Actually the pairing comes as no surprise, since Presti, of Wilson, owner of the Presti Karate Centers in Niagara Falls, Lewiston and Corning, has been together with Norris for almost 30 years. Presti sits on the board of directors with the grand master on Norris' United Fighting Arts Federation. He is also a regional chairman in charge of all black belt testing and teaching and development of skills for school owners on the east coast. The two of them will brainstorm at Norris' Texas ranch.
Presti, his wife Shirley, and daughter Carly, age 10, will spend four to five days at the ranch, or until their work is completed. Not only will Norris be on hand, his brother Aaron Norris, who is a known TV and movie producer, will be there to discuss a video series he and Presti had developed over the years. Presti was a key editor of a series of five DVDs on chun kuk do, a style of martial arts Norris has developed over a 40-plus year span.
Presti, who owns and operates three of the chun kuk do schools in New York state, will be pitching to Norris a traveling training event to aid all chun kuk do school owners on their teaching and training development, plus a book, which can't be disclosed yet, he says. "The last time I gave a pitch of ideas, we ended up flying on a private jet to Mexico for me to teach for two days. We helped a lot of our Hispanic members develop much needed skills," says Presti. "I had a ball, even though I couldn't speak a word of Spanish. They all seemed to understand. Also, Grand Master Norris wooed the crowd when he did speak in Spanish."
Presti, at age 55, started training at age 12. He competed heavily in the 1970s while in college as a contact fighter and ended his career with a 23-3 record. His school has been rated by Norris as school of the year several times, and has won almost every award in the United Fighting Arts possible, even the most prestigious award, The Weiland Norris award. "It's compared to an Emmy or Academy Award of the martial arts," he says.
Presti has appeared in the Norris TV series "Walker, Texas Ranger" and on A&E's "Biography."
Presti Karate hopes to open another location in the Western New York area within a year.