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Director: Universal Karate System
Shihan Benjamin J. Peacock, is a Hachidan or eighth degree black belt in the UNIVERSAL SHOREI GOJU-JAPANESE STYLE of karate. Ben became interested in obtaining a better self-defense mechanism on October 2, 1966 when three attackers approached him and his friend one night and took sentimental items from him. Ben, being new to Chicago, did not recognize what was taking place until he saw his best friend sprinting down the street, leaving him vulnerable to the strong arm of the assailants. Although Ben’s friend escaped the robbery, he did not alert anyone of Ben’s situation and probable danger, even after entering a safe haven at Ben’s cousin’s house. After completing the robbery the assailants released Ben without bodily harm and he immediately called the police from a witnessing neighbor’s house. Ben realized at this point, he must depend only on himself for survival and self-defense if he were to continue his career in Chicago. Not wanting to purchase a gun. Ben decided to seek several forms of self-defense. He went to boxing gyms and other survival training centers and decided that Karate would be the best survival training for the Chicago area considering the elevated crime rate at the time. Through detailed evaluation of the several survival-training centers, Ben found that karate was the ultimate of all the defensive arts he researched. Ben then searched north, east, and west to locate a karate center that could give him the kid of t raining he felt he needed to combat possible attackers in the area where he lived. Ben investigated approximately fifteen martial arts centers and was turned down because of race, size, or finance limitations. He was told at one center if he wanted to learn karate, he’d better find a black instructor, because they would not teach him there. Before leaving the center, one of the instructors took Ben to the side and told him if it were up to him, he would gladly train Ben as he felt a true martial artist has no colors. He then disclosed to Ben information about an instructor on the South side of Chicago whom he felt was the most qualified instructor in the Midwest area. Ben felt at first the instructor was simply trying to get rid of him and wasn’t giving him genuinely sound advice. However, when Ben visited the South side-training center, he was astonished at the training atmosphere in which the classes were being conducted. Master James A. Jones Jr. (10th Dan), who at the time was a shodan or 1st degree black belt with many honors in the martial arts, was the instructor. Master Jones explained to Ben, in order to succeed, Ben would have to work and train three times as hard to match up with other fighters and experts in the Midwest, that both were taller and stronger than he was. Ben was no stranger to hard work and knew he wanted to be successful in this new investment. Wanting to pattern himself after Master Jones, Ben worked very hard at all three aspects of the martial arts and advanced rapidly in class to become one of the top Kata and sparring competitors in the Midwest Region. Master Ben Peacock hold the record for entering twenty-one
tournaments in the United States and received first place in Kata form and placing in sparring. These wins are accredited to Master Jones, who helped Ben develop into a karate stylist of a form known to most as the serpent or snake form. To further validate this form and style, five Katas were designed, by Master Jones, Ben Peacock..
Master Jones coaching and Ben’s demonstration and performance of these Kata forms resulted in total acceptance of the forms and this new style of karate. The forms became so famous, various schools now even attempt to work and duplicate the forms. The forms were very new to the martial arts environment, and were performed close to perfection by Ben. Ben believed doing his best was the secret to success and his best would always win for him, even in stiff competition. Ben credits his instructor, fellow students, competitors, even other instructors, and all who involved themselves with the making of this master of Universal Shorei-Goju Karate.
On September 24, 1968, Ben received his Shodan or first-degree black belt In karate, and began to seek higher fulfillment in the martial arts. He became the assistant instructor at Sears Y.M.C.A. under Master Preston Baker (one of his fellow karate-Kas). Master Preston Baker encouraged Ben and personally critiqued Ben’s techniques, strategies, and training demeanor. Master Preston Baker is credited for increasing Ben’s level of application to an all-new level of expertise. After teaching at Sears Y.M.C.A. for two years, Ben left to assist Master Jones at the Hyde Park quality martial arts to all income brackets and walks of life. Ben became the head instructor at Hyde Park, and began to build a reputation for quality instruction and his ability to develop excellent students. Ben taught at Hyde Park for two years and had approximately a seventy-student participation in class at one time. Ben’s reputation as a teacher and competitor, spread quickly throughout the Midwest region.
At the top of his Martial arts career, Master Jones called Ben to assist him once again as Head instructor at a new establishment called “J.J. Karate LTD” Ben was both assistant manager and head instructor at the training center. Continuing his career in the martial arts, Ben held honors such as the National Champion in Kata and Sparring for four and one half years until his defeat by one of his own students, Jerry Norsworthy. Ben then began to concentrate on managing the training center located at 7600 S. Cottage Grove where he developed numerous champions in seven and one half years. J.J. Karate LTD opened in April of 1972 and became the number one training facility in the Chicago Area for martial arts. On September 23, 1973, Master Jones hosted the tournament of the century at the Arie Crown Theatre in Chicago. This was the most publicized and promoted tournament ever held in the Midwest region. There were competitors form all over the United States attending this tournament including Ron Van Clief from New York and Jim Kelly who starred in the Movie “Enter the Dragon” with Bruce Lee. Ben took high honors at this tournament placing first in weapons Kata, second in Kata forms and second in fighting. The spectators were in astonishment of
Ben’s performance and awarded him an additional honor by proclaiming him “THE BLACK BRUCE LEE”.
Ben is now the top-ranking master in the Universal Shorei-Goju System and is the manager and owner of his own Martial arts establishment located in Chicago on 90th street. Master Peacock has owned various martial arts training centers in the Chicago area. One was located in the Western Suburbs and one on the far north side of Chicago. Ben’s career has been a very respectable one as he has won and received over numerous trophies, awards and honors during his competition period. Ben is now concentrating on developing other students in the martial arts to carry the torch of perfection in application, which he so sincerely believes in.
Although I won several world and national championships, the ones that I cherish the most is winning twenty one straight kata championships, the world games championship, 1986 in sparring and kata forms and four times world champion four years in a row, 1986 - 1989. Some say they've won many world championships but have no evidence to prove it out. Although my trophies no longer exist today, my reputation is boldly documented in karate magazines, photos and other valid documents where you'll find someone else writing about my competitive status in the martial arts arena. Just like Grandmaster Jones, his reputation is plainly documented.