Although he gained prominence as a world-renowned martial artist, Ted Tabura maintained the humility and simplicity of life that he grew up in on the island of Lanai and as a boarding student at Lahainaluna High School with the graduating class of 1958, along with his service in the U.S. military.
A disciple of Okinawa-te and one of the founders of the LimaLama style, Master Tabura became one of the world's highly respected and honored martial artists over his 50-year career in California.
He was featured in Black Belt, Karate Illustrated, Inside Kung-Fu, and many other publications and was recognized as the "Sickle Man" for his expertise in the art of the kama (Japanese sickle).
He was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame for Weapons Instructor of the Year.
His island-style charisma and martial arts expertise took him into the entertainment industry, where he appeared - oftentimes with his sons - on the big screen in "Little Ninjas" and "Big Trouble in Little China" and on television with appearances in "Knight Rider" and "Greatest American Hero" episodes.
Despite the fame he gained, Master Tabura maintained his love for his island home and brought that affection back to Lahaina by promoting the Festival of the Kings Martial Arts Tournament that ran for over 15 years in Kaanapali. This tournament was attended and enjoyed by competitors from Hawaii, Japan, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Canada and all across the Mainland United States.
Master Tabura passed away in August 2013 in California. He is survived by his wife, Lois; sons Barron and Casey; daughter Gordena (DeeDee) Gibbs; and siblings Sally (Cadiente), Helen, Ron, Brian and Valentia.
According to Lois, Master Tabura's dying request was to have his ashes scattered where he felt most at home: here in Lahaina.
To honor that request, a service is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Waiola Church at 535 Wainee St. in Lahaina. A celebration of life potluck will follow the service at the Na 'Aikane O Maui Cultural Center at 562 Front St. in Lahaina.
The family requests that no flowers be sent. Cards to honor Master Tabura may be sent in care of Loretta Romo at 1394 Ainakea St., Lahaina, HI 96761.
"He was a very approachable master who never forgot where he was from, and he was proud to be a boarder from Lahainaluna," said Lois. "He was simple in his philosophies but still mysterious in his ways."