Martial Artist • Entrepreneur • Author • Film Producer
Don Warrener began his martial arts training in 1966 under Benny Allen, a student of Masami Tsuroka. Winning the Canadian Championships in 1968 at McMaster University and the Eastern Canadian Championships in 1973, Don went on to be the first person inducted into the Guiness World Book of Records for brick-breaking when he smashed 3,744 bricks in 4 hours and 40 minutes.
Don was introduced to Richard Kim – "the 20th Century Samurai" – in 1973 by Benny Allen. Don continued as Sensei Kim's student until 2001, when the Master passed away. He has also received instruction from notable Masters, including Hidetaka Nishiyama, Chuck Merriman, Gogen Yamaguchi, Goshi Yamaguchi, Morio Higaonna, Dr. Dom Lopez and Hirokazu Kanazawa.
In 1980, Don was the first person in North America to teach business seminars. He went on to establish Masters Publication in 1981, a company devoted to publishing books on martial arts. He also established the first Martial Arts College in North America when he and his students restored the historic Hamilton Custom House between 1985 and 1991.
Then in 1998, Don made a radical move – he sold everything and moved to California where he established Rising Sun Productions, with action film director, Isaac Florentine. Presently, they have over 900 different titles to their credit.
Don has personally written close to 20 different titles on various arts and Masters, like Chojun Miyagi, Richard Kim and Gogen Yamaguchi. He presently acts as Jean Claude Van Damme's liaison to the martial arts world.
The Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame was the brainchild of Don Warrener, and he contacted long-time friend, Wally Slocki, to get it off the ground.
Some of Don's senior students include Paul Gillrie, Phil McColl, Conroy Copeland, John and Colin Arnold, Tosha Lord, Tracy Warrener, Dave Turkoski, Christina Magliocco, Vic Granic, Tom Burtnik, Layton Morrison, Dr. Sam Mossaed, and Terry O'Donnell.
Competitor • Instructor • Author
Cezar Borkowski has some forty-five years experience studying, researching and teaching martial arts.
In 1972, he established Northern Karate – one of the most successful, well-respected martial arts and personal development organizations in the world, with more then 7,000 active students.
A former internationally-ranked competitor, Cezar was six-time Canadian Champion. He was rated #1 by the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA), and he has received hundreds of awards, trophies and medals.
In addition to dozens of articles for a variety of martial arts publications, Borkowski authored Modern Shotokan Karate and co-authored best-selling The Complete Idiot's Guide to Martial Arts. He also researched and edited The History and Traditions of Okinawan Martial Arts.
Cezar's videotape credits include Kobudo Weapons, Winning Point, Essential Okinawan Kobudo and Northern Karate 13 DVDs Series.
Cezar has been featured in international magazines (Japan, England, Germany, Sweden, India and France), newspapers, and on radio and television. He lectures on a wide range of martial arts and related topics at events around the world.
His greatest influences over the years have been Masami Tsuroka and Robert Dalgleish. His principal teachers in the 1980s and 90s were Okinawa-based teachers, Nagamine Shoshin, Nakasone Jyoen, Hokama Tetsuhiro, Shiroma Kiyanori, Kinjo Masakazu, Kishaba Chogi, Tomimoto Yohei and Guru Mohamid Kamin of Singapore.
His senior students include Steve Oulis, Marion Manzo, Michael Walsh, Tony LaSelva, Cos Vona, Domenic Moscone, Vince Servello, Eric Vinagreiro and Sandro Siminetta.
Martin and Michael McNamara
Identical twin brothers, Martin and Michael McNamara joined a karate club in 1965 where they stayed until 1970 when they achieved the rank of Shodan.
They competed in martial art tournaments throughout the United States, winning their fair share of trophies and, on many occasions, found themselves fighting each other for first and second place trophies.
Paul Moran took the twins under his wing and wisdom until a car accident ended his life far too soon.
With the Twins tough background growing up in Belfast, Ireland, coupled with their small stature, they decided to move on from a traditional hard karate style and found Paul Chan, their new kung fu Master, at the famous Hung Luck club in Toronto. The styles were so different and the best thing to do was keep the best and forget the rest.
The Twins received their Red Sashes some years later and once again decided that if styles were to be changed and re-invented, it was time to go out on their own.
Twin Dragon Kung-Fu & Kick-Boxing club was established in 1972, named after its sibling founders. The twins were ahead of their time, getting the first boxing ring and combining hard karate, kung fu, boxing and kick-boxing together which resulted in producing many professional kick-boxing world champions.
The brothers have also inspired and taught thousands of students over the years – most not getting involved in the contact side of the sport but gaining strength both physically and mentally through the twins' notorious hard classes which demands 100% effort and sweat!
At their peak, the twins had ten Martial Arts schools in Ontario and are still a force to be respected.
