|CHRISTOPHER N. GEARY
||PROFILE OF A MARTIAL ARTS MASTER
Chapter 1: Family History and Early Childhood
As a sign of respect for those who came before me, I decided to begin this book by providing information about both sides of my family. The remainder of the chapter describes events from my early childhood in Des Moines, Iowa, from birth to age seven.
Chapter 2: To be written...
Chapter 3: My Introduction to the Martial Arts
In the early 1990s, I was in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Clemente, CA. It was here that I began studying the art of Kempo Karate under Sensei Farzin Omidvar, whose school was part of the United Studios of Self Defense. This chapter describes my early training under Sensei Omidvar.
Chapter 4: A Lesson in Okinawa
My first overseas tour with the Marines took me to Okinawa and the Philippines. While I was in Okinawa, I had one lesson with a martial arts teacher who seemed intent on teaching me who the boss was. He didn’t seem to care about teaching me anything I could use. He made an appointment for another lesson but didn’t show up. I had only one lesson with this guy, but he taught me what not to do as a teacher.
Chapter 5: Back to California
After returning from overseas duty, I continued studying with Sensei Omidvar. During that time, I went to a martial arts tournament where I saw Professor Nick Cerio for the first time. It was around this time that I knew I wanted to teach. I went on a second tour of duty overseas, and when I returned to California I found that Sensei Omidvar was no longer with the school. I studied briefly with a female instructor named Taroze Vizier before I left California. In the late spring of 1994 I was honorably discharged from the Marines with a rank of E4 (Corporal). I also had my green-brown belt in Kempo Karate. I was proud of both accomplishments.
Chapter 6: My First Black Belt
Right after returning home to Omaha I began teaching Kempo Karate on June 29, 1994. I taught my first classes outside Field Club Elementary School, and then I moved the classes into the basement of a house where one of my students lived. On March 21, 1995 I opened my first school at 30th and Harney. I wanted to get my black belt, so I sent a video of my technique to Professor Nick Cerio. He promoted me from fourth kyu to first kyu. Six months later I tested again by video, and he promoted me to first-degree black belt on November 25, 1995.
Chapter 7: Growing a Business
As a new business owner, I learned the hard way about the financial realities of running a school, including the need for membership agreements. In 1998 I promoted Shawn Steiner to black belt, and he opened my second school in Omaha. He was the first student I promoted to black belt and the first to receive the title of Sensei and Shihan. In recognition for his accomplishments, I made him Vice President of my corporation.
Chapter 8: Hanshi Lou Angel
Hanshi Lou Angel had a major influence on my development as a martial artist, teacher, and businessman. This chapter provides a summary of Hanshi Angel’s remarkable career, which spans more than fifty years. It also looks at what I was able to accomplish through him in the five years that I was a member of the National College of Martial Arts (NCMA), Hanshi Angel's organization.
Chapter 9: The Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu Black Belt Society
While I was doing some research on the history and lineage of kempo/kenpo karate in the United States, I learned about the career of Sijo Victor "Sonny" Gascon, who is the founder of Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu. After reviewing my technique on video, Sonny Gascon decided to promote me to sixth-degree black belt in his art. He came to Omaha in 2004 with two members of his staff to do the promotion ceremony and to give a seminar for my students.
Chapter 10: Hawaii, Birthplace of Kempo Karate in the U.S.
In July 2005 I traveled to Hawaii with Shawn Steiner and Melvin Muhammad. While we were there, we met Professor Jaime Abregana, Jr., Founder of the Hawaii Martial Arts International Society, and Professor John Pagdilao, Co-Founder and President. They presented me with the “School of the Year” award and recognized me as a seventh-degree black belt with the title of Professor. Talking with Professor Abregana gave me a better understanding of the development of Kempo as it entered the U.S. through Hawaii and then spread throughout the country. Shortly after returning from Hawaii, I was promoted to the title of Professor by Hanshi Lou Angel.
Chapter 11: Looking from the Outside In
This chapter contains essays written by students throughout the years. These essays describe their impressions of the things that set my teaching style and my schools apart from other martial arts dojos.
Chapter 12: A Visit from Dr. Ron Chapél
In October 2005 I was privileged to learn from Ron Chapél, Ph.D., who flew in from California with one of his long-time students to give a weekend seminar on Sublevel-4 Techniques. With fifty years of experience as a martial artist and thirty years in the field of law enforcement, Dr. Chapél has a vast amount of knowledge to share. This chapter contains a summary of his many accomplishments. While he was in Omaha, Dr. Chapél was kind enough to review my martial arts technique and write a letter of recommendation.
Chapter 13: Messages from Within
Dreams can provide clues about who we are and what is important to us. In this chapter I describe some of my most vivid dreams. You can draw your own conclusions about their meaning.
Chapter 14: Reflections on Living a Meaningful Life
What kind of a legacy are we leaving for the next generation? Are we setting a good example or a bad one? In this chapter I discuss some conclusions I have reached about what makes life meaningful.
Chapter 15: Dr. Thomas H. Burdine/Soke
During the winter of 2006 I got in touch with Soke Thomas Burdine, the man who awarded Nick Cerio the title of Professor in 1989. After reviewing my qualifications, Soke Burdine decided to present me with an Honorary Seventh Dan in the art of Kempo. This was my first promotion from a Soke.
Chapter 16: Full Circle: My Training Method
As a teacher, I expect my students to work hard and achieve their full potential. That means holding them accountable when they are not doing as well as they should. In this chapter, I describe a teaching philosophy that I call the "light switch method." I also discuss the importance of self-discipline and integrity for everyone from students to "grand masters."
Chapter 17: Giving Back to the Community
A question from another martial arts teacher made me think about ways I have used my martial arts training to "give back" to the community. Even though the results have sometimes been disappointing, I have learned some valuable lessons along the way. These outreach efforts are the topic of this chapter.
Chapter 18: A Time for Change
During the spring of 2006 I decided that it was time to move in a new direction with my martial arts career. Over the summer I did some research on other organizations and grandmasters in various parts of the U.S. Effective September 1, 2006, I was honored to be promoted to tenth-degree black belt (the highest rank in the martial arts) by Dr. Keith Nesbitt, Sr., a world-renowned martial artist who holds tenth-degree black belt ranking in two systems. This promotion made me the second youngest person in the world to be promoted to tenth-degree black belt and the youngest person in the United States to be promoted to this rank by legitimate means.
Chapter 19: Promotions, Titles and Awards
Many of my students have asked me about my promotions to the various belt rankings, so I decided to write this chapter to trace my progression in the martial arts. The chapter begins with my entry into the martial arts and concludes with my most recent honors.
Chapter 20: Some Final Thoughts
In this final chapter of Book One of my autobiography, I decided to share some advice and encouragement based on my own experiences. I hope these thoughts will give a lift to anyone who is going through a rough time or looking for direction in life.
Chapter 21: World Karate Union Hall of Fame
On June 23, 2007, I received my third Hall of Fame award when I was inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame. This chapter describes the World Karate Union, its founders, and its philosophy of recognizing outstanding achievement in the martial arts.