By Tim Lima
---- — NEWBURYPORT — After traveling the world and learning all there is to know about the sport he loves, Guy Chase has decided to bring a martial arts academy to his hometown.
It’s easy to see that Chase is passionate about the sport he loves. Not only has he dedicated his life to learning, training and teaching several different styles of martial arts, but he has traveled the globe to do so. In his travels, he has earned diplomas from the Federation of France to the Consulate of Thailand to the Education Board of the Philippines to Japan to China. Despite filling three passports over his life, Chase hopes to continue his path of world travel to the country of Burma.
What drives someone to love a sport enough to follow it around the world?
“For me, I wasn’t very good in baseball or football,” Chase said. “I had to try a different activity. One of the things I like about martial arts is that it’s an individual type of accomplishment. What you put into it yourself is what you get out of it. I could really find my type of individualism in this type of atmosphere.”
The dedication toward improving his skill and becoming one of the best martial artists in the world earned him a spot alongside just two others in the Black Belt Hall of Fame. For Chase, the invitation came as a result of his diligence and desire to know and become an expert at all that martial arts has to offer. In his career, he has learned, been certified in and teaches 13 different styles of martial arts.
For Chase, the path toward becoming one of his sport’s greats began at just age 8 years old. He learned under the advisement of Sensi Herby Crooks in Newburyport and was elevated to black belt status in Kodokan Judo, Kenpo Karate and Kung Fu by the age of 15.
His education really took flight when he was a teenager, though. Legendary martial art instructor Guro Dan Insonato invited him to become a full-time, live-in member of his Academy: The Insonato Academy. There, Chase learned from and alongside some of the world’s most influential martial artists. One of his peers was the son of founding father of martial art’s Bruce Lee.
“Bruce Lee was composing different styles and many different philosophies together to make things work,” Chase said. “It was the evolution of martial arts that he was composing. For me, to be near his son Brandon was great.”
The opportunity to learn from some of the bests martial arts had to offer has set Chase apart from the rest.
“What makes me unique is that I had the opportunity to learn under some grand masters of martial arts who have since passed away,” he said. “Because of this, it is virtually impossible to get some of those systems and that training anymore.”
Because of major mixed martial arts organizations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the television show “The Ultimate Fighter” from both FX and Fox Sports Network, MMA has rapidly become one of the fastest growing sports in the world. For Chase, the rapid growth of MMA is good for the attention it brings to the sport, but bad because of the lack of knowledge that comes with it.
“It’s a two-edged sword,” he said. “When they first started to televise these fights, the announcers didn’t know what to say as far as the style. Some styles they didn’t even know how to pronounce. What they did was take these fighters with different styles and just say, ‘He’s a mixed martial artist,’ which is how the phrase came to be. One of my former students, Mark Dellagrotte, is actually behind the cameras now telling these announcers like Joe Rogan and (Mike) Goldberg what to say. He’s actually behind the cameras telling them, ‘OK, this is a round kick,’ and stuff like that.”
Learning styles of martial arts and their maneuvers is just scratching the surface of what promises to be gained by attending the Guy Chase Academy of Martial Arts. Having already opened an academy in Portsmouth, N.H., Chase decided to open a location on Graf Road in his hometown of Newburyport to further teach his craft.
Today, hundreds of males and females ranging from ages 5 to 70 are learning under the tutelage of Chase.