Captain Lou Gacs, United States Marine Corps, Retired, has been a student and dear friend of Mr. King and the Karate Institute of America for nearly forty years. As is well known, the motto for the U.S. Marine Corps is semper fi (short for semper fidelis) meaning “always faithful,” and if there is one quality describing Lou Gacs more than any other, it is “always faithful.” No doubt about it.
“Gacs” (pronounced “gotch”) is a Hungarian name, but Captain Lou is USMC red, white and blue through and through. Joining the Marine Corps in the enlisted ranks, Lou worked his way up the ladder and retired with the rank of Captain. During his service career of decades, he performed various jobs from communications to combat. At the time of his Vietnam War deployment, he served in various capacities, such as a sniper and an aerial gunner, operating a .50 Cal machine gun from a helicopter. As history has noted, in one month he actually logged 300 missions in 25 days! That’s 12 per day! The large majority of the missions involved medivac and recon, i.e., going and getting troops who needed evacuation from hostile zones and situations. In true heroic fashion, Lou Gacs, always faithful, wanted to be where the action was, regardless of the potential danger to himself. But isn’t this the USMC way?
An extremely intelligent man, Lou has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Bio Chemistry from San Jose State University. Not being satisfied educationally, Lou earned a Masters of Science (MS) degree in Systems Management (designated “MSSM”) from the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering.
Academic degrees could not satisfy Lou’s drive for excellence. A martial arts instructor in his own right, he possesses multiple Black Belts from various martial art systems such as Kang Duk Kwan, Kukkiwon, Tae Kwon Do and Chung Do Kwan. His extensive martial arts background includes, but is not limited to, Muay Thai (Thailand), Arnis, Escrima and Kalintaw (Philippines), and Pencak Silat (Indonesia), Tang Soo Do, Hwarang Do, Kung Fu while at SJSU, and Kiado Ryu. He is a Licensed 5th Dan Okinawan Kenpo Instructor, as well as a Licensed 4th Dan Korean Karate Instructor in Ji Do Kwan. A member of the Ryuku Hon Kenpo Kobujyutsu Federation, Korean Tae Kwondo Association and Muay Thai World Council, Captain Gacs is one of the most well-rounded and accomplished martial arts practitioners on the planet!
During his time at the Karate Institute of America, Lou has helped many students improve their ability. His input has always been accepted with great appreciation and respect. In the following photo, Captain Gacs is seen holding a bag for a KIA student during a testing. Looking on is Thomas “Draco” Lindsay, KIA Black Belt #52.
While stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Captain Gacs, with his friend and fellow Vietnam Vet Captain Richard Van Meter, organized, led and hosted several successful open martial arts tournaments for thousands of martial artists—tournaments which always ran smoothly, had class and dignity.
In his retirement days, Lou is anything but stagnant. He is constantly on the move doing this and that. The man never stops. Check out the canopy covered martial arts obstacle course he built in his back yard. Pretty amazing, and fun! Notice all the stations, as well as the inscriptions on the tires, reflections of the man’s character.
How about this photo. Look at that punch—on target and perfectly structured.
As Lou executes a front kick to a convenient stack of tires, look at all the hanging bags and striking structures in the background. This man is focused, creative, talented—a one-of-a-kind original!
And here’s a rhythm bag he uses to help develop his quick and deadly hands.
Lou Gacs’s demeanor is exceptional. He has proven himself to be an extremely accomplished individual, a true tried-in-the-fire friend whom you can always count on to be there and have your back, whether you’re in a hostile war zone, back alley or a back yard. He is smart, tough, strong, humble, courageous, highly educated, devoted and dedicated to the Corps, his family, friends and country.
And speaking of dedicated, check the following inscription on the baseball cap photo.
Knowing Mr. King’s history of losing his own USAF fighter pilot father in Vietnam, the ever-thoughtful Captain Lou Gacs presented him with this deeply meaningful gift. The inscription addresses the number of military personnel who never returned from Vietnam and reads:
1959 to 1975
BROTHERS WHO NEVER RETURNED
Captain Gacs is looking “strack” in his Class A USMC uniform, flanked by his parents. Look at all that fruit salad (ribbons and medals of his left chest). Absolutely awesome, Lou! Thanks for your service to our country. You are 1st Class all the way!
If we’re very lucky in life, we have friends, true friends; not the fair-weather variety who hang around only when times are good to glean for themselves the limelight of sunny days and warm nights, but the deeply devoted type who stick with you through thick and thin, ups and downs, stormy days and more tempestuous nights, even through the fires and ashes of decline, transformation and regeneration. Lou Gacs is such an individual, and the Karate Institute of America and its Founder, Richard Andrew King, are deeply grateful for his friendship, loyalty, devotion and service to our country. Semper Fi, Captain Lou—an inspiration of what it is to be forever true!