GRAND MASTER ERIC O’NEAL, SR. OWNER/FOUNDER/PRESIDENT/CEO
Blue Lion Karate Academy LIONMAN Foundation, Inc. ONE Enterprises, LLC. Toys, Toys & Mo’ Toys “The Legend Of “LIONMAN” and “The Seven Kurodos” Grand Master Eric O’Neal has been a presence in martial arts for over 40 years, and has been working with the youth of New Orleans for over 25 years. Grand Master O’Neal was raised in the Desire housing project and introduced to marital arts at a young age. He grew up admiring Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris for their outstanding contributions to the world, and aspired to duplicate their efforts. At the age of eleven he won his first karate tournament in Lake Charles, LA. He went on to win the All South National Karate Championship three years straight. He then traveled across the country competing and winning a number of titles. At the age of seventeen, he graduated from G.W. Carver Sr. High School and took a break from Karate competition to focus on his education. He when to the University of New Orleans and studied marketing at Dillard University. Grand Master O’Neal he worked in corporate America for over ten years. He served as audit supervisor for several local hotels, including coordinating the startup of the Le Meridian hotel. He was hired by IT&T Corporation and advance to become the number five marketing person in their world-wide organization. He worked locally as a District Manager for Minolta Corporation, and holds a Real Estate License and Insurance License. In October, 1986, Grand Master O’Neal left the corporate world to return to martial arts and a focus on youth. He opened up BLUE LION KARATE ACADEMY in a garage, moving quickly to a storefront studio in Gentilly Woods Shopping Center. In the past 25 years, BLUE LION has grown the largest and most successful martial arts organization in the southeast. Through the Academy, Grand Master O’Neal has trained over 30,000 youth in the martial arts. Most of his students have graduated from high school and gone on to college, and are now successful in a wide range of professions.
He has trained many of the city’s police and business leaders, including Chief Eddie Compass. Also in 1986, Grand Master O’Neal returned to competition, and captured over 100 consecutive championships including the 1990 United States Karate Alliance (USKA) World Karate Championships Grand Champion Title. He went on to win Seven World Titles in his weight division. The USKA World Karate Championships is the same tournament that Chuck Norris won and that launched his career with the great Bruce Lee. Grand Master O’Neal was inducted into the International Karate Hall of Fame in 1988 along with Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee. In 1998, he was appointed to Team USA for the Goodwill Games and competed in Cancun, Mexico representing his country. He returned with two Gold Metals and one Silver Metal and was named Competitor of the Year by the President of the organization, Dr. Mayle. For the past 25 years Grand Master has worked with the youth of New Orleans, building self-esteem and self-control through martial arts training. He has established satellite after-school programs in many public and parochial schools, bringing the joy and discipline of martial arts training to youth throughout the city. From the beginning of the Blue Lion Academy, Grand Master O’Neal has combine training in the marital arts with a focus on self-esteem, the value of education, multicultural, and respect for all individuals. To support these values, Grand Master O’Neal developed the LIONMAN™ Super Hero concept. Students coming into the Academy and its satellite programs are exposed to a comprehensive program that supports the whole individual, and stresses the long term value of education and the skills learned in the martial arts classes. Seventy percent of the students in the programs have straight “A”s in school, and all show increased academic performance and improved behavior both in and out of school. Grand Master O’Neal is constantly exploring ways to bring his programs to youth who would otherwise not be able to afford the training. In 2003 he founded The LIONMAN Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing discipline, respect and better future to youth throughout the city. Through the Foundation, Master O’Neal is working at Fannie C. Williams Middle School to establish a 6th Grade Academy and with the ADEPT elementary after school program. Bringing the discipline of martial arts training into the schools provides students with increased interpersonal skills and self-esteem, leading to better performance both academically and socially at school. In his personal and professional life, Grand Master O’Neal has overcome many obstacles because he understands the minds of young and old alike. He devotes many hours to speaking at schools in and around the country. He teaches that martial arts are 10% physical and 90% mental. Grand Master O’Neal dedicates his life to teaching that physiology to today’s youth to help them overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds facing them.
Grand Master Eric O’Neal was one of the first members of the 100 Black Men Organization, and is a member of Kuro Bushi Kai Karate Do Kempo, the All American Martial Arts Brotherhood Association, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternal, Inc., the NAACP, the United States Karate Alliance and countless other organizations. He is a recipient of the “Kool Achiever”, a national award that recognizes outstanding civic leadership, and has been awarded the Trail Brazier Award a number of times. True to his word to give back to the community, Grand Master Eric O’Neal is frequently called upon to speak and hold programs for different organizations worldwide. He has spoken at over 700 hundred schools in the past 25 years. He has taught at Xavier University, Dillard University, Delgado College, Tulane University, Loyola University and just about all public, parochial, nursery schools and summer camps in the New Orleans area. Master O’Neal is committed to teaching our youth to be strong, confident and successful warriors for the next generation to come.