Mr. McCall receives the Highest Martial Arts Fighter Award

June 25, 2018

American Freestyle Karate Club

4060B Hwy 16N

Denver, North Carolina 28037


Press Release

Mr. McCall Receives Highest Martial Arts Award

Mr. Danny R. McCall, owner of American Freestyle Karate Club of Denver, NC, received the PKA Joe Lewis Eternal Warrior Award in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14, at the Battle of Atlanta 50-year anniversary karate tournament, held at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel and Convention Center. The inductees were selected from this 50-year span of sport karate history by promoter Joe Corley, along with martial art icons Bill Wallace and Jeff Smith. The reunion and banquet, called "The Gathering of World Changers", included karate and kickboxing champions who helped change the history of the sport. "These are the world changers of our sport," says Joe Corley. "They were the fighters willing to go one more round." This is the highest Fighters Award in the Martial Arts & PKA.

Danny R. McCall, known as "Thunderbolt", fought and was also co-Captain on a five-man kickboxing team called "The Charlotte Warhawks", which defeated every team that challenged them until they retired undefeated in1978. Mr. McCall was also individually ranked in the world top 10 by NKA and was the North Carolina Champion. Mr. McCall traveled the SEKA & DOJO & NASAKA karate point circuit of karate for some 25 years and became a world rated fighter and winning some of the biggest Karate Tournaments in the US.

The award is named after Joe Lewis, a native of Knightdale, N.C., who passed away with a brain tumor on August 31, 2012. Joe was the best fighter in the history of the PKA sport of kickboxing voted by his peers such as karate champion Chuck Norris, star of TV series Walker, Texas Ranger. Lewis was the first to fight a kickboxing match in 1970 against Greg Baines, which earned him the title, PKA Father of Kickboxing. "He paved the way for all of us who fought," said Danny McCall. "He was the result of MMA today." Mr. McCall trained with Joe Lewis and shared fighting theories and Joe even sign Mr. McCall’s 4th dan Black Belt Certificate.

Mr. McCall, known as "Thunderbolt", received his awards from Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, PKA middle weight champion, and Jeff "The DC Bomber" Smith, PKA light-heavy weight champion. They are two of the best kickboxers in the history of martial arts, who begin their infamous careers airing on ABC’s Wide World of Entertainment in 1974. Joe Corley commended Mr. McCall on stage for his life-changing contribution to the sport. "This is the most coveted award in karate," said Mr. McCall. "I am honored to be included with all these champions. These are martial artists that I grew up reading about in the karate magazines. It secures my history."

Some of the recipients of the award are Joe Lewis, Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith, Jerome "Magic" Johnson and Danny R. McCall’s current instructor, Jerry Piddington, from Medford, Oregon.

Danny McCall was inducted into this elite group of karate and kickboxing world champions alongside his fellow Charlotte Warhawk team members, Ricky "Flash" Smith, Randy "Bullet" Smith from China Grove, NC, Jimmy Horsely and the late Keith Haflick from Richmond Va.

Some of the other veteran karate champions who received this award included Pat Burleson (first point karate champion in 1964 from Azle, Texas, known as "The Father of all Karate Champions"), Allen Steen (known as Father of karate in Texas), Pat Johnson (with film credits such as Karate Kid, Enter The Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mortal Kombat, from Los Angeles, Ca.), Michael DePasquale Jr. (jiu-Jitsu champion and film maker from River Vale, NJ), Stephen Hayes (American ninja master and author from Dayton, Ohio), Ray Thompson, and his son Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (UFC fighter known for his kicking and striking from Simpsonville, SC).

Mr. McCall currently operates the American Freestyle Karate Club in Denver, NC as he has for the last 40 years with his long time Black Belts Joe McClellan, Mike Keever, Ronnie Ward, Matt Watson, Stacy Speckman, Harvey Sharpe and 15 other awesome Black Belts. Contact info: or 704-579-7034


PKA WORLDWIDE who are we?

Meet Danny McCall!

Hanshi McCall is a 9th Degree Black Belt with more than 45 years of living the life of a Karate Lifer. Holds Rank in numerous other systems of Study and has continued to teach for over 40 years on a weekly schedule at his Dojo in Denver, NC. A Martial Arts Hall of Famer selected and awarded the Sport Karate Museum Dragon Image Fighting award, The Dojo’s Organizations Best Fighter of his Era, The Jerry C. Piddington Natural Fighter Award, United Karate Federation, American Martial Arts Association, and many others. But, after all the years of competing, his true love is teaching others the way. Hanshi McCall has 20 Black Belts after 40 years and each one is very special to him. They represent the future of karate and will stand on his shoulders to see further down the Karate road, continue to teach Kaizen, learn about Sisu, and the challenges and wisdom of life. Started and developed “American Freestyle Karate” in 1977 and was inspired by the Olympics Freestyle swimming where you “CAN DO ANYTHING”.
Mr. McCall was awarded multiple Fighter of the Year awards and fighting Championships in his Karate history. While working as a Mechanical Nuclear Engineer, he was competing with the undefeated “Charlotte Warhawks” – Owned and lead by GM Piddington who made sure they had the best and were ready to compete. Mr. McCall was a full-time instructor at the America Karate Academies and worked at all five of GM Piddington’s Dojos, where he would assist GM Piddington in the daily operations of the schools.
Mr. McCall studied with Mr. Paul Storms (Shotokan Karate), Grandmaster Joe Martin (Li Ki Kung Fu), Ron Wilson (Taekwondo), 40 years of being a mentor and exchanging ideas with his long time instructor Mr. Jerry Piddington (American Shorei-Shorin Karate Do),( American Open Karate). Over the years has trained and exchanged ideas with so many great Black Belts and Karate Pioneers was co-Captain of the “Charlotte Warhawks” along with Ricky & Randy Smith, Jimmy Horsley, and the late great Keith Haflick.
A Student of the Vietnam War and all that comes with that education, including the Purple Heart, that represents his commitment to winning. He always says “When I left we were winning”.
A Mechanical Nuclear Engineer for 7 years with Duke Power and one of the lead System design team engineers in the start-up of McGuire Nuclear plant in 1981
A successful business owner for 30 years in the Marine industry – Denver Recreational Marine, Inc. was a force to be reckoned with in the bass boat market, selling the number one bass boat in the world-Ranger Bass Boats. Hanshi McCall sold his dealership in 2017 and is now enjoying family and life in the DOJO.