The 3rd London International Martial Arts “Hall Of Fame.”
Hosted By The World’s Greatest Kicker Grandmaster Gary Wasniewski. By “Hall Of Fame Master Of The Year” Dave Gentry 4TH Dan Black Belt Kickboxing Instructor.

On Saturday 10th May 2008 some of the world’s greatest martial artists gathered together at The Tower Guoman Hotel, London, England. The venue was next to the Tower Of London, Tower Bridge and overlooking the River Thames on a glorious sunny day, to not only honour the awardees, but to also celebrate martial arts as a whole. Once again Grandmaster Wasniewski had chosen like the previous two years the best day so far weather wise in the year, not only a gifted martial artist but also now known as an excellent weather forecaster, so check the site for next year’s event and book a weekend away, your guaranteed the weather will be excellent!

Grandmaster Gary Wasniewski is a 10th Dan Karate black belt and founder of the TYGA and the Hall Of Fame in Great Britain. Gary was a former all styles martial arts world champion and is recognised worldwide for his incredible kicking ability and widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest exponents of kicking. Most people find it hard to pronounce Gary’s name, he will hold his foot by your head and spell it for you. These skills have led Gary to his first Hollywood martial arts movie “Thunderkick” staring himself and veteran Hollywood actor Mel Novak, with a sequel soon to be in the making. He has appeared on many front covers of martial arts magazines around the world and has also received awards from all the major Halls Of Fame worldwide. Gary’s TYGA system not only encompasses his original style of Karate but also integrates the teaching of freestyle kickboxing and Jujitsu. He believes that all styles of martial arts should be respected and accepted by all styles, with no one system thinking they are the best and have a common goal to promote the great teachings of martial arts around the globe. This way of thinking and years of worldwide travelling of meeting some of the world’s greatest exponents of martial arts, led Grandmaster Wasniewski to begin the London International Martial Arts Hall Of Fame in 2006.
The day began at 10am with the gathering of martial artists from Great Britain, USA, Germany, India, Russia, France, Italy, Portugal, the Philippines, Brazil and many other nations. Grandmaster Sri Dinish from India opened up proceedings with a blessing for the day’s events. This was followed by a series of half hour seminars from some of the grandmasters of varying styles of martial arts, all of exceptional expertise. There were three really outstanding displays on the day. The first was by Capitaine Jacques Levinet of France, who specialises in law enforcement operational techniques in street confrontation with every move beginning and ending with control or neutralization of the aggressor. Capitaine Levinet gave an awesome display with the use of hand techniques by taking the aggressor to the ground, choke holds, striking, leg and arm locks and defending against multiple attackers with unbelievable ease, skill and speed. This was followed by similar moves but with the use of a tonfa, sticks and walking stick. A truly amazing display of how to use martial arts in street self defence, of the like of which I have never witnessed before. Capitane Levinet travels the world teaching his skills to law enforcement agencies, especially to the New York Police Department in the United States.

The second seminar that really stuck in my mind was by Dr. Germon “Mamma G” Miller from the United States, who after first meeting her, seemed a very quiet laid back woman, how wrong was I! “Mamma G” introduced herself as a martial arts scientist in a very loud and flamboyant fashion that immediately caught the attention of all attendees. The half hour seminar was based around her multi-cultural lineage from her West Indian and Jewish elders, and at one point she had everybody chanting Zulu war chants, stating that well trained Zulu warriors would run 50 miles, fight and then run back 50 miles, how many current martial artists of today could do that! This was followed by a sensational display of her many martial arts skills of over 78 varying styles that she has learnt over the years. At one point “Mamma G” crossed her big toe over the next two inner toes stating that she could hold blades between her feet, and if she kicked you, she would cut you, wow Scary! “Mamma G” Miller has brought much needed information with regard to her Afrikan history around the world through expert seminars and as a world class competitor. She has accredited over 1700 trophies, 4 gold medals, 2 world titles, trained the German Military Martial Arts Team for 4 years with a winning record of 27-0 and most recently at the age of 53, captured the Grand Championship Diamond Ring at the 2006 Battle of Baltimore against men half her age. This is only a very brief account of her many achievements, a remarkable spirited woman who you could quite easily write a very interesting book about.

The third outstanding seminar was by the host of the day Grandmaster Gary Wasniewski. This article is called the “Gathering” like in the film Highlander, and as the film suggests “there can be only one”, and on this day it was Gary Wasniewski himself. Gary gave a display of supreme leg kicks of varying techniques with speed, power and pinpoint precision, finishing off with the trademark spelling of his name with his leg 6ft in the air and toes tapping the side of a student’s head with each letter. Gary has a very charismatic way of teaching that captivates an audience’s full attention and combined with his phenomenal kicking ability makes him a supreme martial artist. It is no wonder that he is well renowned and breaking into the film industry.

The evening events kicked off around 7pm with once again a blessing by Sri Dinesh, followed by some superb demonstrations of varying martial arts by Grandmaster Tony Leslie and the indomitable figure of “Mamma G” Miller and her equally brilliant assistant. This was followed by a lavish three course meal and the beginning of the evening’s presentations to the awardees. There were many categories that included Grandmaster of the Year, Master of the Year, Special Merit Award, Dedication to Martial Arts and Fighter of the Year that were received by martial artists from around the world. A full list of winners will appear in the near future on the TY-GA website. I received Master of the Year along with Tony Johnson of The Anglo Japanese Bujutsu Association who also received lifetime membership to the Global Black Belt Society. John Ritschel received Fighter of the Year Award and trains in Hapkido and PKA kickboxing. Mike Gingel from Judo and Jason Kirk from PKA kickboxing received Dedication to Martial Arts Award.

Compared to Seni a few weeks earlier, this event was a breath of fresh air. Seni has seemed to lose its track of the early days were it used to promote all styles of martial arts, these days it just seems to promote MMA submission fighting and the sale of MMA “T” shirts. Don’t get me wrong, I am a great fan of MMA and attend the exciting Cage Rage on a regular basis, but was expecting more than what is now known in the martial arts circle as the MMA “T” shirt show. Whereas the 3rd London International Martial Arts Hall Of Fame was a great advert to martial arts worldwide due to the expertise of the day’s participants and varying styles unified under one roof. It was an honour to be one of the awardees at this prestigious event, with the day being a great credit to Grandmaster Gary Wasniewski’s vision of worldwide unified martial arts. Well done Gary!