PASO ROBLES — On May 20, Paso Robles’ own Tae kwon do instructor, Grand Master Glen Boyer was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as the “Grandmaster of the Year” for 2017.
Boyer is a local Tae kwon do legend and the executive director of the Central Coast Academy of Tae kwon do located off of the 46 East. He has more than 45 years of experience and is a former World Kickboxing and International Tae kwon do Champion. Boyer is a soft-spoken, humble man, with a sense of humor, and to the unsuspecting he may appear innocuous, but don’t be fooled by the warm smile and calming demeanor, he is currently a 7th Degree Black Belt in Tae kwon do and Hapkido.
In laymen’s terms, according to Boyer, Hapkido is like Steven Seagal while Tae kwon do is more Chuck Norris. If you are still unsure of the difference, Seagal loves wrist locks while Norris devastate you with a round-house kick to the cranium. Boyer came to Paso Robles seven years ago to pursue his dream.
“I came up here from San Diego,” he said. “I was a computer engineer, a network engineer for the last 20 to 30 years in corporate America and I decided to get out of the rat race. I really didn’t want to keep doing computers, I still like to do them on the side as little personal projects, but I really wanted to fall back from that and go back into the martial arts. If you have the opportunity to do something you love, then find a way to do it.”
Boyer said that before he moved he knew that around 1,000 martial arts studios open and close every year in the U.S. For that reason, he came here without having any students signed up or committed.
“I don’t want to start something and then leave my students high and dry so I came here with zero students in 2010. In 2011, we won our first national competition, and from that point we won four straight national competitions.”
Boyer has been a huge part of the Paso Robles community — his instruction and leadership have helped shaped the lives of many children. Master Boyer teaches his students more than just the fundamentals of martial arts, he teaches them self-discipline. By the time a student reaches the black-belt level in Boyer’s school, they will also be A level students. In fact, two former valedictorians of Paso Robles High School have been students of Boyer.
“Academics is a really good tool for measuring your progress on learning how to control yourself,” Boyer said. “We have two students that have graduated with 4.6 grade averages, right here from at Paso Robles High School.”
One of those students is Alex Morales, former Paso Robles valedictorian and current astrophysicist.
While Boyer has certainly helped shape the lives of many children, his finest work may have come when he trained with Combat Controller Robert Gutierrez, Jr. in the Air Force. Combat Controllers are essentially the Air Forces version of Green Berets. Gutierrez was shot once in the lung and had two bullets graze off his helmet while serving in a high-risk nighttime raid to capture the number two Taliban leader in the region. There is a famous story familiar to those in the military about this mission: It’s called 10 Silver Stars. It’s the only time in history that the military has given out 10 silver stars at a single event. Then ten stars were given to the 10 Green Berets that were in the mission with Gutierrez, however, silver stars are only for army personnel. Gutierrez earned the Air Force Cross and a Purple Heart for his service.
Boyer is a master of Tae kwon do and gives all the credit to the teachers he has had along the way.
“I didn’t just come by this knowledge, my teachers taught me, and I teach my students the way I was taught so hopefully they can get the best training,” Boyer said.