PROFESSOR CHRISTOPER N. GEARY
The life of Christopher N. Geary encompasses many amazing achievements. He was the first to bring the art of Kempo/Kenpo to Omaha. He was teaching by age 23 and by age 27 his success as an instructor, martial artist and businessman helped him begin to create a network of independently owned and operated martial arts schools. Professor Geary is part of a lineage that dates back to the Japanese Samurai and the monks of the Shaolin Temple in China (525 A.D.) His advisor is Hanshi Lou Angel, a 10th degree black belt with over 50 years of martial arts experience.
"Professor Geary is a great martial artist and technician," Hanshi Angel says, "He has a good mind for business and is devoted to the students and the furthering of martial arts."
Professor Geary became a master in the martial arts at age 31 with the rank of Godan (5th degree black belt) and the title of Shihan (Master, Teacher of Teachers). He is one of a select few people in the world to have been tested and promoted to the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt) in not one but three styles of martial arts. This sort of feat traditionally takes 20 years of intensive study and practice in one system. He has done it in only 10 and in three styles at age 33! This is an astounding personal achievement. Many martial arts experts become adept at one style. Geary is an expert three times over. Clearly, he dedicates himself to achieving perfection in whatever he does. This quality was recognized in 2003 when the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame named him Master Instructor of the Year.
And he has gifted Omaha with the most beautiful yet rigorous Karate schools in the Midwest. An accomplished martial artist, Geary is as approachable as he is skilled. He answers his own phone at the school. He greets all new students and welcomes them to the dojo. He teaches his own classes.
His students, from the age of 3 to 63, have the opportunity to learn from one of the best.
The story of Christopher Nathan Geary begins in Des Moines, Iowa, where he was born June 8, 1971. In October 1978 he and his mother Belinda moved to Omaha to the historic Field Club area, a special place where he would later begin teaching.
His stepfather, Eric Barntsen, says that while growing up in Omaha, "Christopher dabbled in things. He tried different sports, but they were team sports and I think he really only wanted to compete with himself."
As a teenager, Geary's interest in martial arts first manifested itself when he walked 10 miles from his home to a movie theater in Bellevue to see a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.
A week after graduating high school in 1990, Geary left for the U.S. Marine Corps. He briefly studied Tae Kwon Do in Oakland, Calif., but felt the style was oriented towards children. The special flavor he sought was lacking.
Eventually stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Clemente, Calif., he found a martial arts school a couple of miles from base. While on leave in Omaha, he decided that upon his return to California, he would visit that Kempo school.
It was a decision that would change the course of his life forever.
His first Kempo instructor was Sensei Farzin Omidvar, a Sandan (3rd degree black belt). A combination of the environment, the instruction, the technique itself, and his own motivation and natural skill helped Geary excel.
After his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, he returned to Omaha to share with his home community the knowledge and treasures of Kempo. He began teaching on June 29, 1994 at the Field Club Elementary Schoolyard, becoming the first to bring the art of Kempo/Kenpo to the city. He was 23.
Since that day, Professor Geary has been responsible for exposing thousands of people in the Omaha metro area, from Omaha police officers, doctors and three mayors, to the art of Kempo/Kenpo Karate.
Upon his return to Omaha, he sought out 10th degree black belt Professor Nick Cerio and was awarded his first certificate of Dan rank for Shodan (1st degree black belt). Shortly thereafter, Professor Cerio acknowledged Geary as a Sensei (Instructor).
On October 1, 2002, Geary received the title of Shihan (Master, Teacher of Teachers) from Hanshi Angel. Hanshi Angel promoted Geary to the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt) on August 27, 2003 in the art of Christopher N. Geary's Shaolin Ch'uan Fa (Kempo).
In 2003, he stepped up preparations for opening schools outside the state of Nebraska. Geary personally oversees all black belt promotions from the corporate headquarters at 180th & Pacific Street in Omaha.
On August 30, 2003, he received the World Head of Family Sokeship Council International Martial Arts Hall of Fame Master Instructor of the Year award, earned for his accomplishments in the art of Shaolin Kempo. The prestigious international martial arts grandmasters council presented the award at the World Head of Family Sokeship Council's 10th anniversary celebration in Orlando, Fla.
Nomination from a council member, which came from Hanshi Angel, is the only way to be considered for any World Head of Family Sokeship Council award. Geary sought out 10th degree black belt Sijo Victor "Sonny" Gascon in 2002 as a historical link to his martial arts lineage. Sijo Gascon is credited with bringing the art of Shaolin Ch'uan Fa from Hawaii to the mainland United States and has been trained throughout his 50 years involvement, by martial arts greats including Adriano Emperado, John Leoning and the legendary David Nuuhiwa 12th Dan.
