Kevin Lee Bronson has seen it all, and now he's willing to show that to everyone else.

After rising up as an elite martial arts fighter, compiling a 213-2 competitive record, Bronson had it all stripped away after serving time in prison.
Now with the help of friends, and his path to spirituality, he's on his way back up.

"I met a pastor, who began as a fitness client of mine," Bronson said about the beginning of his turnaround. "We started to talk about God, and after about two months, I saw I needed Him."

According to Bronson, his reason for needing the help from a higher power stemmed from drug and alcohol abuse following his incarceration between 1986 and 1992.

Prior to any problems with the law, Bronson was on top of the fighting world from 1974 to 1985.

Earning a sixth-degree black belt in Oikiru-Ryu Ju-Jitsu, a sixth-degree black belt in Taiho-Ryu Karate and a seventh-degree black belt in Golden Dragon-Ryu Kemp Jutsu, Bronson became a five-time United States full-contact karate champion, a two-time grand national karate champion and went undefeated as a World Full-Contact Karate Champion.

But right when everything was going right, Bronson's career was halted.

As part owner of 24-Hour Natalius Spa in Arizona, Bronson was incarcerated for alleged money laundering for organized crime.

Being sent to prison, Bronson then joined up with a gang, which caused him to enter the darkest period of his life.

"I've literally seen more violence than most people who go to war," Bronson said of his time in prison.

Among his many injuries, the violence from his days in a gang resulted in him suffering two broken hips, a broken neck and having half his face rebuilt.

Upon his release in 1992, Bronson remained in Arizona where drugs and alcohol got their claws into him.

In 1996, the South Bend-born Bronson received a phone call from a friend in Warsaw, convincing him to move back to Indiana.

"'Come home and rebuild your life.'" Bronson said about that conversation. "That's exactly what he told me."

"That was a great decision," he added. "I want to thank the Warsaw residents. They have really helped me with my walk with God, and I'm grateful to the Warsaw Community for that. I fought addiction and alcoholism, and the Lord Jesus Christ brought me out of that."

The journey to spirituality has also led him to meet many of his current friends, including his fiance Lisa Bennington and his pastor at New Life Christian Church, John B. Lowe II.

"I've noticed a tremendous change in Kevin," Lowe said of Bronson, who is a member of Men Following Christ. "I look forward to seeing what God has in store for his life."

One change for Bronson, which has admittedly made him a bit nervous, is a proposed film that several studios have showed interested in.

"(Kevin's) story has a different type of rise to redemption," producer Michael Webber said. "It has all the necessary parts to make for a good movie."

What intrigues Webber, who is currently making three movies for 20th Century Fox and another for Lionsgate, most is Bronson's spiritual redemption.

"Everyone's seen the story where someone has money, loses money, then gets it back," Webber said. "However, Kevin's redemption is not that kind of rise. His is different, deeper."

The movie is currently in its infancy, with an option contract to be hammered out this summer, then the slow process of making a movie can commence.

"Right now, we're in preliminary development," Webber said. "We're still trying to figure out more about the story, and figure out where all the pieces fall into place."

"It takes a long time to develop and champion a movie to the point where we can take it to studios or make it an independent film," he added.

No matter how slow the Hollywood process is, Bronson's blown away by it.

"It's kind of wild," he said. "I'm humbled by all the interest and recognition I'm getting. I'm humbled that God has given me the opportunity to make a movie about my life."

On top of the movie deal, Bronson seems to be even more excited about the martial arts community opening its arms back up to him.

After his incarceration, Bronson says many in the community were upset about what had happened to their "Golden Boy." Now, all these years later, he's getting the recognition.

Last year, he was inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Alliance Hall of Fame as the winningest fighter in history. Two months later, the World Karate Union inducted him into their hall of fame, giving him a Golden Lifetime Achievement Award.

"It broke a lot of hearts when I went to prison," Bronson said. "I've really been forgiven in the past two years. God has changed hearts."

Then, on April 4 of this year, the U.S. Hall of Fame once again inducted Bronson, this time for Outstanding Achievement.

"To be inducted two years in a row isn't common," Bronson said. "I can't believe it. All the glory goes to God."

In the hall of fame's history, only five men have received consecutive inductions, with Bruce Lee, Frank Dux, Bill Wallace and Chuck Norris joining Bronson.

With an engaging personality, it's not hard to see how a movie could be made about Bronson, who seems to have people gravitate to him.

"I have my dad's charisma," Bronson said. "It's one of the things I got from him, and I have my mom's genuine attitude. That's what people are drawn to."

His personality makes it hard not to like being around him, even if he's meeting a person under negative circumstances.

"I met him in 1996, and I've spent some time with him off and on," Kosciusko County Chief Deputy Aaron Rovenstine said. "I've gotten to know him as a unique individual. He's strong-willed, but not as bull-headed and as stubborn as he was when I first met him."

And Bronson credits his spirituality for that turnaround.

"Over the past two-and-a-half to three years, I've really developed my relationship with God," he said.

"I had just gotten out of drugs and alcohol, and was just dealing with the emotions of having been involved with gang violence," he added. "I didn't have the answers. I began to read the Bible, and began to get those answers, and it made sense to me."

Now, Bronson has an exercise physiology degree, a nutrition degree, has three certifications as a professional personal fitness trainer and puts all those qualifications to work as a trainer at Anytime Fitness in Warsaw.

"People really respond to him," Anytime Fitness Manager Drew Evans said.

The charisma has always been there, and now that he's turned his life around, Bronson's getting the recognition he's deserved from the fighting community as well as getting a movie made about him, which he plans to dedicate to the memory of his father, Samuel Isaac Bailin, who passed away this year.

"Life is coming full circle," Bronson said.