The martial arts career of Sensei Thomas LaPuppet Carroll is legendary. He was a member of the Tong Dojo in Brooklyn and a member of their phenomenal demonstration team that performed at many events throughout the New York region during the early days of karate competition. Trained in the Shotokan system, his techniques were models of excellence for generations of karate students. As a fighter, he was exceptional, winning countless championship titles both here and abroad. His full-contact fighting team, the New York Puppets, was formidable. Sensei LaPuppet was named as one of the Top Ten Martial Artists in the United States, one of the Top Fifty Martial Artists in the World, and he was the second person inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Black Belt Hall of Fame.
After a stellar career as a fighter, Sensei LaPuppet began his involvement in the organizational aspects of karate, including participation in the effort to achieve Olympic recognition for karate. He was an executive officer of the USA Karate Federation and the US Jujitsu Federation and President of USA Karate of New York. He was a board member and Shihan of Kwanmukan International and a member of the Pan American Karate Federation. He was a nationally and internationally certified referee, Senior Coach for the USA Karate Federation’s national karate team and national Chief of Tournament Operations as well as a member of the World Karate Federation Organizing Committee for Olympic Development. Thomas LaPuppet Carroll was also inducted into the USA Karate Federation Hall of Fame and was a recipient of the USAKF Distinguished Service Award. He was one of the elite few to attain the rank of Hachidan (8th degree black belt) in karate, jujitsu and kenpo.
As an instructor, Sensei LaPuppet provided training for his own Ronin Shotokan Karate-Do group as well as for many other community-based programs. He privately trained former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netinyahu; Ralph Macchio, star of the Karate Kid movies; the late Steve McQueen and many other media personalities. He founded LaPuppet’s Ronin Shotokan Karate-Do, an organization that has produced numerous national champions and international competitors, as well as a number of exceptional first-generation dojos.
Sensei Thomas LaPuppet Carroll embodied the consummate martial artist. By any standard, he was one of the giants of our time. He will not be forgotten.