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50 Years of Self-Defense Instruction

Lanny Reed was an avid wrestler in high school, wrestling in the 112-pound weight class. It was no wonder that when he joined the Air Force in 1967, Reed began taking martial arts instruction to fill his spare time.

While he was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, in Anchorage, Alaska, Reed began taking judo classes and eventually became an instructor. It was during this time that he was given the opportunity to compete in the Air Force Judo Championships, where he would go head-to-head with airmen from bases all over the world. In 1968, he was able to take 4th place and take 5th place in 1969.

In addition to his judo training, Reed developed an interest in other styles of martial arts and participated in karate as well. Over time his love of martial arts blossomed, and, with much training and discipline, he was able to earn his black belt in Hakkoryu Ju-Jitsu in 1969.

After his military service, Lanny Reed founded the Golden Dragon martial arts school at the Williamsport YMCA in 1970. His idea was to teach multiple styles of martial arts under one roof, which was very unique at the time. Reed also founded the Pennsylvania State Judo Championships, which were also held at the Williamsport YMCA, and was in charge of organizing them for eight years.

In 1972 Reed was accepted to the police academy, where he found there was very little hand-to-hand combat training. This lack of available training led to his work to improve defensive tactics for officers. He was a police officer from 1972 to 1996, where he spent 16 years working in narcotics. He was also one of the original founders of the police department’s Special Response Team (SRT).

After leaving the city police force, Reed joined the District Attorney’s office in 1997 as an investigator, where he mainly investigated child abuse and sex crimes. Eventually, Reed was promoted to Chief County Detective, where he assisted other police departments in the region with their investigations and court preparation.

In 2008, Reed left the DA’s office and earned his Private Investigator’s License. He currently teaches tactical skills to police departments, acts as a process server, and is hired to assist in criminal and civil investigations. He is also certified to teach hand-cuffing techniques as well as firearms training, including handguns, rifles, and hidden shotguns. In addition, Reed teaches the use of the baton and pepper spray.

Though he is still very busy with his investigative work, his passion for teaching self-defense has not faded over the years. In addition to teaching children and adult martial arts and self-defense classes at the Golden Dragon, he also teaches self-defense to church and women’s groups as well as the legal aspects of self-defense.

“We are one of the oldest Judo and Ju-Jitsu schools in the state and the oldest martial arts studio in our area. We have taught Judo, Ju-Jitsu, self-defense classes throughout the area including the Williamsport Recreation Commission, local hospitals, Wise Options, mental health agencies, Children & Youth Services, STEP, at local schools for teachers and students, local businesses, the Girl Scouts, local and state police, and security officers,” said Reed.

He currently holds a 6th-degree black belt in USA Ju-Jitsu, 3rd degree black in USA Judo, 5th degree black in USJA Judo, 1st degree black in Hakkoryu Ju-Jitsu, and 2nd degree in Dan Zan Ryu Ju-Jitsu.

Students at the Golden Dragon range from elementary-aged children to senior citizens and persons with physical limitations. They offer a variety of classes for all ages, including Ju-Jitsu, Basic Self-Defense, Olympic Sport Judo (which uses throws, grappling arts, arm-bars, and chokes), and a youth wrestling program called Dog Pound Wrestling.

When asked if he would ever retire from martial arts, Reed replied, “They say it takes ten years to learn to control yourself and another ten years to control others. I’m still learning. I love martial arts and cannot imagine ever retiring.”

For more information on self-defense classes or group training for your organization, contact Lanny Reed at the Golden Dragon: 613 East Willow Street, Williamsport, or call 570-419-0873.

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