Martial Arts Adventurer
Born 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica, Don James immigrated to Canada in 1962 with his younger sister to reunite with their mother.
Throughout his adolescent years, he was to discover and learn about the Civil Rights process in a different cultural mix, and a different education system.
His initiation into adulthood was punctuated by a four-against-one assault resulting in a two-month recovery. Often, good comes out of unfortunate occurrences. A reunion with old schoolmate Wally Slocki, lead to the next phase into his early adult journey. Wally was a Canadian Karate Champion, and at Don's request for a school to learn self-defense, he recommended Park Jong Soo TKD.
Following the journey that began in 1970 and lasted until 1979, Don went independent. But, not before learning the finer aspects of Tae Kwon-Do.
Don accumulated Ontario, Canadian, North American and World Championship titles. More than the titles, there were the exchanges and friendships he acquired throughout the 1970s and beyond, during his independent years that just cannot be replaced.
Don's independent years contained a five-year session of running a Tae Kwon-Do Dojang/School, acquiring Honours Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and Education, followed by a full-time position within the Education System teaching Visual Arts, Special Education, English, Photography and Guidance, and teaching Tae Kwon-Do as an extra-curricular activity.
Since then, another learning process has been taking shape.
The offer of induction into "The Canadian Black-Belt Hall of Fame" is but a sign-post – a punctuation – as he continues on his journey through Life.
Harry S. Villeneuve's illustrious career began in 1965 when he was just 18 years old. He received his black belt in 1968 from Sensei André Langelier and opened his first karate club in 1969.
His notorious fighting career began in 1968 and continued on for many years while winning championships all over the world.
Among his many accomplishments, he was crowned champion three years at the Canadian Karate Championship; crowned champion seven times (five times in a row) at the Quebec Karate Championship (once being handed his trophy by Pierre-Elliott Trudeau, then Prime Minister of Canada); champion at the International Karate Championship in Toronto and, in 1976, won the Coupe de France de Karate in Le Mans while beating Chuck Norris. Twice nominated and once crowned best Quebec athlete at the Gala de la Médaille d'Or in Montreal and 4 times at the prestigious Gala Julien-Daoust in Ottawa.
He received his 7th degree Black Belt, in 1987 from Master Bill Zahopoulos of the International Federation Okinawa TE.
His karate school was well-known with a reputation of producing many great karate champions. Harry also produced several martial arts and kickboxing events with John Thérien.
Raynald Campbell has been one of Canada's premier fighters now for more then 30 years.
Born in 1953, he began his karate training in Shotokan karate in 1971 under one of French Canada's premier instructors, Pierre Joyal of Montreal, Quebec. Winner of not one or two, but three major Championships and in three different styles of fighting, World Amateur Kickboxing Organization (WAKO) light contact, the National Karate Association (NKA) traditional, and the famous full contact events of the far East – the Koshiki World Challenge.
Raynald is still teaching and still competing and still winning after 40 years of participation. On top of all these accomplishments, Raynald has, for more then 15 years, represented the province of Quebec and Canada in many international events under the leadership of Hall of Fame member, Fern Cleroux. Raynald Campbell is one of Canada's top fighters and is one of the truly good guys in the martial arts.
Martial Arts Promoter
Gord Martineau began his martial arts training in 1971 while in Montreal, Quebec. In 1974, while living in Toronto, he studied Tae Kwon Do and, finally, in 1982, he was introduced to Wally Slocki who he has been training with ever since.
A well-known television celebrity in Toronto and across Canada, Martineau has used his celebrity status to help promote martial arts at every opportunity that presented itself, whether it be reporting from a tournament, a special event or a fund raiser. Gord has always been there for the martial arts.
He credits his martial arts training to giving him the confidence, focus and self-discipline to be able to reach the high level he has in the communication business. The key to successful martial arts training is tied directly to the quality of instruction and he wants to personally say thank you to Mr. Wally Slocki for teaching him to deal with the stress and obstacles that have presented themselves to him over the years. Plus, of course, the excellent martial arts skills he has been able to develop.
He looks forward to many more years of involvement in martial arts. Until the English language comes up with a better phrase then thank you he simply and humbly says "thank you very much" to the CBBHoF for this prestigious recognition
Friend of Martial Arts
Born in Toronto, Dr. Murray has been a friend of the highest order to the martial arts community for many years.
He has served as medical director, team physician, and tournament physician for Karate Ontario, and The National Karate Association of Canada on many occasions. He has also aided many open tournaments and international tournaments over the years with his professional help.
Dr. Murray has also represented Team Canada at both the Pan American Karate Federation and at World Karate Federation events all over the world. Dr. Murray has helped many competitors in a time of need and for this we wish to express our gratitude and appreciation.
The martial arts community in Canada need more like Dr. Murray with his selfless contributions and professional support.