Grandmaster Nick Gracenin Biography
Grandmaster Nick Gracenin was born in the United States and is the director of the Peng Fei Wushu Association of North America. He began formal practice of the martial arts at age 12 and studied Judo, Chinese Kempo, Shotokan and Kwanmukan Karate through his youth. Gracenin gained experience in several martial arts until he joined the Penn State University Kung Fu Club in 1977, studying Northern Shaolin and Yang style Taijiquan. When the instructors for those classes left State College, Gracenin and training partner Vince Kam became the leaders of the club and traveled to Boston to learn from the internationally renowned martial artist, Grandmaster Bow-Sim Mark. From 1978 until 1983, Gracenin studied diligently under Bow-Sim Mark’s direction as well as traveling throughout North America to meet and train with other Wushu enthusiasts and experts. In 1983 Gracenin returned to his hometown to establish a branch of his Master’s school, the Chinese Wushu Research Institute and the following year was invited to join her team and compete in China at the first International Taijiquan Friendship Exchange. There in Wuhan were gathered most of the foremost experts of Taijiquan in China, and these introductions would lead Gracenin on a journey of study and training he never imagined possible.
Gracenin has traveled throughout the world and trained under many of the top masters of both traditional and contemporary Chinese martial arts. He has developed a high level of expertise in Taijiquan, Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, Bajiquan, Changquan, Nanquan and Taiji Meihua Tanglangquan. Gracenin excels at weaponry, handling sword, spear, broadsword and staff with dexterity and detailed usage. He also is skilled at long sword, halberd, double weapons such as swords, sabers, daggers, maces, hooks, and spears, and flexible weapons such as nine-section whip, three-section staff and rope dart.
From 1986 to 1999, Grandmaster Gracenin was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Wushu Federation in Beijing, PRC. He is also a founding member of the USA Wushu Kungfu Federation, is a board member of the United Kungfu Federation of North America and an advisor to the International Wushu Sanshou Dao Association. He holds certificates from the Chinese Wushu Association in Beijing, the Jiangsu Provincial Wushu Academy in Nanjing and the International Wushu Federation in Beijing, PRC. In addition to an 8th degree Black Belt from the International Wushu Sanshou Dao Association, Grandmaster Gracenin holds a Master’s rank of 5th degree Black Belt in Kwan Mu Kan Karate. In 1983, he was the Black Belt Weapons Champion of the United States Karate Association.
Grandmaster Gracenin is a 1980 graduate of Pennsylvania State University and conducts workshops and demonstrations throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Master Gracenin has taught in the Human Performance and Exercise Science Department at Youngstown State University and for The Pennsylvania State University. He taught at the UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine and for Bank of New York -Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gracenin taught for the Washington Yu Ying Chinese immersion public charter school and Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School in Washington, DC. Through the Area Agency on Aging, Catholic Charities Diocese of Pittsburgh, and several senior centers, hospitals, and church groups, thousands of senior citizens have found his classes helpful and enjoyable. Gracenin frequently teaches in Boston and for the Harvard Wushu Club. He is often called upon as a consultant and advisor to numerous national and international martial arts federations and organizations. In 2005 Gracenin and several of his students formed the Peng Fei Wushu Association of North America, with branches in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Saskatchewan, Canada.
A member of the USA Wushu and Taiji Teams, Gracenin won 9 medals at international championships in China. At the Hangzhou 1988 world championships he was selected to represent all the athletes in a pledge to fair and honorable competition. As a team leader in 1991, he brought the USA Wushu Team to perform at the US Embassy in Beijing and made Ambassador Roy’s son Anthony an honorary team member. An International level judge, Gracenin is often called upon to officiate and teach judges training. He has produced over twenty members of U.S. teams including several national champions and continues to train students for both national and international competition. In 2006, Jose Johnson, one of Gracenin’s top students achieved his 5th degree Black Belt from the International Wushu Sanshou Dao Association, elevating Gracenin to Grandmaster status. Inside Kungfu magazine in 1999 named him one of the top “100 Influential Martial Artists of the Century” and, in 2005, inducted him into their Hall of Fame as “Man of the Year”. He has been interviewed by the New York Times Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and several US and international martial arts publications. Gracenin has appeared on the NBC Today Show, CCTV, ESPN, ESPN2 and Pay-per-View events as a commentator for martial arts competition and demonstration.