Hanshi Gregory T. Johnson began his martial arts journey in Chicago, IL in August 1963 with Senpai Steve Hayward, Goju-Ryu Karatedo. Later that year he began Kyokushin Karatedo with the late Sensei Charles V. Gruzanski, 5th degree blackbelt, and one of Kancho Mas Oyama's first caucasian students. Hanshi Johnson was awarded 1st degree blackbelt in Kyokushin Karatedo in November 1966 and he has continued in this karate style to this day.

Throughout his martial arts career, Hanshi Johnson has been a steadfast Kyokushin Karatedo practitioner. He has attended nearly every one of Richard P. Baillargeon's NKJU summer camps since 1982 in order to increase his knowledge and expertise in karatedo. Among those with whom he has trained are: Richard P. Baillargeon, William K. Knoblock, Tola Lewis and Bill Wallace.

Hanshi Johnson is extremely proud of his students and the Southwest Academy of Kyokushin Karate celebrated its 47th Birthday on March 1, 2014 making his dojo the 2nd oldest in the Chicagoland area.

Among Hanshi's Notable Achievements Are:

  • March, 1967: Opened the Southwest Academy of Kyokushin Karatedo
  • April, 1971: Ranked 2nd degree blackbelt by Kyokushinkai IKO
  • April, 1972: Branch Chief/Certified Instructor Kyokushinkai IKO
  • October, 1972: Training seminar with Kancho Mas Oyama, Shihan T. Nakamura and Shihan Y. Oyama New York, NY
  • November, 1973: 3rd degree blackbelt Kyokushin Karatedo, U.S. Kyokushin Association
  • 1974-1977: As a police officer and Chief Instructor for the Chicago Police Academy, taught defensive tactics and martial arts to 3,000 police recruits
  • November, 1978: Visited the Kyokushinkai Hombu, met Kancho Mas Oyama and Hombu instructors
  • March, 1981: Joined the National Karate JiuJitsu Union and began training with Soke Richard P. Baillargeon
  • July, 1982: Promoted to 4th degree blackbelt by Soke Baillargeon
  • November, 1994: Promoted to 5th degree blackbelt by NKJU-I
  • July, 1995: Promoted to 6th degree blackbelt by NKJU-I
  • October, 1997: Formed the National Martial Arts Association with Shihans Sergio DeCasien, Lemuel "Doc" Stroud, Alan S. Gardner and Clayton Tucker. Promoted to 7th degree blackbelt and designated as NMAA Chairman
  • July 1999: Promoted to 8th degree blackbelt by NMAA and titled as Hanshi

Courtesy of Hanshi Gregory T. Johnson

Hanshi Johnson image

Hanshi Johnson with Mas Oyama

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