Freeport, Illinois – Last night in Glen Elllyn, Illinois Freeport resident Brian Booth was inducted into the Illinois State Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Booth was one of 15 others recognized during an evening that honored martial artists from Illinois and others who participated in or contributed to the Martial Arts in Illinois.
Booth owns Progressive Fighting Concepts in Freeport, located at 18 West Stephenson in the FA Read Center and is a martial arts Master and champion with over 35 years in the industry. We ran into him next door to his own business at a local favorite of ours, Allen’s Menswear. Brian says what makes him feel honored is that the people inducting him are highly respected. He says he’s honored to be chosen by so many in the industry he admires, appreciates and respects.
Other inductees of the evening were;
James Chapman – Famous Isshin-ryu stylist and Midwest karate pioneer.
Wai Lun Choi – Legendary Chinese Martial Arts competitor and instructor
James Colgan – One of the leading figures in US Judo, competitor, official, trainer of Olympians
George Enguita – Competitor, instructor, ChicagoFights kickboxing promoter, successful businessperson
Keith Hackney – UFC MMA Legend – “The Giant Killer”
Ricky Haynes – World Kickboxing Champion
John Jackson – Legendary Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion
Wataru (Walter) Nakamoto – One of the first karate instructors in Illinois. His impact cannot be overstated
Leslaw Samitowski – Leader in US Kyokushin, instructor, competitor, and trainer of champions
Mia Paik Scheid – Famous Taekwondo competitor who fought and beat the best
John Smith – Well known karate black belt and law enforcement officer
Giannina Spencer – Leading kung fu/WuShu competitor and instructor.
Nganga Tolo-naa – Formerly known as Ray Cooper “The Chicago Tiger”. Early karate champion and leading proponent of African and Chinese martial arts
Burley Wagner – Karate instructor, coach, promotor. Burley did it all!
Joel Ward – Super tough karate competitor who no one wanted to fight, ever.