Grandmaster Stephen Oliver

Depending on how long you’ve been training, you may have had a brush with 9th-degree Black Belt Grandmaster Stephen Oliver. At a Black Belt Spectacular, a Black Belt Immersion event, a belt promotion or leadership seminar (not to mention on the covers of major martial arts mags).

His influence is virtually everywhere, and as a Ripple Effect martial artist, he’s impacted you, whether you know it or not. Here’s how.

Grandmaster Oliver is best known throughout the Ripple Effect community as the instructor of our master instructor, Master Greg Macy. He’s more widely known throughout the martial arts industry as the founder of Mile High Karate and guru to school owners around the world. Martial arts magazines over the past three decades have dubbed him the “Mile High Maverick,” a reference to his revolutionary approach to launching and running a successful martial arts franchise.

There’s a magnitude to Grandmaster Oliver’s contributions to the martial arts that goes far beyond his legendary jump sidekicks, and it’s a model of leadership.

John Maxwell’s “Law of Explosive Growth” says that “to grow, lead followers; to multiply, lead leaders.” Think about this.

Master Oliver receiving his Black Belt from Grand Master Jhoon Rhee.

If Grandmaster Oliver hadn’t spread the good word about karate, hadn’t taught his skills to curious young students, hadn’t trained them to be instructors, hadn’t set up a booth in that Lakewood movie theater where an 8-year-old Greg Macy was walking out from The Karate Kid, you wouldn’t be reading this. You wouldn’t be at Ripple Effect Martial Arts, studying leadership and training for your next belt alongside hundreds of fellow students. It was Grandmaster Oliver’s vision and example that set the stage.


Of course, Grandmaster Oliver inspires in more immediate ways. He’s sparred with Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. He learned directly from the Titans of Tae Kwon Do, Grandmasters Jeff Smith and Jhoon Rhee. He also reads Shakespeare and is a fan of Neil Peart (a virtuoso drummer whose discipline, art and inspiration equates to grandmaster levels).

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