Douglas Grose was born on December 5, 1922. He started his training in martial arts at the age of 6 years old, learning Gung Fu from a neighbor who had immigrated from China. He graduated from Peoria High School in Peoria, Ill., received an associate’s degree in criminology from Illinois Central College and also has an honorary doctorate in Oriental Studies. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served as a master gunnery instructor and a tail gunner during World War II.
While stationed in Podington, England, he flew 13 missions, all in B-17 bombers. On his first mission, Mr. Grose was shot down. Out of his crew, four members made it back to Allied controlled territory. While on a mission over Berlin, Germany, his plane lost two engines and he was hit in the chest and back by flak. Mr. Grose was shot down a total of three times while on bombing missions. On one of his last missions, his plane was shot down behind enemy lines, and Mr. Grose walked his way back to friendly territory.
For his service to his country, Mr. Grose received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and several other medals, including a letter from President Harry Truman for bravery, leadership and his contributions to the service.
In 1942, while in the Air Corps, Grose studied the Shinto Yoshin style of Jiu-Jitsu under the direction of a Mr. Uechi Takeshi or Takeski. He was able to do this by using his influence as Chief Gunnery Instructor to keep Mr. Takeshi out of the internment camps until he was ordered overseas. Finding this style of martial arts one of the best and most encompassing, Grose stayed with it to eventually become the Grandmaster of the American Shinto Yoshin style.
Mr. Grose’s martial arts experience spanned his lifetime. Starting as a young boy learning Chinese gung fu, he continued studying in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, several styles of Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Kobudo (weapons). After WW II, Master Grose continued his studies under Master’s Masato and Vince Tamura of the Chicago Judo and Jiu-Jitsu Institute, traveling from his hometown of Peoria to Chicago, Illinois 3 times a week for years. He became friends with Robert Trias and helped start the USKA in Illinois with another Karate pioneer Master Phillip Koepple , head of the United States Karate-Do Kai. He traveled about the country learning and teaching throughout his life. Mr. Grose was one of the early pioneers of the martial arts in the United States. He has been mentioned in numerous publications as to the spread of the martial arts throughout the United States.
After the war, Mr. Grose founded the American Jiu-Jitsu Association in 1945, later changing it to the American Jiu-Jitsu Karate Association International to encompass both Jiu-Jitsu and Karate.
Mr. Grose studied, trained and became friends with some of the top martial artists in the world. He was associated with notable people such as Robert Trias, considered the father of American Karate, Hironori Otsuka, the founder of the Wado style of karate and Menkyo Holder of Shinto Yoshin Ryu, Soke Mike Hancock of the International Okinawan Budo Kai and Shujiro Hotta’s family from Japan.
In 2003, Master Douglas Grose obtained the rank of Judan or 10th degree black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and Shin Mei Shorin Ryu Karate. Presenting the Certificates, Master Phillip Koepple, head of the United States Karate-Do Kai, an old friend of Master Grose’s, and is also recognized as one of the top martial artists in the world today. The two have been friends for years and have operated schools together in the past.
Master Grose owned and operated several Jiu-Jitsu and Karate schools over the years and had students come to study with him from around the world. Mr. Grose was a much sought after martial arts instructor, giving hundreds of seminars all over the country.
Mr. Grose was noted for his generosity and humor.
From 1946 until retiring in 1974, Mr. Grose worked for the Peoria Police Department. In 1974, he became chief of police for the Farmington Police Department, stepping down in 1977 to pursue private investigations and devote more time to the martial arts.
In October of 2006 Master Douglas Grose passed away leaving thousands of students, friends and memories.