Shihan Harry Wheeler has been involved in the martial arts since 1964, when he started wrestling and then boxing a year later. He started in the eastern arts in ’67, at the age of 12, by taking Kyokushinkai Karate from a friend. Over the next 10 years he was involved with Danzan Ryu Jiu-Jitsu, Shotokan Karate and Shorei Goju Karate. He achieved Dan ranking in Shorei Goju Karate during this time. He, also, began to develop a system of “Combat Wrestling” during this same time. Using his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills, he was able to develop a system strangely similar to the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu so popular today.
At the age of 22, in 1977, he became involved in Kenpo Karate. He started in the Tracy system of Kenpo under Sensei Bob Wainwright. Over the years he studied in various other systems of Kenpo including the Parker system, LaTourette and some others under various instructors. Among these instructors were Sensei Ray Pohl and Shihan John Shaw. He competed in Boxing, Kick Boxing and MMA over the years also, achieving a record of 25 wins and 1 loss. He also competed in well over 150 wrestling matches during his early years. After 50 years in the martial arts, 36 of them in Kenpo, he has achieved the rank of 8th Dan.
In recent years, Shihan Wheeler has been extremely busy on two fronts. On the one hand he has brought together all the systems of Kenpo that he has been involved in and developed a version derived from the various branches of Kenpo instruction he has received. This system is the one now taught at Warrior Kenpo Karate.
While bringing together this new version of Kenpo Karate, Shihan Wheeler had also been, until 2011, the lead instructor in Defensive Tactics Training for the Cook County Sheriff’s Training Academy in Chicago. He fine-tuned many of the techniques previously used by the Sheriff’s Department. In addition to this, he also developed, instituted and began training officers in the first Tactical Ground Fighting that the Sheriff’s Dept. had ever had. There was no ground fighting taught and Shihan Wheeler recognized that, in today’s world, this was a necessity for officer safety. You can see Shihan Wheeler featured in the Discovery Channel episode “Cook County Jail: Boiling Point” as the lead D.T. instructor.
In recent years he has received recognition for his accomplishments four times from the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. In 2010, he received the award for “Law Enforcement Instructor of the Year”. In July of 2012, he was acknowledged as a “Grandmaster” by the Grandmaster’s council in the USMAHOF! Then, in 2013, he was given the “Golden Life” award. That means that he has managed to keep working out at his advanced age!!! Lol In 2014, Shihan Wheeler was awarded recognition as a “Pioneer” of the martial arts in the Platinum (Over 50 years) Level.
In addition to his martial skills, Shihan Wheeler is also a physical/personal trainer certified by the Cooper Institute.