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
And speaking of dedicated, check the following inscription on the baseball cap
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!