Posted by: John W. Zimmer
8 Sep 2007

My name is John Zimmer. I have studied and practiced karate since I was 10 years old. I started with a mail-order book called Ketsugo which was a beginning book on karate, savate and judo as I recall (don’t hold me to that) then Jukato and judo, karate and aikido. I then started with an Issian-ryu style in junior high-school and finally started with Tracy’s Karate Schools (learning Chinese Kenpo Karate) in 1976. My instructor is Richard (Dick) Willett who is a Grand Master in then Tracy’s Karate and now the American Kenpo Karate system.


I have competed in tournaments as well as worked as a bouncer in a bar. I have owned a karate school in El Cajon, California in 1982 – 1983. I consider myself a second generation fighter. The first generation fighters were the boxers of my father’s and grandfather’s era. The rules then were boys did not kick when fighting. The second generation in the 60′s through the 1990′s was karate/judo/aikido/mui tai and such. In my day (I most identify with the second generations fighters) karate was very popular and it was common to try and guess what martial art was the best.


John W. Zimmer

The 1980′s and beyond had a bunch of mixed martial art’s (MMA)competition starting as I recall with the tough man contests. Anyone could get in the ring and duke it out. After injuries that practice was not allowed in most areas due to the lack of rules to protect the fighters. MMA came into their own right with the ultimate fighting matches in the cage. The early bouts pointed out that jui-jitsu was a martial art to be reckoned with in any match.  Nowadays UFC and Pride are some of my favorite sporting matches. Martial arts have evolved from the old days of whose style is the best to what techniques work in that situation.


When I was teaching I enjoyed helping women and children learn how they could defend themselves in many instances. A person feels empowered when that have a fall back plan incase of attack. I have had a women student foil a gas station robbery! I will always try and inject realism into my blogs. Please respond to any topics that you find interesting.


John W. Zimmer  was promoted to Shichidan (7th degree black belt) in Dick Willett’s American Kenpo Karate (formerly Tracy’s Karate) and has been inducted as a Charter Member of the International Kenpo Hall of Fame in 2009. He (John W. Zimmer) has also received the American Kenpo Karate Association’s Lifetime Achievement award.


If you would like to email me, please use john.zimmer (the @ symbol) myselfdefenseblog.com