Frederick “Skipper” Ingham

skipper inghamArguably Bermuda’s best known martial artist, Frederick “Skipper” Ingham has an impressive career that spans decades.

The winner of numerous international titles, he was inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame, is the first and only martial artist from Bermuda to be awarded the Queen’s Certificate and he is the first and only Bermudian featured on the cover of an international martial arts magazine.

Mr Ingham, best known as “Skipper”, opened up the island’s first martial arts school on Khyber Pass in the 70s, and is widely credited for being an instrumental force in the growth of martial arts in Bermuda’s history.

Born February 18, 1930 in Bermuda, he moved to New York in 1947, and through the 50s and 60s served in US Army, as a Merchant seaman and as a policeman. In 1970 he returned to Bermuda, and founded the Bermuda Karate Institute, becoming instrumental in promoting martial arts in Bermuda.

In addition to being featured on the cover of ‘Black Belt’ magazine, Mr Ingham has been written up in martial arts magazines in Italy, Malaysia and India, and featured in Ron Van Clief’s book “The Black Heroes of the Martial Arts” and cover article in “Traditional Karate” magazine.

He holds a tenth degree black belt in the USA Doju and a seventh degree in Okinawan doju. Showing himself to be one of Bermuda’s most enduring athletes, Mr Ingham still competes successfully in martial arts at the age of 80.

Click to enlarge images:

Some of his non-competitive accomplishments include:

  • Promoted the first public demonstration of self-defense in Bermuda in 1973
  • Promoted the first kung-fu/wu-shu exhibition in Bermuda in 1974
  • Headed the first Bermuda team in competition abroad in 1975
  • Promoted first international team competition in Bermuda in 1976
  • Promoted the first Bermuda Open Karate Championships in 1983
  • Promoted the first international professional karate competition in Bermuda from 1985-1988
  • Karate performer at “the Scene” run by Steve Paul in New York in 1967-9
  • Coached numerous top ranked martial artists over the years, local and international


  • Won his first open kata competition at the Battle of the Zodiac in New York [1980]
  • Ranked 6th in senior kata by PKL on North American open circuit [only Bermudian ever to achieve this] in 1988
  • Division winner and grandchampion runner-up at LAMA Nationals in Chicago [1989]
  • First place in senior kata division (for 9th and 10th dans only) at Gotay’s All Goju Invitational in New York [1993]
  • Second in senior forms at the Battle of Boston [1994]
  • First place of 15 masters in the senior kata division of Al Gotay’s All Golu Invitational In New York [1994]
  • Gold medal in senior forms at the Goodwill Tournament in Connecticut [1994]
  • First in over-35 kata at the Nisei Goju Open in New York [1995]
  • First in grandmasters kata at Welch’s All Okinawan/Japanese Karate Tournament in Washington, DC [1995]
  • First in over-35 kata at Canadian Karate Organization Open Championships in Ontario [1996]
  • First place in senior masters kata at the House of the Samurai Invitational in New Hampshire [1997]
  • First in over 50 kata at Battle of Boston [1998]
  • Senior forms grandchampion of WKO event in Curitiba, Brazil [1999]
  • First masters kata House of Samurai Londonderry, New Hampshire [1999]
  • First over 50 forms and third over 40 weapons Battle of Boston [1999]
  • Second masters forms Ocean State Grand Nationals, Providence, Rhode Island [2000]
  • Second masters forms Battle of Atlanta [2001]
  • Winner men’s forms over 40 John Chung’s World Cup finals, Washington, DC [2002]
  • Second men’s forms over 50 Don Rodrigues’ Ocean State Grandnationals, Rhode Island [2003]
  • Third over 50 forms Ocean State Grand Nationals [2003]
  • First over 50 forms and forms grandchampion John Chung’s World Cup Martial Arts Organization Finals [2004]
  • First over 40 forms John Chung’s World Cup Martial Arts Organization Finals [2005]
  • First in senior forms at Gary Alexander’s IAMA [2007]
  • First in senior forms at Gary Alexander’s IAMA [2008]
  • Second among men 5th dan and above at Al Gotay’s World Goju Karate Championships in New York [2009]
  • First at Gary Alexander’s 47th IAMA Championships in New Jersey [2009]
  • Third at Rick Diaz’ Karate Tournament of Champions in New York [2009]
  • Second at John Chung’s WCMAOFC in Reston, Virginia [2010]

The video below shows Mr. Ingham performing signature breathing kata at 46th IAMA on April 19, 2009:

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