- Kris'tina I. Ackerman
was born in Paris, Kentucky and raised in Millersburg, Kentucky. Born James Milton Kelly to Arnita and Eichler Kelly, he spent his childhood between San Diego, California, where his father ran a locker club for navy personnel, and Kentucky, where he excelled in sports throughout high school. He later attended the University of Louisville on a football scholarship, but left during his freshman year.
In 1964 Kelly began training in the Okinawan shorin-ryu style of martial arts, instructed by Parker Sheltin in Lexington, Kentucky, where he received his green belt. He met and married his girlfriend Marilyn Dishman in 1967 and in the same year the couple had their only child Sabrena Kelly kept practicing karate and later trained and taught in Chicago where he received his brown belt He and Marilyn divorced soon after After moving to San Diego Kelly earned his black belt under Sgt LeRoy Edwards ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.