Grandmaster Gary Amen
USA Representative of the USIMAA
Unlike many current martial arts instructors, Grandmaster Amen has had the privilege to train under and alongside many of the great pioneers in modern martial arts. After eight years of training, he began his instruction in Tang Soo Do under Master Andy Ah Po and Master Fred Kenyon in the 1970s, a turning point in his life. What these masters taught him formed the basis of his unique style, and catapulted him towards the level he has reached today.
For example, he was inspired by watching Master Ah Po, an expert at breaking bricks and boards using inner chi; he then learned to use inner chi in himself to create more impact power and resistance to harm. He was further inspired by watching Master Fred Kenyon break rocks with his bare hands. Another highlight from that time was developing his organizational skills with Master Ah Po by hosting a tournament with him and Ron Marchini.
In the early 1980s, he tested in one of Chuck Norris's first shools in Lakewood, California. He later had the honor of training some of Chuck Noris's instructors. He competed in tournaments in the 1970s and into the 1990s, winning many of them, but his first masters taught him what was most important was what you know, not how many medals you have.
After going up through the ranks over the years with Master Kenyon, Grandmaster Charles Dixon then took him from master level to senior master to 8th dan. Gary Amen became a Professor in Tang Soo Do in 1995 as authorized by the Shinjimasu International Karate-Do Goju Ryu Martial Arts Association.
He became a Grandmaster (10th degree black belt) in the 1990s, certified by Grandmaster Frank Dux and many other grandmasters, and again by the Black Dragon Fighting Society. He was honored to work with Grandmaster Frank Dux on demonstrations and the pre-production phase of a martial arts movie. He enjoyed taking his students to tournaments organized by Grandmaster Cecil Peoples. He also enjoyed working with Eric Lee, Bob Wall, and Bill Ryusaki to promote deserving black belts to masters. Later, he had the honor of meeting Bill "Super Foot" Wallace in a karate tournament.
As an independent instructor under contract, he trained United States Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Green Berets, and police officers and their families offbase and on-base at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, from 1990 to 2005. He taught police and soldiers how to take down opponents in battle situations using hand-to-hand combat with knives, guns, sticks, clubs, and batons. His training methods used simulated weapons initially, progressing to real weapons as students became more skilled. During these years, he did many demonstrations for Navy personnel, including generals and admirals.
Grandmaster Amen also was honored to conduct a demonstration for a Jerry Lewis telethon for muscular dystrophy, breaking boards with his pinkie finger.
He has been inducted into the Golden Globe Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 1998, as well as the World Soke Council in 1996. He was honored again when he was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame's Hall of Heroes in 2010 and 2011, and when he was inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame in 2011. He received another 10th dan in 2011 from Grandmaster Charles Dixon, in Goju Ryu. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Asian Martial Arts Study in 2011.
He also was the head instructor of his company, Grandmaster Amen's Warrior Academy, where he taught hundreds of children and adults through Chula Vista Parks & Recreation from 2004-2013. He is very honored to now have his own studio called Martial Arts Warriors Academy, which he runs with a partner, Senior Master Joe Gonzalez.
Martial arts are Grandmaster Amen's passion and life's work. He loves to watch his students grow and prosper, as they learn multiple martial arts styles blended together. He is committed to passing on to others what martial arts have given him-the gifts of dedication, humility, strength, respect, and honor.