Roger W. Greene (Grand Master Greene) was larger than life! He departed this life on July 27, 2018 after losing a hard fought fight and it was one of the few he ever lost! Roger was born December 20, 1945 in Redding California to Homer and Mary, and was raised in California with his two brothers, Richard and Mike. Roger met his beloved wife, Karen through martial arts and they shared many adventures together.
Simply stated, life with Roger was an adventure. Roger moved to Tulsa in the late 1960's, was the owner of Tracy's Karate Studio in Tulsa, and was one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished martial artists in the United States, if not the world. His study of martial arts began in Kang Duk Won in 1964 under Robert Babich, a senior instructor under Ra Chong Nam and Park Chull Hee. Mr. Babich's pedigree also included Mas Oyama and Don Buck. He achieved Black Belt in 1967 and in 1968 began his study of Chinese Kenpo with Master Al Tracy, a legendary martial artist trained by Ed Parker and James Ibrao. In 1970, through the Tracy's organization, Roger continued his study with the World Karate Champion, Master Joe Lewis, and in 1972, was promoted by Master Lewis and Master Tracy to Sandan, becoming the first man in history to receive any black belt degree under Master Lewis. Master Lewis was twice voted the greatest fighter in karate history and is generally recognized as the greatest fighter in an era that included many. In 1972 Pro Karate magazine named Roger as the Top Midwest Regional Black Belt Fighter and in 1973 he was included in North America's Top 40 Black Belts.
In 1973 Roger was the Jayhawk Bare Knuckle Full Contact Heavyweight Champion. This martial arts period was known as the "blood and guts" era and the Midwest was known for having some of the toughest fighters in the United States. Only the toughest competitors entered this tournament because absolutely no gloves or footpads were allowed; contact was not limited, and many competitors landed in the hospital. In 1974 Roger was the Official Karate Midwest Heavyweight Champion. During the 1980's, Roger's list of accomplishments grew. He was inducted into the Official Karate Legion of Honor; the Hall of Fame Society bestowed him with a PhD and as a Board Member. He was the AAU Karate Oklahoma Chairman, Midwest Regional Director, National Referee, and Coach to AAU National Kumite Champions and Junior Olympic Champions. He was the USA-Karate Federation Regional Sports Chairman.
In 1994 Roger was Coach for Team USA for the winning Junior and Senior Karate Teams at the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was the Senior Referee at the Goodwill Games and choreographed a demonstration for the Closing Ceremonies that enjoyed the largest television audience in martial arts history. Roger coached the Pan Am Team Trials at U.S. Olympic Village in Colorado Springs in 1995. In 1999 Master Greene was honored when presented the Col. Ike Slaughter "Warrior - Gentleman Award" by Bushidokan Founder, Grandmaster and fellow martial arts legend, Jim Harrison.
In the 2000's Master Greene was one of the first two inductions into Joe Lewis Karate System Honor Roll. He became Grandmaster Greene when he was awarded Senior Master (Kyoshi) by Grandmaster Al Tracy and was inducted into the Kenpo Hall of Fame. He was also promoted to 9th Dan Grandmaster in Kang Duk Won by Grandmaster Park Chull Hee (Co-founder of Kang Duk Won and a Co-founder of Taekwondo).He was also promoted to Grandmaster rank in the Joe Lewis Karate System. At time of his death, Grandmaster Greene held the rank of 10th Dan in two of the most highly regarded, internationally recognized, martial arts systems, and a 9th Dan from one of the greatest martial artists ever, Grandmaster Park Chull Hee, who passed away in 2016. Grandmaster Greene is the only martial artist to ever achieve this particular honor.
Roger enjoyed volunteering his time as a Verdigris Reserve Police Officer, and was given "The Samaritan" for his assistance to a citizen in need while on duty. Roger served the Verdigris community from 2009 to 2015.
Roger also served as Vice President of Research and Development for Conley Corporation during the early 1990's through 2016.
Roger was preceded in death by his parents and his two brothers. Roger is survived by his wife, Karen; daughter, Jennifer and her husband, Dusty; as well as grandchildren, Boston and Zoey. He is also survived by his beloved dogs and wonderful extended family that includes his many students. He will be greatly missed.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Cox Business Center on September 29, 2018. If you plan to attend, please contact Scotti Cross via email at ScottiCross@gmail.com.
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