Past Events – 2016 January – Seminar Gold Tree Martial Arts

Gold Tree Martial Arts Open Black Belt Seminar

 January 16, 2016


Gene Thorner – Shodai

Gene Thorner

6th Degree Black Belt in Judo  /  Ku Dan Shorin-Ryu Karate

Grand Master of Gyaku-Nami-Do Karate – Lakeland, FL

Class:  “Judo – Olympic Sport with throws, chokes, and arm locks”

Master Thorner began his Martial Arts training when he was six years old. He started going with his father to Judo in Naha, Okinawa taught by Fukushima, Sensei  and then later at the Age of 11 went to Naha Airbase Gym under 3rd Dan Jesus Varella .  He started Karate at the age of 11 under the direction of 4th Dan Master Shuguro Nakazato in Makiminato, Okinawa, Japan.  Before leaving Okinawa, Shodai Thorner earned the ranks of Sho Dan (1st Degree Black Belt) in both Shorinryu Karate and in Kodokan Judo. His Shodan certification in Judo comes from the Kodokan, Japan and his promotion in Kobashiryu Shorinryu Karate from Shuguro Nagazato. Also earned his Sho Dan in Aikido under Sensei Ed Baker (6th Dan) and in Kobujutsu (weaponry) under Shuguro Nakazato, Sensei and O-Sensei Premru.

Shodai Thorner came to America in 1967, and in 1969 began training under Soke Glenn R. Premru (Head of the Okinawan Karate Federation and successor to Hohan Soken Sensei, the Grand Master of Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu), and earned the rank of Hachi Dan (9th Degree Black Belt) from Soke Premru.  In 1970, Shodai Thorner began training in Pai-Lum Kung-Fu under the direction of Grand Master Daniel K. Pai, and was accepted as one of Lung Pai’s original ten disciples which was given the name of CouPo Pai (Encountering Spirit).  Shodai Thorner is also an original member of the Master’s World of Karate & Kung-Fu World Tour (1972-1975), which was produced by Soke Premru & featured Lung Pai.

Currently, Shodai Thorner holds the ranks of 6th Degree Black Belt in Judo, 6th Level Instructor in Pai-Lum Kung-Fu, 6th Level Instructor in Southern Chinese Kempo, 2nd Degree Black Belt in Goshin Jujutsu, 6th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Kobudo and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Aikido.

Master Thorner has been responsible for providing security for such high-profile touring bands as Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart…  Shodai Thorner is also actively a USA Judo Regional Judo Referee and ASMA Class A Karate Referee.

Shodai Thorner is the Grand Master of Gyaku-Nami-Do Karate, 6 times WV AAU Judo State Champion (1969-1974), and 3 times Master National Judo Champion and is the Chairman of the Board of the Association of the Schools of Martial Arts (ASMA).

Shodai Thorner will be teaching Judo… an Olympic sport that was developed from the techniques of Ju-Jitsu by Dr. Jigoro Kano.  Master Kano removed all of the techniques that were considered to be “too dangerous” and stressed the development of “strong character”.  In this way, the combat art was elevated into a finer moral concept, based on “Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort”.  Judo places its major emphasis on Throwing Techniques and Hold-Downs (pins).

Shodai Thorner will be going over some basic throws, hold downs, chokes and arm locks. He will also go over some Judo competition rules. Since Judo is a Dynamic Art/Sport he will teach some Rondori (free play) tactics as well.

Shorikan Dojo

Shorikan Dojo Facebook


Phil Peplinski – Kwan Jang NimPhil Peplinski Gold Tree Black Belt Seminar

Owner and Head Instructor of US Taekwondo-Hapkido Martial Arts and Combatives school. Seffner, FL.

Class: “Precision Striking for pain compliance and knockout”

Phil Peplinski is the owner and Head Instructor of US Taekwondo Hapkido martial arts school in Seffner, FL. Mr. Peplinski holds black belts in Taekwondo, Hapkido, Torite-jutsu and founder of Practical Hapkido, the result of more than 28 years of martial arts, tactical weapons, and defensive tactics training. His school has produced the most certified Torite-jutsu black belts in the entire world.

Master Peplinski, who serves on the Board of Directors of the American Hapkido Federation, was honored as the 2010 WHOFSC Black Belt Hall of Fame Outstanding Contributions to the Martial Arts Award and the 2006 World Head of Family Sokeship Council Black Belt Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year Award. He is a Featured Dragon Society International Certified Instructor and serves as the Korean Arts, Tactical Combatives, and Advanced Pressure-Point Theory and Application Advisor for The Willow-Oak Martialist Academy. Phil is also the Chief Combatives Instructional Officer with Marshall Protection & Investigation/Marshall Services as a well as a Certified Abduction Prevention Instructor. He was a presenter at the Central Florida Tactical Conference 2010, 2011, and 2012. In 2014 became a certified NRA pistol instructor. In 2013 Phil Peplinski also became a certified School Attacker Response Course instructor.

Master Peplinski served 8 years with the U.S. Air Force, with duties including Law Enforcement and Combat Photographer, with a focus on Criminal Investigation, Autopsy, Accident Investigation, and In-Flight Photography. Phil worked Emergency Room Security with Tampa General Hospital where he took control of prisoners for medical clearance, controlled psychiatric patients, and maintained a secure environment in the Level 1 Trauma Center. He has since provided training in tactical weapons and defensive tactics, instructed a SWAT unit, and provided training services for nightclub security (including the largest nightclub in Tampa).

