Sifu Gary L. McGhee is a 25-year veteran and retired captain of the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department and 10th-degree black belt who still values the teachings originated at China's Shaolin Temple. In June 1971 at the age of 18, McGhee began his 50+ years of Chinese Kenpo martial arts training at the Traco International School of Self-Defense in Kansas City. After four years of study under a variety of instructors, in 1976, Sifu McGhee achieved the rank of brown belt. It was then he began receiving direct instruction from the school's Grandmaster, Tomas Connor, Sr. At that time, Master Connor, a 10th degree black belt and student descendent of famed Chinese Kenpo Master Edmund Kealoha Parker, was sole proprietor of the school he originally founded with Al, Will and Jim Tracy, three brothers who inspired the "Tra" in the school's name.
Sifu McGhee received his Sho-Dan January 1978, Ni-Dan January 1980, and in December 1984, completed the entire training manual and achieved the coveted rank of San-Dan . Sifu McGhee received his 4th degree black belt rank from Grandmaster Connor in January 1989, five months prior to Connor's death. Sifu McGhee received honorary ranks of 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th black from his loyal students, and 9th black from Chuan-Fa America, Albuquerque, New Mexico, the martial arts organization headed by John Patrick Nieto. In December 2012 Sifu McGhee was honored with the rank of Ju-Dan or 10th black. To date, Sifu McGhee has awarded 18 black belts to accomplished martial artists. In recognition of his continued dedication to nurturing the Chinese Kenpo family tree, in 2007, Sifu McGhee was inducted into the Kenpo International Hall of Fame.