held in London Tower Hotel
Article by Jack Burns.

The London International Hall of Fame took place on the 2nd June at the Guoman Tower Hotel right within London’s most historical heartland. It was hosted for the second year by Grandmaster Gary Wasniewski, whose international reputation attracted martial artists from across the world, brought together to celebrate and share their wide ranging experience and knowledge.

Building on the success of the previous years inaugural event, this year’s Hall of Fame attracted an even larger attendance, receiving network coverage. A large number of martial artists, travelling from as far away as Russia, America and India, had come to learn from the masters present and expectations ran high from the start. Yet again the sun shone down on what was to be a memorable day, which began by showcasing the very best of worldwide mixed martial arts today.

Grandmaster Sri Dinesh from India opened the proceedings, displaying techniques from his unique martial yoga teachings, drawing upon both spiritual and mental strength. Master Yens Fricke from Germany gave a powerful display of police tactics techniques while Master Vitor Legarto demonstrated a range of Chinese Kempo skills. Grandmaster Jacques Levinet from France gave a display of highly effective self defence techniques. Master Keith Turner and Master Josie Murray, the TYGA jujitsu representatives for England and Ireland, demonstrated a variety of applications using jujitsu locks and throws. Reflecting the diversity of stylists present, Grandmaster Juerg Zeigler from Switzerland showed those present some excellent Hapkido techniques while Grandmaster Mark Shuey surprised the audience with his world class cane applications. Master Tony Leslie and Master Mark Murphy, dedicated and loyal TYGA students for over twenty years, demonstrated the effectiveness of TYGA kicking and self defence combinations.

Grandmaster Gary Wasniewski’s demonstration applied power and speed with pinpoint accuracy to deliver his no nonsense, devastating TYGA style of self defence. As Jason Kirk of Real Gainz Fitness magazine states: ‘Gary Wasniewski is a legend! The man is so fit and anybody that can throw a kick, hold it in the air and spell his name with his toes while his leg is above someone’s head deserves credit. Some say he’s the world’s greatest Kicker. I think they are right!’ Known also for his skills as a great showman it is no wonder that he will be starring in three movies based in New York and LA later this year – ‘The Matador’, ‘Revenge of the Grandmasters’ and ‘Fox Squad’.

The evening’s award ceremony was introduced by three demonstrations. Firstly a traditional Indian ritualistic dance by Sri Dinesh and his family, with peace offerings made to the audience. Secondly, all the way from Maryland, USA, Grandmaster Timothy Gilbert demonstrated a tonfa kata, giving an insight into this ancient Okinawan weapon. Finally, the TYGA World Champion, Master Tony Leslie, demonstrated one of the spectacularly dynamic TYGA kata.

The award ceremony itself celebrated the efforts and achievements of martial artists worldwide – from those who have been practicing for over forty years, with extensive experience and knowledge of their art, to junior students who have shown great commitment and effort in their early years and show such potential for the future.

The ceremony closed with comments from the high ranking members of the event, seated alongside Grandmaster Gary – Grandmasters Sri Dinesh, Alan Goldberg and Pete Ticali, congratulating the awardees and thanking the host for organising such an excellent and historic Hall of Fame.

Yet again this had proved to be a very special day in the calendar of world martial arts. As it grows each year this event sees martial artists gather together in good spirit inspired by it’s hosts example and vision for the future. If this is the way forward, exciting times certainly lie ahead!