"I'll Take Lewis!" ...exclaimed an impatient young George Thanos as he anxiously awaited his turn to fight.  The event was the highly
prestigious Jhoon Rhee Nationals held in Washington D.C.   It was one of the few tournaments of the time (1960's) that attracted the best
fighters from all parts of the United States.  Although the tournament scene at that time was relatively young,  Lewis a former marine who had
recently returned from overseas duty was an established champion who was considered by most to be unstoppable.   On this day George
would do battle with a man who usually casually walked over his opponents due to his experience and skill combined with strategy and shear
brute strength.  Mitchell Bobrow who was the ring coordinator that day complied with Thanos' request and placed Thanos' name card next to
Lewis' to ensure that the two would meet.  Several years before this article was written this writer asked Taekwondo Hall of Famer Mitchell
Bobrow to name the person who gave him his toughest fight.  Bobrow quickly replied: "Joe Lewis was one of my toughest." "His side
kick was awesome and if he got his hand on the sleeve of your uniform it was all over!"

As Thanos and Lewis stood face to face before the match began most probably thought Thanos would become yet another sad statistic.
However on this day the scenario would be totally different.  George Thanos who barely 17 years old exhibited confidence, poise and fighting
skills that belied his age and youthful appearance.  The proof is in the article attached which appeared in Black Belt magazine.  The article
indicates that it was Thanos who was the total aggressor during the match, putting the great Joe Lewis on the run!.   Before and during the match
George appeared to be oblivious to Lewis or his record of victories with an arsenal of techniques that included powerful hand techniques and his
devastatating trademark side kick.  In the end Lewis would be awarded the match but only by scoring a point as time was running out and pro-
tecting his lead by running  from a relentless, young George Thanos.  Reading the blow by blow description of the match one might get the
impression that observers who had followed Lewis's career were left shaking their heads in disbelief at the end of the match as a result of the
antics displayed by Lewis.

The scenario above is not so surprising when you consider that George's instructor was the great Grand Master Ki Whang Kim (1920-1993).
The Kim Studio located in Silver Spring Maryland churned out some of the best compettitors n the U.S. such as Mike Camberiate, Neil Ehrlich,
Larry Stone, Wendell Robinson, Ralph Nelson, Bill Keefer, Mitchell Bobrow, Albert Cheeks, Mike Warren, Keith Yarlboro, Marcella Byrd,
Jim Roberts Jr. the perennial forms champion in the early days and John Critzos who arrived later on the scene.

George Thanos training with Mitchell Bobrow

George Thanos' career as a fighter extended from the 60's into the 70's where he won numerous events including the All American Open in
1975 held at Madison Square Garden in New York City perhaps the most prestigious tournament of the time. Winning grand championship
of the All American when it was held "The Garden" in the 70's was the zenith achievement of a champion's career.

George began his martial arts training at Kim Studio in Silver Spring Maryland in 1965 at the age of  13. He was personally instructed by Ki
Whang Kim and rtceived his black belt in Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do in 1966.   In 1975 George operated and taught at the Tae Kwon Do
Moo Duk Kwan of America Inc.- Kim Studio of Karate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.   During the 70's Karate Illustrated Magazine nick-
named George "gray ghost" due to his light skin tone.  His opponents took heed to the meaning of George's last name "Thanos" which means
"death" in the traditional Greek language.  During the 70's George won victories over several champions including Joseph Hayes, Alan Miller,
Flem Evans, Wayne VanBuren, jaquet Bazemore, Gerard Robbins and Adolpho Velasco.  He defeated Louis Delgado twice in the same day.

George has been referenced in numerous martial arts publications including the"Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia" by John Cocoran and
Emil Farkas with Stuart Sobel,  the "Official History of Karate in America - The Golden Age" (1968) by Al Weiss and David Weiss, and
"Who's Who in Martial Arts Directory of Black Belts " by Bob Wall  (1975).  He earned the distinction of being chosen to compete as
one of 50 fighters in the newly formed Professional Karate Association during which time he held a PKA World rating in the Light-Heavyweight

George's best contribution to the martial arts is his 15 years of fighting ability in tournaments as n very aggressive and exciting fighter.  George
utilized only the finest techniques which thrilled the spectators. In 2008, after 43 years of involvement in the martial arts George continues to
train.  He continues to operate the family business which is the largest drycleaning / laundry facility in Washington D.C.


As a junior George won several black belt titles including the following:

1966 - Jhoon Rhee Natioaal Karate championships - Junior Division - Second Place
1966 - All American Open Championships - Junior Division - Second Place
1967 - Universal Open Karate Championships - Junior Division - First Place
In 1968 when George was 16 yaers old he began competing in the adult black belt
divsion winning several tiitles including the following:

1968 - Jhoon Rhee National Karate Championships - Lightweight - 3rd Place
1973 - US Black Belt Champion, Ocean City, Maryland
1974 - North American Pro-Am Tae Kwon Do Champion
1975 - Battle of Atlanta - Light-Heavweight - 2nd Place
1975 - Top Ten National Karate Champion, Anderson, Indiana
1975 - Henry Cho All American Open - New York - Crand Champion
1976 - Henry Cho All American Open - New York - Heavyweight Division
1976 - First Penn National Full Contact Karate Champion
1976 - All American Open Professional Karate Champion - Youngstown, Ohio
1976 - Sok Ho Kang Pro-/Am Open Karate Champion - Huntington, W. Virginia
1976 - Jhoon Rhee Black Belt League - Light-Heavweight Champion

George was ranked in the top ten by most major martial arts magazines:

1975 - Professional Karate Magazine -  4th World Ranking
1976 - Traditional Taekwo-Do Magazine - 7th World Ranking
1978 - World Journal of Martial Arts - 6th World Ranking
1979 - Warriors Magazine - 9th World Ranking
1979 - Official Karate Magazine - 8th World Ranking
1980 - Sports Karate Magazine (Newspaper) - 7th World Ranking

                                                               After his retirement George remained active in the martial arts:

                                                              1991 - began his studies in Kenjutsu in the art of using the Japanese Sword at the Great Falls Bukokan.
                                                              1992 - received his 7th degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do from GM Ki Whang Kim
                                                              1997 - received a Kyosei (black belt) in Kenjutsu from Sensei Frederick Lovert
                                                              1998 - opened a dojo Rockville, MD specializing in Tae Kwon Do, Kenjutsu and Aikido
                                                              1999 - received a special award from at the "Living Legnds Awards Ceremony in D.C. for his contribution to the martial arts
                                                              2009 - Inducted into the prestigious Taekwondo Hall of Fame


    Poster Courtesy of Master Mitchell Bobrow

Former PKA World Champion G.M. Jeff Smith, Master George Thanos, Master John Holloway,
                  Master David Kim, Coach 1973 USA Taekwondo Team and Master Mitchell Bobrow. at the
                  Taekwondo Hall of  Fame Induction Ceremony.    Photo by Master John Holloway 


                                                                                                                                    Comments or Suggestions