Mr. Gary Wilson has been teaching for over 30 years to youth, adults, Law enforcement, Military, Navy Seals, Border Patrol, US Customs, Homeland Security, etc. His knowledge in personal Protection is one of the best. He teaches locally throughout the San Diego area. But also is available for seminars and workshops all over the world. Train your mind, body, and spirit in the ways of Kenpo self-defense, discipline, and physical fitness. Kenpo is a martial arts style that is successful in the streets today. American Family Kenpo Karate teaches the 4.46 Original Kenpo Karate System.
How long have you been in the world of Martial Arts and how did get started?
I started in January 1986, I always loved martial arts watching Bruce Lee movies and the Kung fu Series as a child is what created my interest. Along with growing up at a young age in a rough neighborhood, I found I enjoyed fighting. Not a good thing, but that was the way it was. So when I finally had some time on my hands and enough money to take lessons. I found an Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate school in Lemon Grove California The instructor was Darby Lee Darrow a first-generation Parker black belt. He was an awesome instructor my first teacher and he taught me all the material up to 4th black.
I also trained for about 7 1/2 years in Brazilian jujitsu. The funny thing was when I was looking for a karate school. I was expecting an oriental name and I did not know who Ed Parker was, so I was a little hesitant of going there. But it was the best decision I ever made in my life. Mr. Darrow was only able to promote me up to 2nd° black belt as the time restraints in the IKKA International Kenpo Karate Association between each belt level at the time. I was training six days a week and sometimes went down on the seventh day and practiced on my own. Or would get a few guys together and we would spar. It was old-school training much different than it is nowadays.
I don’t find anyone that wants to train as we did back in those days. From there I opened up my first school which was 840 ft. and later moved to a shopping center down the street it was a little larger and have recently moved to Casa de Oro/Spring Valley, Ca I also trained under Master Willy Steele a first-generation Parker black belt up through 7th° black and continued my training after that under Senior Grandmaster Hebler, an Ed Parker Original from the 1950s it was the first one Ed Parker ever promoted legitimately to fourth, fifth, sixth and 7th° black belt.
I received my 8th and my 9th° under Senior Grandmaster Hebler and have been a part of all of his associations. I was previously the president of Dave Hebler’s Kenpo Karate Association. And recently started the Original Kenpo Karate Association (OKKA)
Have you ever used Kenpo to defend yourself on the streets?
Yes, several times. And compared to being a streetfighter, Kenpo was definitely a great choice for me. I have found Kenpo to be extremely effective on the street against single opponents and multiple opponents. I’ve also trained in quite a few other systems I have not found anything for myself that compares to American Kenpo.
What is your favorite Kenpo Karate form?
- Form 4
Do you have favorite Kenpo Karate Self Defense Techniques?
- Yes, Five Swords, Five Count, Snapping Twig, Thundering Hammers to name a few.
How different is today’s Kenpo compared to the 80’s Kenpo?
- The percentage of people that want to train at the level we trained in the ’80s is almost nonexistent. People’s lives are much too busy nowadays and do not have time to put in what it takes to become a black belt training in the ’80s. Nor willing to receive the bumps bruises and broken bones that may occur and continue to train after. It’s a different lifestyle now I believe the computer technology world has changed what we do in our spare time. And what we are willing to do in our spare time utilizing what time we have.
When did you start teaching Kenpo Karate?
- Mr. Darrow let me start teaching at purple belt. But a purple belt in our school was pretty comparable to a lot of black belts in a lot of other schools as to the training we put in the hard work dedication and understanding of the material. I continued to teach for Mr. Darrow as much as I possibly could when I wasn’t teaching I was training if I wasn’t at work. Since the day I have never stopped teaching there is no week that goes by that I’m not on the floor for several days. I believe you get out of it what you put into it. I enjoy passing information onto others enjoy training with other instructors and exchanging ideas.
What do you do when you are not in the dojo training or teaching?
- I love spending time with family, doing computer work, learning to play the guitar, travel doing workshops, meeting with other school owners sharing knowledge. I also enjoy riding my Harley with other club members.
What would you say to the future generations who are interested in Kenpo?
- Train hard, earn your black belt, and never give up. A black belt is only the starting of your Journey. It’s not just a sport or activity but a way of life.
American Family Kenpo Karate
- 9621 Campo Road, Suite L. Casa de Oro/Spring Valley, Ca 91977
- Call or Text (619) 871-2022
- Visit our website here
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