Master John Presti, owner of the Presti Karate Centers, and his longtime friend and teacher Grand Master Chuck Norris will once again team up for a martial arts event in Las Vegas this July.
The two have known each other since 1979. Presti and Norris created a friendship early on. He is one of Norris' confidants and serves on the board of directors for Norris' United Fighting Arts Federation. Together they host a martial arts event each year in Las Vegas.
"It takes us a year to plan this, so we get together about four-five times a year to get the rough edges out," says Presti. He notes this event is geared around Norris' system known as Chun Kuk Do, in which Presti maintains the only schools in New York state that promote its members to the level of black belt in this discipline. Many of Presti's students from Niagara Falls and surrounding areas will attend the Las Vegas event to train and compete in Chun Kuk Do.
As noted, Presti has been instrumental in developing some of the seminars in which many martial artists around the world partake. In addition to taking classes on fighting, kata, self-defense, and weapons with such notables as Cung Li, Frank Shamrock, Norris himself, Richard Norton and a list too long to mention, Presti has helped design what is called the Instructors Design Series.
"These seminars are designed for the serious teachers," says Presti. "Many think if you have a black belt, you can teach. Not true."
Presti has also been instrumental in developing the Professional Development Series, in which school owners and managers learn how to professionalize their businesses, and the Masters Development Series, for those with an interest in becoming a master in Chun Kuk Do. He notes the MDS was created to bring members to a higher level of learning and create an overall better master. "In the past, it was time in after fourth degree black belt and you could earn the rank," says Presti. "Now, we want more, they need to take three days of classes and an exam to become a master."
He adds that this year the Las Vegas event is open to all styles of martial arts. "The United Fighting Arts Federation has gotten so much interest in the past decade that we're opening the doors to others, so they can see what a great organization we are."
Anyone interested in attending must contact Presti at 285-9242.