Meet Mr.Gary Wilson 9th Degree Master of the Arts

Mr. Gary Wilson – A Legacy of Martial Arts Instruction

Mr. Gary Wilson’s Impactful Journey Through Martial Arts

Mr. Gary Wilson’s illustrious career in martial arts spans over three decades, leaving an indelible mark on various sectors, from instructing youth and adults to training law enforcement agencies and elite military units like Navy Seals, Border Patrol, US Customs, and Homeland Security. His expertise in personal protection stands out as exceptional, fostering a sense of security in those he guides. Based in the vibrant San Diego area, his teachings resonate globally through seminars and workshops.

Kenpo Mastery: The Art of Self-Defense and Discipline

A Blend of Mind, Body, and Spirit: Kenpo’s Self-Defense Approach

Mr. Wilson’s dedication to Kenpo self-defense extends beyond the physical realm, delving into the realms of mental resilience and spiritual growth. Kenpo, a martial arts style renowned for its applicability in real-world scenarios, forms the foundation of his teachings. With an emphasis on adapting to street encounters, American Family Kenpo Karate champions the principles of the 4.46 Original Kenpo Karate System.

Unveiling the Roots: Mr. Wilson’s Martial Arts Genesis

Embarking on his martial arts odyssey in January 1986, Mr. Wilson’s journey began with childhood admiration for Bruce Lee movies and Kung Fu series. Raised in a challenging neighborhood, his affinity for combat grew alongside his fascination with martial arts. Upon discovering an Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate school in Lemon Grove, California, under the mentorship of Darby Lee Darrow, Mr. Wilson honed his skills up to a 4th-degree black belt.

From Karate to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Mr. Wilson’s Versatile Training

Beyond Kenpo, Mr. Wilson’s commitment led him to delve into Brazilian jiu-jitsu, diversifying his expertise. Initially apprehensive due to misconceptions about Ed Parker’s identity, he embraced the Kenpo school wholeheartedly and credited it as the pivotal decision of his life. His rigorous training regimen, reminiscent of old-school approaches, fostered a level of dedication rarely seen today.

Ascension to Mastery: Mr. Wilson’s Unparalleled Achievements

Mr. Wilson’s journey toward mastery continued as he trained under the tutelage of Master Willy Steele, a first-generation Parker black belt, ascending to a remarkable 7th-degree black belt. Further honing his craft, he became a disciple of Senior Grandmaster Hebler, an Ed Parker Original from the 1950s. The first-ever legitimate recipient of fourth to 7th-degree black belts from Ed Parker, Senior Grandmaster Hebler played a pivotal role in Mr. Wilson’s journey to earning his 8th and 9th-degree black belts.

Pioneering Leadership: Mr. Wilson’s Association Initiatives

A prominent figure in the world of martial arts, Mr. Wilson served as the president of Dave Hebler’s Kenpo Karate Association. He also founded the Original Kenpo Karate Association (OKKA), a testament to his commitment to preserving and propagating the essence of authentic Kenpo principles. His legacy continues to inspire martial artists worldwide, a true embodiment of the art’s timeless philosophy.

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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Peter A Soto is a Black Belt with more than 20 years of experience, athlete, teacher and webmaster. Based in the city of San Diego, California.