Mixing Martial Arts - Personal Growth and Evolution

Gene Dunn

I am extremely proud and happy to see the recognition of one of my favorite martial arts comrades today. I want to talk about it a little because i think there are lessons in there for all of us. Gene Dunn, US National Karate champion and Renzo Gracie black belt was inducted into The US Karate Federation Hall of Fame for his outstanding career in the 80’s and 90’s where he was a feared champion. As a champion in his sport he could have stayed there and had a very successful career on that alone - but when the MMA revolution began in 1992 he came out of his comfort zone and at a relatively late age started BJJ as a white belt at the same time I started. We went from white belt to black belt together. As we progressed and senior students left to open their own schools, I became the night time time enforcer and Mr Dunn was the day time enforcer at a time when you had to prove to a skeptical martial arts world that Jiu Jitsu really worked. Mr Dunn’s introduction to martial arts came from need - he grew up in the mean streets of 1970-80’s NYC - a very different place from today. To put things in perspective, 1990-1 when I arrived NYC had 2245 murders, last year less than 250. Mr Dunn saw martial arts as a route to survival in a very tough city. His training and demeanor reflected that. Now Mr Dunn is a teacher. He runs a very successful set of schools in Brooklyn NY teaching Jiu Jitsu and Karate together. Interestingly he has continued his evolution as a teacher. As an athlete it was always about being the toughest fellow in the room - but as a teacher he saw that he need to appeal to the people who NEED MARTIAL ARTS THE MOST - the weaker, smaller, less confident - and building them into a new, more powerful future where they can take the knowledge of his lifetime in martial arts and become better, more confident and skilled people both in the dojo and everyday life. Congratulations Gene Dunn @gene_dunn_ @brooklynbjjYou joined different martial arts, unified them, excelled at them and now pass them on to others. Great to see you get recognized for all you have done for US Karate, for RGA and your many students