Hanshi Michael Garner

crimson1a015001Sensei (instructor of Japanese Arts) Sifu (instructor of Chinese Arts) Michael William Garner was born in Chicago, Illinois. He moved with his parents to Atlanta, Georgia while in primary school and was introduced to the martial arts around 1969 by Sensei John Chambers, one of the first multiple black belt holders in the U.S. Shihan (master level) Sensei Garner has studied Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido, Tae kwon do, Kung fu, Full-contact Kick-boxing, Arnis, Ninjutsu, Karate, Kobudo, Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu and several other styles of diverse combat arts. He was trained by authentic Asian martial arts masters and has worked-out with noted celebrities such as Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, Cynthia Rothrock, and Ernie Reyes Sr. & Jr. He also worked back-stage security for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” tour. In 1976, he met Master Harold Long at his Knoxville dojo, fell in love with Isshinryu Karate, and ended-up joining Master J. C. Burris’ Maryville Dojo under Sensei Lewis Simmerly. In his Isshinryu training he was honored to train under more than eight of Master Tatsuo Shimabuku’s personal students. He founded the Sevier County Martial Arts Club in 1979 that he moved to the community center in Sevierville, Tennessee by 1983. After Sensei Simmerly’s retirement, Sensei Garner was invited to train with Master Angi Uezu and Master Kichiro Shimabuku of Okinawa. By 1992, Sensei Garner had captured 3 triple-crowns (1st place in fighting, forms, and weapons) in major martial arts tournaments including the East Coast Championships and was featured as the cover story for national martial arts magazines. By 1995 he had earned master’s degrees in Wu Xing Chuan Five Animals Kung Fu as well as Isshinryu Karate and Kobudo, and a Kiyoshi Shihan (second level master) status in various classical jujutsu and samurai weapons arts. He was one of the first civilians to receive A.S.P. certification from the Knoxville Police Department as well as college credit for his martial arts studies and was one of the first in the Southeastern United States who was certified to award college credit in martial arts. He has taught at Maryville College, Pellissippi State, Tusculum College, and Walter’s State Community College. In fact, Sensei Garner was named Instructor of the Year at Maryville College for his karate instruction Since 1979, he has worked with area police departments, Sexual Assault Crisis Centers, the Tanasi Girl Scouts, D.A.R.E., and local psychiatric staffs to provide self-defense seminars and demonstrations for the general public. Being raised in Chicago and Atlanta and attending schools with quite a bit of drug and teen gang activity, he is also known for his lectures to youngsters on the dangers that abound during youth. Sensei Garner is Dean and Chief Instructor for the Tennessee Martial Arts University which has held classes at the Sevierville Community Center, Gatlinburg Community Center, Knoxville Karate Academy, White Bluff Karate Academy, and since 1995 at TMA University Hombu (headquarters) in Seymour, Tennessee. Through the years, Sensei Garner has instructed literally thousands of people in the martial arts and has produced over 70 noted black belt holders in Karate, Jujutsu, and Kung Fu. Sensei Garner is also an award winning professional graphic designer and an avid Japanese gardener. In addition to his master’s degrees in martial arts, he also holds a B.S. Degree in Organizational Management and Associate Degrees in Engineering and Graphic Design. By 1990, Sensei Garner began public display of the “Pictorial History of Isshinryu” (the largest known collection of Isshinryu Karate related photographs in the world). By 1993, he had completed a series of video tapes which the world famous International Isshinryu Karate Association endorsed as “the standard” for the weapons kata of the Isshinryu system and ended up in Japan’s Budokan Library. In 1994, he began structuring the framework for the American DaiHashi Ryu Kobudo Association which later became the United States Traditional Martial Artist Society www.ustmas.com). His complete “Bubishi Hashi” was first produced in 1995 that this text was based upon. Around 2005, Shihan Garner met with Hanshi (Grand Master) George Alexander whom he found with a dojo similar to his own less than fifty miles south of TMA University. Master Alexander, while lecturing in TMA U’s memorial training garden commented that Shihan Garner had created a very “serene and traditional school” as well as an unsung “museum of martial arts.” Shihan Garner has inherited a certified Hanshi red belt and was presented with weapons once belonging to Ryu Kyu Kobudo’s Founder Shinken Taira and Isshinryu’s founding master Tatsuo Shimabuku, awarded the singular American leadership of the Xiao Yang Jiating Five Animals Kung Fu System, and developed Daihashiryu Bushi-Do and Jujutsu from various traditional Samurai arts such as Katori Shinto Ryu. However, he refuses to claim any ranks beyond that which are obtainable until his age exceeds that which tradition dictates. Today, instructors and students of the martial arts continue to seek him out for his seminars and instruction in the art, science, and sport of the martial ways. The Shihan Sensei especially enjoys researching and teaching the history and philosophy of the arts. His most popular training seminars are Basic Self Defense, Avoiding Sexual Assault, Empty-Hand Against Weapons, JuJitsu for the Street, Self-Defense for Kids, Classical Weapons, Kata Presentation, and Formal Bunkai. The ten main weapons Shihan Garner teaches in his seminars are 1) Bo, 2) Sai, 3) Tonfa, 4) Nunchaku, 5) Kama, 6) Samurai Daito, 7) Jo, 8) Arnis Sticks, 9) Chinese Straight Sword, 10) Chinese Broad Sword. Sensei Garner also likes to train with his personal students on the Butterfly Swords, Butterfly Knives, Hooked Swords, Chinese Pu Dao, Naginata and Ninja Shuriken. At the time of this publication he resides in the Smoky Mountain foothills with his wife, Shifu Melissa and their children.