Sijo Gascon flew from Hawaii to Nebraska in March of 2004 to recognize Geary as a Rokudan (6th degree black belt) in Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu (Kenpo) with the title of Shihan.
At this time Geary was one of only 12 people ever promoted by Sijo Gascon to 6th degree black belt since he began teaching in 1958.
In June 2004, Hanshi Angel celebrated his 50th anniversary in the martial arts. Hanshi Angel, who also trained in Japan under the legendary Gogen Yamaguchi, has schools in 17 states and six foreign countries, from Omaha to Vienna, Austria. To mark this anniversary, a few students of Hanshi Angel's National College of Martial Arts Int'l (NCMA) wanted to test in front of Hanshi Angel and his senior black belts from around the world.
Geary was invited to be a part of this promotional board and was the youngest person selected. Opportunities like this allow Geary to continuously improve himself, his instructors, and the students at Christopher N. Geary's Shaolin Kempo Karate.
On Oct. 16, 2004, Hanshi Angel came to Omaha to promote Geary to the rank of Rokudan (6th degree black belt) in the art of Tenshi Goju Kai. Geary was one out of 20 to achieve this rank or higher in this art. Tenshi Goju Kai is Hanshi Angel's version of Goju-Ryu, the hard and soft system devised by Miyagi, whose Goju-Ryu Karate was featured in The Karate Kid movies.
Since he began teaching, Geary has promoted only five people to the rank of black belt. Earning a black belt is not to be taken lightly, and Professor Geary does not "give them away like candy". A black belt is a symbol of the essence, integrity, and good name of the art/school, as well as the person who wears it.
Geary is considered Omaha's Kempo/Kenpo authority. He has appeared on local television shows. He is actively involved in the community and has volunteered his time to teach self-defense. He taught a free safety awareness program for children. He has raised money for children's cancer funds.
On October 18, 2004, Geary received a teaching certificate from Sijo Victor "Sonny" Gascon allowing him to teach the art of Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu (Hawaiian and Shaolin Kempo). Geary became the first instructor to receive this prestigious teaching certificate in the state of Nebraska and in the entire Midwestern United States since the creation of the style five decades ago. These certificates are only issued to black belt instructors and individuals that Sijo Gascon has issued rank to.
On the teaching certificate, Geary was recognized and addressed with the title of Sigung. The title of Sigung is the Chinese (Cantonese) version of the Japanese title Shihan (Master, Teacher of Teachers). The title Sigung refer's to anyone who heads a Chinese martial arts system and or a head instructor who holds a masters rank of 6th or 7th degree black belt.
On June 29, 2005, 21 days after his 34th birthday and on the 11th anniversary of the founding of his schools, Geary was promoted to the rank of 7th Dan (Shichidan) in his art of Christopher N. Geary's Shaolin Ch'uan Fa by his advisor Hanshi Lou Angel. This was Geary's fourth promotion from Hanshi Angel in his art.
In July of 2005 Geary received the “School of the Year” award for 2004 from the Hawaii Martial Arts International Society and was honored by the same organization with the title of Professor, which is usually given to eighth-degree black belts. (As of July 2005, fewer than 10 people in the history of the Hawaii Martial Arts International Society had received this rank/title.)
Professor Jaime Abregana, Jr., Founder of the Hawaii Martial Arts International Society, explained that the Society had done a background check on Geary. Based on his outstanding accomplishments, credibility, commitment, and development of Kempo/Kenpo, Geary was awarded this prestigious title that is usually given at the rank of eighth degree. The diploma was presented to him personally at the Palama settlement (1896), a site of historical importance to the early martial arts development of Kempo/Kenpo in Hawaii, by Professor Jaime Abregana, Jr., and Professor John Pagdilao, the Society’s Co-Founder/President.
On August 2, 2005, Geary was again awarded the title of Professor from Hanshi Lou Angel. Hanshi Angel had awarded this title to only one other person prior to Geary.
On September 22, 2005, Geary was presented a proclamation by Governor Dave Heineman honoring October 15, 2005 as National Martial Arts Day in Nebraska.
On October 14, 2005, Geary demonstrated his martial arts technique for Ron Chapél, Ph.D., one of Ed Parker’s longtime students and the nation’s foremost authority on Sublevel-4 Kenpo™ Concepts. Dr. Chapél wrote the following summary: “After observing Professor Christopher N. Geary (Seventh-Degree Black Belt) as he executed various self-defense techniques, I am of the opinion that he has obtained a very proficient level of physical ability as well as an excellent ability to verbally explain the intricacies involved in execution of the technique. He has also demonstrated the ability to take what he has learned over a very long martial arts career and adapt it into a working system.”