• Tearney's Martial Arts serving Syracuse New York: 315-487-8722

Instructors

Grand Master Tearney & his staff of black belt instructors will give you the quality instruction and encouragement that has earned them their reputation of excellence.

Grand Masters:

Hanshi Greg Tearney 10th Dan

Grand Master Tearney has been in the Martial Arts for over 50 years and was a Black Belt National & International Champion. He fought in the Heavy Weight Black Belt Divisions from 1966 to 1976. His nickname was "Big Monster", a moniker given to him by his fellow dojo Black Belts and confirmed by his opponents in the ring. Grand Master Tearney came out of retirement in 1977 to fight in the first full contact event in Upstate New York, hosted by Hidy Ochiai in Vestal, NY. In 1979 Master Tearney again came out of retirement to compete in Kata and Weapons. His Kenjutsu sword form won several Grand Championships in the United States and Canada. He competed with the likes of Pat Mc Carthy, Ceasar Borkowski, Vince Grace, Rick Ianuzzo, Brian Ricci and others all of whom became great competitors, as well as friends. Grand Master Tearney also trained many National Karate Illustrated Champions including Judy Modafferi - Tearney, Denning Davis, Rande Lawrence, O'Dell Willis, Vince Grace, Esteban Trotman, Sam Roberts and many more.

Hanshi Tearney has been operating a Dojo since 1969 and is our Chief Instructor. Grand Master Tearney holds Black Belt ranks in Goju-Ryu -- 10th Dan, Shorin-Ryu -- 8th Dan, Shotokan -- 4th Dan, & Kobu-Jutsu -- 1st Dan. Boxing, Aikido, Jui Jitsu, Arnis, Gracie Jui Jitsu, Kenjustu, Krav Maga, Taekwondo and Judo are just a few of the many systems he has trained in. In 1986 he developed "The Winning Point" instructional video (done with Grand Master Ceasar Borkowski) which taught tournament fighting concepts and techniques. Grand Master Tearney is a Senior Executive Board Member with EFC and is a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame. He is considered by many to be a pioneer in American Karate with lineage in both Okinawan & Japanese Karate. Grand Master Tearney is also the President of the Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Kokusai Renmei (International Alliance). He is the founding Soke of the International Grand Master Instructors Association for Okinawan and Japanese Master Instructors 5th Dan and above. He has also graced the cover of numerous publications including NAPMA Martial Arts Professional, The Eagle Express, Official Karate, EFC All Star International, Martial Arts Success Magazine, Who's Who in American Karate Pioneers, Urban Sports Hall of Fame of Syracuse, and the Nottingham Wall of Fame. 2013 Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Inductee.

  • 10th Dan Degerberg Mixed Martial Arts Association
  • 10th Dan Okinawan Goju Ryu under Grand Master Frank Van Lenten
  • 10th Dan American Nisei Goju Ryu under Grand Master Peter Urban
  • 8th Dan Okinawan Shorin-Ryu under Grand Master Frank Hargrove
  • 4th Dan Shotokan under Grand Master Fredrick Hamilton
  • 1st Dan Okinawan Kobojutsu under Grand Master Frank Van Lenten

Shihan Judy Modafferi-Tearney 9th Dan

Judy Modafferi-Tearney is considered one of the top Grand Master Instructors in the United States. Judy began her training in 1974 and in 1977 was the first woman to achieve the rank of black belt in Central NY. She competed and was rated in Karate Illustrated in both forms and fighting. She won numerous grand championships. Master Modafferi-Tearney developed our Kickboxing, "Side Kick" and "Karate Kid" programs.

Some of her accomplishments include:

  • Choreographer of "Karate Aerobics" - 1986
  • International Martial Arts Associates Woman of The Year - 1990
  • EFC Black Belt Schools Martial Artist of the year - 1994
  • EFC Black Belt Schools Student Retention Award - 1998
  • EFC Black Belt Schools "Heavy Hitter" Award - 1999
  • Shihan Frank Van Lenten Spirit award - 2001
  • WTVH 5 Women in Leadership Awards - 2003
  • International Martial Arts Assoc Spirit Award - 2007
  • EFC Black Belt Schools "Hero Award" 2008
  • US Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year

Shihan Andy Boucounis 9th Dan

Master Boucounis has been in the Martial Arts since 1974. He has trained in Goju-Ryu as well as Krav Maga and Jui Jitsu. Master Boucounis has participated in numerous running events including four marathons. In 1976 he founded Andy's Produce. Today Master Boucounis owns and operates Andy's Produce which employs 19 people. Master Boucounis's family includes his wife and 3 children.

