Remembering Shihan Tom Serrano


The martial arts world and the Upland Shotokan Karate League Dojo has lost a true Budo warrior and friend.  I received a call on Wednesday, June 1st at around 7:30 AM from a close friend of Tom's (Eddie Morales), that Shihan Tom Serrano had passed early that morning.  Specifics of his passing were too early to determine. 

Tom had been a mentor and good friend of mine and of the USKL dojo family for many (30+) years.   Back in the 1980's early 90's we would have beach workouts and inter-dojo competitions and many a times afterwards we would celebrate the comradery between our dojos and our personal victories over pizza and a cold beer.  About five years ago, shortly after he had closed his renowned IKA dojo in Pasadena, I asked if he would like to teach once a month at our dojo in Upland.  Since then he had been among the rotating Senseis to look forward to training under on Tuesday nights. As a martial artist, Tom was trained by the best (Tony Tulleners and Tak Kubota).  He was a wonderful and insightful teacher and, as a result, produced some of the most impressive karate-ka around. He frequented many local tournaments and was a masterful head referee. 

As a person and friend, he was caring, positive, witty, and had an infectious smile and a great! sense of humor.  His last class at our dojo was on Tuesday, May 24th. I remember watching as he challenged our brown and black belts, pushing them to devise creative kumite strategies.  He was quite the motivator and taught with inspiration.  He would often share and reflect on the good-old-days of karate.  The martial arts were his life.  With passion and integrity he taught openly, sharing all of what had learned over a span of five decades along with the values the MA's have to offer. 

Our hearts go out to Shihan Serrano's son Jason, his family, and all of the IKA karate family.  Shihan Tom Serrano, you will be missed but not forgotten and the spirit with which you taught will be carried on. 

Osu!!!  With love, 

Shihan Ty Aponte and the entire USKL dojo


Dear friends, I was asked by the family of Shihan Tom Serrano to pass on this information.  See the link below to the family's GoFundMe campaign.

 Tom Serrano Memorial Fund

On June 1st, in the early, morning Thomas Serrano (Jason Serrano's father) unexpectedly passed away. Because of the unanticipated and sudden passing of Thomas, there are funeral and estate settlement costs that can't be covered. Any death can place an tremendous financial hardship on a family and an unexpected one, even more so. Jason has found himself not only coming to grips with the loss of his father but also with a new financial reality. If you know Jason, you know he would never ask for financial help, which is why we are asking on his behalf. Please consider making a donation - in any amount - to help Jason through this difficult time. Thank you for your generosity and good will.

Click here to support the Serrano Memorial Fund set up by Karen Yenofsky.