History

Jhoon Rhee and Muhammad Ali1945 - The first Martial Arts school after WWII is opened in Korea by Grand Master Won Kook Lee. This is where Grand Master Jhoon Rhee began his Martial Arts training.

1955 - Korean Martial Arts leaders unify several schools and adopt the term "Tae Kwon Do". General Choi Hong Hi is elected as the first President of the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association.

1956 - Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, "Father of American Tae Kwon Do", introduces this Korean Martial Art to the U.S. when he attends Southwest Texas State College.

1960 - Grand Master Jhoon Rhee moves to Washington D.C. and establishes the Jhoon Rhee Institute. (JRI)

1961 - Grand Master Allen Steen is promoted to Black Belt by Grand Master Jhoon Rhee and opens the first professional karate school in Dallas, Texas.

1963 - Grand Master J. Pat Burleson, who received a Brown Belt while stationed in Okinawa, is promoted to Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do by Grand Master Jhoon Rhee and opens his first school
in Ft. Worth, Texas.

1964 - Grand Master J. Pat Burleson becomes the first National Karate Champion by winning the National Karate Championships held in Washington D.C..

1966 - Grand Master Charles (Chuck) Loven is promoted to Black Belt by Grand Master Jhoon Rhee and Grand Master Pat Burleson.

  • Grand Master Loven starts teaching at the Worth Health Studios in Haltom City, Texas a suburb of Ft. Worth.

1967 - January 3, 18 year old Pat Worley enrolls at Worth Health Studios and begins his Martial Arts training at the Worth Health Studios under Grand Master Chuck Loven.

1967 - March, John Worley joins his brother at the Worth Health Studios

  • Gary Hestilow (18 years old) is a Brown Belt when Pat and John Worley enroll.

1968 - Larry Carnahan (17 years old) enrolls at the same school. Grand Master Chuck Loven and Gary Hestilow are his instructors. Pat and John Worley are Brown Belts.

Worley with Jhoon Rhee1969 - April, John and Pat Worley are promoted to First Degree Black Belt in Los Angeles, California by a panel of top national Black Belts including Grand Master Allen Steen, Grand Master Mike Stone and future film star Grand Master Chuck Norris.

1969 - September 13, Gordon Franks takes his first lesson at the JRI in Washington, DC. Grand Master Rhee teaches the class.

1970 - John and Pat Worley move to Washington D.C. to teach for Grand Master Jhoon Rhee at the JRI.

1970 - Pat Worley becomes the 4th person to win the National Karate Championships, the same tournament that Grand Master Burleson won in 1964, and is crowned 1970 National Karate Champion.

1970 - Larry Carnahan is promoted to First Degree Black Belt by Grand Master Pat Burleson, Grand Master Allen Steen and Gary Hestilow.

1970 - Gordon Franks at 14 begins Martial Arts training at the JRI in Marlow Heights under Pat Worley.

1971 - Gary Hestilow moves to Washington D.C. to teach at the JRI.

1972 - Larry Carnahan moves to Washington D.C. to teach at the JRI.

1972 - Gordon Franks wins1st place in Philadelphia by defeating Michael Warren, considered by all to be the best fighter in the country.

1973 - John Worley and Gary Hestilow move to Minnesota to open a JRI in Bloomington, MN.

1973 - Gordon Franks moves to Minnesota to attend Carlton College and trains at the JRI in MN.

1974 - Pat Worley moves to Minnesota to open a second JRI and to join John Worley, Gary Hestilow and Gordon Franks.

  • Gordon Franks defeats #1 rated Howard Jackson at the Top Ten Nationals in St. Louis.
  • Pat Worley is rated as the #6 top fighter in the US by Karate Illustrated Magazine.
  • Pat Worley, Gordon Franks, John Worley and Gary Hestilow perform the first Musical Team Form at the Battle of Atlanta Karate Championships to the song, "Beethoven's 5th"
  • Gordon Franks is rated # 2 in the world rankings in the Super Lightweight division by Professional Karate magazine.

1975 - September 21, Gordon Franks defeats Mexican Champion Ramiro Guzman to become the Professional Karate Association (PKA) World Super Lightweight Champion.Franks vs Guzman

This is significant for three important reasons:

  1. He is the first to win a world championship on foreign soil,
  2. He is the first black man to win a world championship
  3. He is the youngest person to win a world title.

1977 - Larry Carnahan moves to Mn and joins Pat Worley, Gordon Franks, John Worley and Gary Hestilow.

1977 - Pat Worley is rated as the # 1 contender to the World Middle weight title in Full Contact Karate held by Bill "Superfoot" Wallace.

  • CBS airs the World Title fight between Pat Worley and Bill Wallace. Wallace wins.

1977 to 1978 - The first Diamond National Karate Championships is promoted in St. Paul, Minnesota.

1979 - Larry Carnahan is rated the # 3 ranked World lightweight full-contact fighter by the PKA.

1979 - Mid America Karate schools pioneer technology in the martial arts industry by purchasing a major computer system and customized software to run the multi-school operation.

1979 to 1985 - John Worley is vice-president of the Los Angeles based (PKA) where he works as an expert color commentator for televised kickboxing shows.

1980 - Gary Hestilow moves to Oklahoma City to join Century Martial Arts Supply where he will later become president of the company.

Hall Of Fame

1984 - The Mid-America Karate School organization owned by Gordon Franks, Pat Worley, John Worley, and Larry Carnahan, and is split into two separate companies:

  • USA Karate School - owned by Pat Worley and Gordon Franks
  • National Karate School - owned by John Worley and Larry Carnahan.

2007 - September, Pat Worley, Gordon Franks, John Worley and Larry Carnahan are promoted to 9th Degree Black Belt by Grand Master J. Pat Burleson.

2009 - Pat Worley is inducted into the Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame.

2014 - April, Pat Worley, Gordon Franks, John Worley and Larry Carnahan are Promted to 10th Degree Black Belt by Grand Master J. Pat Burleson.

Want more? Read "The Official History of Karate in America" by Al Wiess or "Martial Arts: Tradition, History, People"  by John Corcoran and Emil Farkas.