Shihan Ted Blandon 9th Dan

Master Blandon has been in the Martial Arts since 1976. He holds 8th Dan in Okinawan Goju-Ryu, 5th Dan in Shorin Ryu and a 1st Dan in Kobujitsu. Master Blandon has also trained in Gotende, Arnis, and Grappling. He has been an instructor at Tearney's since 1980.

Kyoshi Will Clark 6th Dan

Master Clark began his training in 1987. He was promoted to Black Belt in 1992 and is currently one of our Head Instructors. He has trained in many styles of Martial Arts including Goju-Ryu, Tae Kwon Do, Kendo, Arnis, Kenjutsu, and is a certified Krav Maga instructor. Master Clark is a "Warrior Personal Safety" Expert. He does safety seminars on Bullying, Home Invasion, Abduction Prevention, and Street Awareness. Master Clark has competed in numerous competitions on a local and national level including the Jr. Olympics. EFC Black Belt Schools has given Master Clark the Most Outstanding Program Director Award and the Outstanding Instructor Award two times.

Kyoshi Dean Boucounis 6th Dan

Master Boucounis has been in Martial Arts since 1979. He has trained in Goju-Ryu and attributes his success to the students he has taught. He is currently the President of Boucounis Financial Services Inc and has been affiliated with Mutual of Omaha since 1974. Since that time he has helped local businesses and individuals make the proper decisions in planning for their future. His family includes his wife, two children and their spouses and one grandchild.

Masters:

Renshi Robert Cerchia 5th Dan

Started training in February 1989 and earned black belt in December 1995. Renshi Cerchia started instructing in 1999 and also trains in kickboxing.

Renshi Helen Forward 5th Dan

Renshi Forward started her affiliation with Tearney's as a Parent watching her two sons train from the sidelines. She began training herself and was promoted to Black Belt in 1994. She is very proud of her accomplishments as well as those by her three children who have also trained. Renshi Forward is employed by the Longhouse Council, Boy Scouts of America, where she is an executive assistant. Besides martial arts, her hobbies include quilting, reading, and gardening.

Renshi Sonja Kuljanin 5th Dan

Renshi Kuljanin has been in the martial arts since 1990 and is currently one of our head instructors. Renshi Kuljanin holds a black belt in Shotokan and Goju-Ryu. She has trained in many styles of martial arts including Arnis, Krav Maga, Thai Kickboxing and Boxing. She was recently recognized by EFC Black Belt Schools as Most Inspiring Instructor. Renshi Kuljanin has competed on a local and national level and is currently the creator and leader of our performance team.

Renshi David Homer 4th Dan

Renshi Homer was in the US Army and wrestled. He started training in 1988 after bringing his children to class. He earned the rank of Black Belt in 94 and Renshi in 09 Renshi Homer has trained in Arnis and Krav Maga. In 2009 he was awarded the EFC Outstanding Instructor Award. Renshi worked at Penfield for 25 yrs till they closed. And has been married for over 30 yrs Has competed in numerous tournaments and loves working with kids and seeing them progress by shaping their life.

Renshi Annemarie Dixe 4th Dan

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Renshi Alexis Tearney - Kuhl 4th Dan

Sensei Alexis Tearney Kuhl has been involved in the martial arts for over 20 years and earned her Black Belt in 2005. She is trained in Goju-Ryu, kickboxing, Arnis, Krav Maga, and Kenjutsu. In 2007 and 2008, Alexis was recognized by EFC Black Belts Schools as most outstanding program director. In 2009 she was recognized by EFC as most inspiring instructor. Alexis holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Syracuse University and has completed graduate level studies in inclusive elementary education at Lemoyne College.

Renshi Ryan Barone 4th Dan

Renshi Barone has been training in karate, kickboxing, and self-defense since 1992 and earned his black belt in 1997. Throughout his martial arts career he has competed in and won many tournaments across the state and northeast. Competing in kata, sparring, and weapons he sharpened his skills and enjoyed the fun of competition. Karate has always been his passion and teaching martial arts has been a guiding force in his life. Renshi Barone tries to incorporate fully the ideas of body, mind, and spirit into his teaching, and training. Martial arts as a way of life is how Renshi Barone views his teaching and training.

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