I’m the First Person Of Iranian Descent to be Inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame

On Saturday, May 19th, I was the first person of Iranian descent to be inducted into the prestigious USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame at their gala at the Doubletree Hilton in Los Angeles. Many celebrities and luminaries in the martial arts world were inducted as well, so I was truly in great company and I was bestowed with the Trailblazer Award. So all those kickboxing classes paid off!

Other celebrities awarded at the gala were legendary actor and master Stephen Lang (Avatar), legendary action star Mel Novak (Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, Steve McQueen: American Icon opposite Mel Gibson), legendary action star Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop 1 and 2, Sky opposite Norman Reedus), multi award-winning actress, model and martial artist Dawna Lee Heising (Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance opposite Tommy Wiseau, Nemesis 5: The New Model), multi award-winning filmmaker Thomas J. Churchill (Check Point, Nation’s Fire), former five time world kickboxing champion and former four time sport karate champion and filmmaker Robert Parham, five time world karate kick champion and action star Kathy Long, filmmaker and martial Art Camacho, grandmaster Eric Lee, master and action hero Dan Southworth (The Scorpion King), actress Joycelyne Lew (The Big Brawl), master Brian Kula Fung, martial artist and performer Alan Koa, martial artist and dancer Michelle Manu, and Dr. Robert Goldman as well as special guest of honor and creator of the TV series Kung Fu, Ed Spielman and many more.

This renowned Hall of Fame was founded by Grandmaster Jim Thomas, Ph.D./D.Sc./Ma.Dsc. Dr. Thomas is a 10th degree grand master and is recognized as one of 20 worldwide. He has been active in the martial arts for over half a century. In addition to serving as the head coach for Team USA, he was inducted into 6 various martial arts ‘Hall of Fame’ institutions and listed in ‘Who’s – Who’ in the world of Martial Arts. Grandmaster Thomas has won over 200 awards and trophies and served in the U.S. Air Force for 7 years during the Vietnam Evacuation Era. He was a former athlete for the USA World Class Competition Team and has appeared in over 8 Martial Arts Motions pictures.

The U.S.A. Martial Arts ‘Hall of Fame’ “Hall of Heroes” was originally created in 1976 by Grand Master Robert Trias, the first man to open a martial arts school in the U.S. In its beginning it was very small in nature and was done spontaneously at various Martial Arts functions. Grandmaster Thomas and Mike Day were called upon to orchestrate this function into what it is today. Even with the passing of Grandmaster Trias and Day, Thomas has kept this event alive himself and includes new exciting things each and every year! This event actually spans three days from May 19th to May 21st with seminars and classes and the gala being on the 19th.

More info about the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame at https://www.usamartialartshalloffame.com/
All photos courtesy of Dan Kennedy and David Edwards/Daily Celeb

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