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Chicago Area Martial Arts Locations

Martial Arts Masters

Master John Worley

The founder of National Karate Schools is John Worley. A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Mr. Worley began his martial arts training in 1967 under the tutelage of Charles Loven and Texas karate legend, Master Instructor J. Pat Burleson. Mr. Worley was promoted to first degree black belt in 1969 after he completed a testing conducted by a panel of several of America’s top martial arts instructors, including film star Chuck Norris. Mr. Worley currently holds an ninth degree black belt and is one of the America’s highest ranking martial artists.

Mr. Worley started his teaching career in 1970 when he and his family left Texas to join the Jhoon Rhee Institute in Washington DC. Mr. Worley furthered his training under Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, who in 1958 introduced the Korean Tae Kwon Do to America. Mr. Worley spent three years under Mr. Rhee’s tutelage and in 1973, Mr. Worley was selected “Instructor of the Year” among all black belts in the Jhoon Rhee Institute system. In 1973, Mr. Worley relocated to the Twin Cities opened his first martial arts school in Minnesota. From 1967 until his retirement from competition in 1976, Mr. Worley was an outstanding martial arts tournament participant. At the completion of his competitive career, Mr. Worley turned his full energy to training students and black belts and the National Karate organization has produced many nationally recognized martial arts athletes.

In 1980, Mr. Worley was honored by “Official Karate” magazine by being named to the “Legion of Honor” as one of North America’s leading martial arts instructors. From 1983 until 1989, Mr. Worley appeared on ESPN as the expert commentator on Karate and Kickboxing telecasts. Mr. Worley is in demand to conduct self-defense seminars and rank promotions for Mid-west martial arts school owners. Mr. Worley and Master Instructor Larry Carnahan conduct the National Karate School black belt promotions and, along with other NK directors, develop curriculum and determine rank standards for National Karate.

In addition, John Worley and partners, Larry Carnahan and Bill Dunkley, own and operate JLB Productions, a promotion company which produces National Karate events and the Diamond National Karate Championships, America’s premier martial arts tournament.

Mr. Worley and his wife, Patty, make their home in Wayzata, MN.

Master Larry Carnahan

LarryCarnahanTabLarry Carnahan began training in Korean Tae Kwon Do in 1967 in Ft. Worth, Texas. He was promoted to black belt in the Grand Master Jhoon Rhee’s style of Tae Kwon Do in July of 1970 and began his teaching career that same year. After teaching for two years at Fort Worth, Texas, he moved to the headquarters of the Jhoon Rhee Institutes located in Washington D.C. During his five years in Washington D. C., he earned the Jhoon Rhee “Top Instructor Award” and the “School of Champions Award.”

In 1977, Mr. Carnahan joined with Mr. John Worley in Minnesota to help continue the work Mr. Worley had already started in forming the current National Karate School organization. An active sport karate competitor, Mr. Carnahan was voted “Black Belt Rookie of the Year” by the Southwest Karate Association and chosen as a member of the Texas Black Belt Competition Team in 1970.

After capturing top lightweight honors in such highly rated national tournaments as the “Battle of Atlanta” in Atlanta, Georgia; the “United States Karate Championships” in Dallas, Texas; and the “U.S. Open” in Maryland, Mr. Carnahan was honored as one of the “Top Ten” black belts in the nation by Karate Illustrated Magazine in 1975. Mr. Carnahan become involved in kickboxing in 1975 where he was rated in the top ten lightweights in the world by the “Professional Karate Association” from 1976 to 1982.

In 1990 Mr. Carnahan was elected President of the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) and still holds the office today. NASKA is the world’s largest sport karate sanctioning body.

As a director of JLB Productions, Inc., Mr. Carnahan has helped build the “Diamond National Karate Championships” into the number one tournament in North America.

Mr. Carnahan, his wife Elaine and their three children make their home in Shoreview, Minnesota.

Master Cristian Nelson

CrisNelsonTabCristian Nelson began training with the National Karate Schools in 1983 under the expert tutelage of 10th Degree Black Belt, Grand Master John Worley, who is one of America’s most prominent martial artists. Mr. Nelson also studied and trained with some of the top professional fighters of our time including: World Kick-Boxing Champion John Longstreet, and U.S. Kick-Boxing Champions Scott Masterton and Terry Norblom.

Mr. Nelson began his martial arts teaching career in 1987 and as soon as 1990, he was presented with the “School of the Year” award. While teaching karate he also doubled his time by attending the University of Minnesota where he studied Business and Communications.

After college, Mr. Nelson then pursued his sport karate career in earnest where he won or placed in nearly every karate tournament he entered. In 1994, the N.C.K.A. (North Central Karate Association) presented him with the “Top Competitor Award” for fighting. Some of his other awards include; the prestigious “Instructor of the Year” award, he is a 6-time winner of the “School of Champions” award (1991-1996), and a 8-time winner of the “School of the Year” award.  In 2005, he was awarded the “John Worley Leadership Award” for Organizational Excellence.  His schools were voted the “Best Martial Arts Studio’s” in the Chicagoland area by the readers of the Daily Herald newspaper in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Mr. Nelson is also a certified Krav Maga Self-Defense Instructor.

Out of the 11,000 students promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt in the National Karate system, Mr. Nelson is only the fourth person to be promoted to 7th Degree.  In June of 2012 he reached a very important milestone in which he has promoted over 1,000 students to the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt.  He currently oversees the training of over 1,200 students and conducts advanced training for 30 instructors and staff. See More Pictures of Mr. Nelson

Master Nelson attributes any success and accomplishments he may have had to God’s grace and to the help of the great instructors he has been blessed to work with.

Mr. Nelson and his wife Kelly (a 3rd Degree Black Belt) live in the western suburbs of Chicago with their 4 children.