American Karate System
John Folsom, 8th Dan

John Folsom
American Karate System
8th Degree Black Belt
Chief Instructor Salem Karate Club

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John Folsom was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, where his father was a physician for many years. It was there, in April of 1967, that Mr. Folsom began to study karate with Mr. Lieb, the founder of the American Karate System.

At that time, the style was Chi-Do-Kwan, and two of Mr. Lieb's first Black Belts, Monty Bachtol and Carl Stolberg, were assistant instructors. Mr. Lieb allowed John Folsom, as a brown belt, to assist with instruction at the school, and he received his First degree Black Belt on February 8, 1971. These were very special years for Mr. Folsom with Mr. Lieb, and it was through Mr. Lieb that he had the privilege to meet and train with Mr. Yamashita. Mr. Folsom competed in a number of tournaments in the early years, and he continues to attend many AKS seminars and clinics. He has also hosted several AKS training sessions in West Virginia. Currently, he is the AKS regional director for the State of West Virginia. He is an active member of the AKS and AKA.

When Mr. Folsom moved to Salem, West Virginia to attend Salem College, he started the Salem Karate Club, originally named the Salem College Karate Club. It is one of the two remaining AKS schools of the original thirteen. He has been the head instructor for 38 years, and during that time he has taught hundreds of students and promoted over 37 Black Belts. Some of his students have achieved state, national, and international recognition. At this time his assistant instructors are Mr. Jude Gore, 6th Dan, Mr. Brian Greynolds, 5th Dan, and Mr. Patrick Fluharty, 1st Dan.

In addition to the AKS rank of 7th Degree Black Belt, Mr. Folsom also has earned his 2nd Dan in Shotokan Karate and 3rd Kyu Brown in Judo. Mr. Folsom's influence in karate in Harrison County has been immense, with many of his Black Belts have opening their own schools.

Mr. Folsom joined the Salem City Police Department in June of 1976. He began as a patrolman and worked his way through the ranks to become Chief of Police from March, 1983 through August, 1989. He then became Director of Security at Salem-Teikyo University for 13 years, but returned to law enforcement in April, 2002. His current rank is Captain.

Mr. Lieb, 10th Dan and founder of the AKS, instilled a drive in Mr. Folsom that has continued since he earned his 1st Degree Black Belt. He enjoys teaching and helping students in karate. He never dreamed he would have a school that would exist for 38 years. This began by accident when Mr. Floyd Goodson, who was teaching Judo at the Seventh Day Baptist Church, invited Mr. Folsom to participate and also teach karate. He still has many ties with Black Belts in Muskegon, Michigan and Texas. He looks forward to training and socializing with them at least twice a year. Mr. Folsom lives in Salem, West Virginia with his wife, Leota, a retired middle school teacher, their three Shelties Duncan, McTavish, Riley, and their cat Jeeves.

Black Belt Promotion Dates
      1st Dan American Karate System - February 8, 1971

      2nd Dan American Karate System - August 17, 1972

      3rd Dan American Karate System - July 12, 1974

      4th Dan American Karate System - December 21, 1975

      5th Dan American Karate System - August 5, 1980

      6th Dan American Karate System, Master Level - June 13, 2003

      7th Dan American Karate System, Master Level - July 20, 2007

      8th Dan American Karate System, Master Level - November 2, 2013

Martial Arts Awards
      1972  AKS Instructor of the Year

      1974  AKA #3 School in the Nation, Salem College Karate Club

      1975  West Virginia Upward Bound Award

      1976  Inducted into the AKA Hall of Fame

      1977  AKA #8 School in the Nation, Salem Karate Club

      1982-1983 Edition  Who's Who in Karate and Other Martial Arts and Black Belt Directory

      1967 - 1971  West Michigan Christian High School

      1971 - 1977  Salem College, BS and BA in Behavioral Science

      197x - 1977  West Virginia Vocation and Public Service Training - Law Enforcement Certification

Educational Awards
      1973, 1974, 1975  Dean's List Salem College

      1974 - 1975  Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities

Law Enforcement Awards
      April 17, 1978  National Law Enforcement Academy, Certificate of Achievement in Criminal Investigation

      1980 Edition  Who's Who in American Law Enforcement

      March 9, 1983  Office of Governor John D. Rockefeller IV, Law Enforcement Certificate of Achievement

      March 8, 1986  Harrison County Bureau of EMS Services, Recognition and Appreciation Award for Assistance during the flood of 1985

      March 11, 1989  Harrison County Bureau of EMS Services, Captain John Smith Award for school bus Incident February 19, 1988

      April 19, 1996  Harrison County Bureau of EMS Services, Citizens Excellence Award, Volunteer Services

      March 17, 2006  Harrison County of EMS Services, Sherlock Holmes Award for 27 felony count investigation of stolen debit cards using U.S. Postal Service mail

      June 26, 2008  Office of Governor Joe Manchin III, Certificate of Recognition

John received his AKA AwardJohn receiving his AKA Award John performing Flying Side KickJohn performing "Flying Side Kick" John promoting Patrick Fluharty to ShodanJohn promoting Patrick Fluharty to Shodan
John with Jude Gore, Brian Greynolds and Sandy GoreJohn with Jude Gore, Brian Greynolds, and Sandy Gore John and Master MarquezJohn and Master Marquez