Recognized as one of the world's premier martial arts authors and journalists, John Corcoran has been a prime force in taking modern martial arts literature into the major-league arena. In his 34-year literary career, he has written millions of words about the subject in an acclaimed body of work encompassing books, magazines and screenplays.
Overall, he has used the power of the media to bring thousands of martial artists to public attention, and a select handful -- including superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme -- to stardom. He was instrumental in making media stars out of such now-famous martial artists as Joe Lewis, Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, Howard Jackson, Karyn Turner, Ernie Reyes, Jr., T.J. Roberts, Karen Eden, Troy Dorsey and Earnest Hart, Jr., among others.
A veteran karate black belt, John began his training in 1967. Legendary Heavyweight Karate Champion Joe Lewis has been his chief martial arts mentor since 1977. Johns literary mentors are the late, great Academy Award-winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant ("In the Heat of the Night"; "The Towering Inferno"), who was Bruce Lee's main Hollywood mentor, and best-selling author Joe Hyams ("Zen in the Martial Arts"; "Bogie"). John has trained about 25 martial arts writing proteges throughout the United States and one in Germany, some of whom became editors of national martial arts magazines.
John has authored 11 books to date, all but two with major New York publishers, which have collectively sold over 400,000 copies worldwide. He is perhaps best known for his 1983 masterwork, "The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia," the definitive reference of the genre, which took ten years to complete and has sold over 135,000 copies. His last book, "The Unauthorized Jackie Chan Encyclopedia," released in August 2002, went into an immediate second printing.
Over the past 34 years, John has served as an editor or founding editor of almost every influential martial arts magazine in the industry, starting with "Black Belt" in 1973. In 1977, he pioneered multi-language article syndication in his field and his stories have since appeared in six languages in over 100 countries.
Corcoran is currently the editor of "Martial Arts Success," the industry's foremost business publications. The magazine is direct-mailed to over 20,000 martial arts school owners in four countries every month.
By far, John's biggest martial arts story was his 1977 chronicling of Elvis Presleys 18-year martial arts involvement, which John syndicated in five languages throughout the world. His Elvis story has been updated and reprinted six times since then.
John's writings on the subject have also extended into academia, motion pictures, and the mainstream media.
He was selected by the editors of both "The World Book Encyclopedia" in 1986 and Microsofts "Encarta (Electronic) Encyclopedia" in 1996 to write their inaugural entries for martial arts. His mainstream articles have appeared in "Parade," the 32-million-copy Sunday newspaper supplement, and "Daily Variety," Hollywood's leading trade paper, and hes been quoted in the "Wall Street Journal" and countless newspapers.
In 1993, he wrote the screenplay for "American Samurai," the film that marked the starring debut of Mark Dacascos. He was a primary technical consultant for the A&E channels 1998 landmark TV documentary, The Martial Arts," and worked in that same capacity for 2002s "Modern Gladiators," produced by Oscar-nominated documentarian Peter Spirer. He has also appeared as a stuntfighter in over a dozen martial arts movies, mainly in films starring Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
In 1995, John launched a national public-speaking sideline, teaching martial arts school owners publicity-procurement techniques, for the National Association of Professional Martial Artists.
In 1998, he co-edited "The ACMA Instructor Certification Manual." Based on the contents of this book, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the "Father of Aerobics," and his world-renowned Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, agreed to administrate the ACMA Instructor Certification Program. This endorsement provides unprecedented credibility for the martial arts with both the academic and scientific communities and the health and fitness industry. Essentially, it elevates the martial arts from a "fringe" pastime to a recognized mainstream fitness activity.
In 2000, John was the recipient of Gary Lee's Living Legends Hall of Fame Award in Houston, Texas, and in 2002, John was named to the Battle of Atlanta's Hall of Fame Award. But he considers receiving the 2004 Martial Arts History Museum's "Funakoshi" Award as the pinnacle of his entire career to date.
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