Born in Pittston and raised in Wyoming, Jim Ambrose began his athletic career on both the football and track teams at Wyoming High School. As well as lettering in both sports, he took second place honors in the district javelin event during his senior year. But Jim Ambrose is best known throughout the Wyoming Valley for his accomplishments in Shotokan Karate. Jim first got involved with the sport in 1960 while in Marine Corps basic training. Since then, over the past 30 years, he trained with world-renowned masters in the sport to achieve a Fifth Degree Black Belt, the highest ranking other than Master. He is the only person to hold this ranking in Northeastern Pennsylvania for the North American Karate Federation (NAKF). Jim suffered a serious back injury in 1978, and returned to competition after a 13-year layoff. He captured the National Title, the Pennsylvania State Title for three consecutive years and the East Coast Championships. Jim coached and competed with the gold medal winning United States Karate team at the first International Hard Contact Karate and Point Tournament, a 40-team competition in Kyoto, Japan. He won two gold medals in the MidAtiantic Regionals and took gold and silver medals in the Keystone State Games. Most recently, he captured a bronze medal in the 1992 National Championships held in Dallas, Texas. He has also fought in Madison Square Garden, the Manhattan Center of New York, the Palestra in Philadelphia, and in international competition in Japan. Jim represented the NAKF at the International World Tournament and was chosen for the 1964 Olympic Games by the Japan Karate Association.’ He presently trains with World Team Karate coach, Master Kazumi Tabata, whom he assisted in writing several books on Shotokan Karate. Jim has served on the Board of Directors of the NAKF for many years. He holds various degrees with the Japan Karate Federation and helped to organize the New England Collegiate Karate Conference, which includes Tufts University, Lowell Institute, MIT, Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts, Boston Uni-versity, Boston College, and Dartmouth University. Jim, who introduced Shotokan Karate to the Wyoming Valley, has coached many local athletes who have competed in state and national championships, and he coached the King’s College Karate Team, which placed first among 20 teams in the New England Karate Championships. He has guided youngsters in many local karate clubs, including King’s College Karate, Wilkes College Karate, Penn State Extension Troop, the Luzeme County Recreation Karate Club, and the Wyoming Valley Karate Club.
Currently, he coaches karate students at Danko’s Fitness Center in Plains and through the Wilkes-Barre YMCA Youth Program. A lifelong resident of the Wyoming Valley, Jim, 51, currently lives in Pittston, and has three grown children, James, Vincent, and Jami. He is the son of Rocco and the late Susan Ambrose.