Blanck Celebrates 42 Years in Pacific Palisades

Gerry Blanck held a wooden plank for a student, who punched it in half during the festivities at his 42nd celebration party.


More than 100 residents gathered on Marquez Avenue on March 26 to wish Gerry Blanck’s business a “Happy 42nd Birthday.”

Blanck, or as his students call him, Sensei (teacher in Japanese), moved to the Palisades in 1982. After initially teaching in five different clubs at 881 Alma Real (La Sante, Tech Fitness, Pritikin, Century and Pacific Athletic Club – which moved to Sunset and PCH and is now the Bay Club), he and Emily Kay Tillman of Fancy Feet Dance Studio took the spaces that had been occupied by health clubs in 1994. They added flooring and mirrors for dance and martial arts.

He moved to his dojo on Marquez Avenue in March 2022.

Blanck, a former WKA world kickboxing champion, an 8th degree black belt, is a major martial arts force in Pacific Palisades.

He teaches students of all skills, from total novices to experts: and ages, from 5-year-olds to 60-year-olds.

Blanck’s students and friends shared many stories about him— his strength, his virtue, his personality.

Harrison Wade, freshman at New Roads High School and first-degree black belt, is an assistant sensei at Blanck’s dojo.

“Mr. Blanck is kind of a celebrity to us,” he said. “He’s won so many competitions that the dojo is covered in trophies.”

Indeed, the dojo is filled with trophies, some of which Blanck’s students have won. Blanck went to great lengths to show off all the trophies to this writer. More impressive than their numbers are their sizes, some reaching more than five feet tall.

“It heartens me when I get to see all these people come together,” said Blanck, setting down a large trophy one of his students had won in 1999. “It’s more than comradery— we’re like family.”

Outside of the dojo, catering from several local businesses was available for the party. Palisades Garden Cafe, Dominos, Cuplifters provided food and Tif’s Spiked took care of drinks. (The food was delicious, this writer sampled it.)

As the festivities continued, Blanck’s students exhibited skills to awed spectators. From flying sidekicks to nunchuck and staff techniques, the dojo was filled with raucous applause after each feat. Kids breaking wooden planks with their fists was a huge hit.

Gerry Blanck encourages a student as he kicks a block of wood in half.

It should come as no surprise that Gerry Blanck is well-loved by the Palisades, and for good reason. Almost every attendee had a personal story to share. Julia Nilsen, mother of three, has sent every single one of her kids to Blanck’s dojo, and all have received black belts.

“Gerry definitely taught my kids discipline and team building,” Julia said. “He really lifts kids up like no one else.”

Blanck has always been active in the community, routinely marching in the July 4 parade with his students, giving exhibitions at events and annually sponsoring a Pacific Palisades Baseball Association team.

For those who’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is an auspicious number: “The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, everything.” One could say that Blanck is living the number 42.

His center is located at 16624 Marquez Avenue. Click here.

Gerry Blanck with Vivian Foster, who came to help him celebrate.
Foster owns Vivian’s Boutique, which has been in business for 38 years.


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6 Responses to Blanck Celebrates 42 Years in Pacific Palisades

  1. none says:

    Opps!! CIN

    Did you forget to mention it was Palibu organizing this event for Gerry Blanck’s.
    Not sure how you missed that information. Since it was given to you weeks ago.
    Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce Sunset Mixer!!

    We’re celebrating Gerry Blanck, Long-time Palisades business owner of Gerry Blanck’s Martial Arts Studio, as he marks an incredible 42 years of excellence in Pacific Palisades!

  2. Sue says:

    CTN was invited by Gerry Blanck–who I have written about before. Maybe CIN was not aware that it was a Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce Sunset Mixer.

  3. Lisa Sweetingham says:

    Thank you for covering this for those of us who couldn’t be there!
    We love Gerry. He’s the unofficial Mayor of Pacific Palisades.

  4. Gerry Blanck says:

    A big thanks to the Malibu Palisades Chamber of Commerce for having the sunset mixer celebrating my anniversary , so happy to be back ,, and thanks to circling the news for covering the event 👍👍👍

  5. M says:

    Good for Gerry! A good person and an asset to the Palisades. He deserves all the celebrating he can get.

    “Palibu”??? what the heck is that?

  6. Adele H. says:

    Thank you Circling The News for including a picture of my son, Grayson, kicking the board! What an excellent action shot – he’s so proud! And thank you for such great coverage celebrating Gerry. So well deserved. And special shout out to Holly at the Palibu Chamber of Commerce (Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce merged, for M who asked what Palibu was.)
    Holly – you did a phenomenal job not only organizing this event and promoting it but also including all the surrounding businesses – such as ours (The Gray Dragon) and our neighbor – Prana by Lana.
    Love when everyone work so well together to promote all the stores on this street that is a little off the beaten path! Thank you everyone! Happy Easter weekend! ❤️❤️🐰🐰🐰

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