US Tae Kwon Do / Hapkido

Get Freaky at the Tiki – Combatives Bar Room Training


Dr. Jerome BarberDr Jerome Barber

Grand Master, Datu, Principal Teacher at Independent Escrima-Kenpo-Arnis Associates Buffalo/Niagara, New York

Class: “Blunt weapon strikes, counters, and disarms”

Founded and wrote the academic curriculum for the four (4) course sequence of Self Defense classes at Erie Community College/ South Campus.

PE 200 – Basic Kenpo-Arnis for Self Defense
PE 201 – Escrima-Arnis for Self Defense
PE 220 – Paradigm Escrima & Modern Arnis for Self Defense
PE 221 – Escrima-Kenpo-Arnis for Advanced Self Defense

The entire curriculum has been recognized by the following martial arts Grandmasters

Professor Remy Presas, International Modern Arnis Federation – 1989
Punong Guro Tom Bolden American Modern Arnis Associates  – 1992
Al Tracy, Tracy System of Kenpo – 1992

The ECC program is just 1 of 2 college credit bearing martial arts programs in the USA. It is the only college credit program in the Filipino Martial Arts, outside of the Philippines.

Martial Arts Publications:

Filipino Martial Arts Magazine
Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia, Volume One, and A-Q
Inside Kung Fu
Filipino Martial Arts Digest
Filipino Martial Arts Informative


Gregory NabelGreg Nabel

Florida Dept Corrections, Academy Instructor – Retired

Master Practitioner; Tae Kwon Do, Qigong, Hapkido, HoShinSul Founder – TahChiDo System – Farmingdale, NY

“Accountability to the Law – Responsibility to Self and Others”

Florida Department of Corrections, Captain (ret).

  • 1983 Advanced Supervisory Training
  • 1984 Advanced Discipline and Confinement Techniques
  • 1985 Advanced Special Tactical Problems
  • 1985 Advanced Self Defense and Use of Force
  • 1986 Advanced Emergency Preparedness
  • 1988 Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT).
  • 1996 Defensive Tactics Instructor


  • 1993 Associates in Science: Criminal Justice.
  • 2009 Bachelor of Science: Interdisciplinary Studies: World Governments & Global Religions.
  • 2013 Master of Arts: Psychology: International Leadership; Cultural

Diversity, Intercontinental Governing and Religious Entities.

Martial Arts and Sciences

  • 1986 Tae Kwon Do (TKD) student: Grand Master Lee, Jung Nam
  • 1987 Outstanding Student Achievement TKD Moo Duk Kwon
  • 1987 Masters Martial Arts Seminar: Ft. Myers, Fl.
    • Yang Ahn, GM Il Hee Cho,
    • GM Kwna Jo Choi, GM Bong Soo Han
    • GM Jin Jung, GM Jung Nam Lee,  GM Sang Kyu Shim
  • 1988 Outstanding Student Achievement TKD Moo Duk Kwon
  • 1988 1st Degree Black Belt; TKD; GM Jung Nam Lee
  • 1990 2nd Degree Black Belt; TKD, Qigong; GM Sung Jay Choi
  • 1992 3rd Degree Black Belt; TKD, Qigong; GM Sung Jay Choi
  • 1992 Qigong (Vibrating Palm Techniques); GM Sung Jay Choi
  • 1992 Record Forearm break 15 concrete Slabs (10x15x2”thick).
  • 1993 3rd Degree Black Belt; TKD, GM Dr. James Dussalt. #2332115-3
  • 1993 Founder TAH Chi Do Systems, (TKD, Acupressure, Ho Shin Sul).
  • 1993 Pan-Am Junior and Masters TKD Championships; Silver medal (w/w).
  • 1993 Record Forearm Break 23 Concrete Long Bricks (3’long X 3”high X 4”wide).
  • 1994 3rd Degree Black Belt Hap Ki Do, GM In Sun Seo. #94-3-117
    • GM Pelligrino, John: Combat Hap Ki Do
  • 1997 4th Degree Black Belt; GM Duk Gun Kwon; Kukkiwon.
  • 1998 Holistic Therapist Qigong; Lehigh Acres Medical & Rehabilitation Center, Fl.
  • 2006 5th Degree Black Belt TKD; GM Hong, Kukkiwon #05064895.

Organization History / Affiliations

  • World TKD Association, Kukkiwon: #05064895
  • Korean HanMinJok Hapkido Federation: #94-3-117
  • Kukkiwon Recommender Membership #US004352
  • US TKD Union
  • Advocate Liason  Fl PBA 1981-97 (Al Shopp, Charlie Maddox).
  • FCCD.  Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency,  (T.R. Page).
  • Florida Department of Corrections (Hendry Correctional Institution/HnCI).
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

John Wilkerson

John Wilkerson HapkidoOwner Senior Instructor – Gold Tree Martial Arts – Hapkido, Tae Kwon Do, Escrima, Karate – Lakeland FL.

Class: “Cane 101 – Blocks, strikes, trips, counters

Mr. Wilkerson began his training in Tae Kwon Do in 1983 and Hapkido in 1996. He has also explored the arts of Eskrima, Shorin Karate, Aikido and Fencing (foil and saber). He considers Hapkido his base style and has taught seminars and private lessons throughout central Florida.

He spent several years enjoying full contact stick fighting and transfers that knowledge of commitment to being hit and to strike correctly to his teachings. Mr. Wilkerson is a foundational theory instructor and teaches from the ground up when presenting concepts.

He is a multiple times recipient of Hapkido Instructor of the Year for the World Martial Arts Federation.

Mr. Wilkerson also owns and manages a martial arts discussion group of nearly 13,000 members all of which are black belt level students.