A Bit About Me
Monkey see monkey do. Such is the nature of nearly all little boys, and I was certainly no different. With the seemingly boundless energy that I had growing up, watching karate films, or nearly anything with hand to hand combat, led to me attempting to recreate the action I saw acted out before me. I took it a little farther than most children, I was the one who wanted to do it for real. I pestered my parents on a regular basis to let me learn martial arts. Really anything would do, it was all just "karate" to me back then. Our options were severely limited in my childhood as we weren't financially stable, and the typical fees for such classes were not easily spared. We needed something that wasn't a drain on the bank account, and ideally founded in Christianity, both standards combined being few and far between.
Dojos of the Risen Son: Taekwondo Instructed by Greg Stratton from a biblical standpoint, my first opportunity for my childhood dream to come true. It was a small dojo with not much history and was taught as a single class within a homeschooling co-op under the name of "The Learning Community". Classes were fairly cheap due to the small reputation of the dojo, and the community matched my parents standards closely enough to sign me up. I was ecstatic and could barely contain my anticipation. I continuously attended classes for a couple years and was overconfident, learning the physical material without understanding the equally important character traits that must be developed in tandem. This went on until somehow I got my hands on some foam toy nunchaku, and thinking I was just playing, essentially bullied some of the less outspoken students. This wasn't tolerated for very long and I had to have a meeting with Barry Bond and my parents, as Sensei Bond had taken over the class from Stratton since I started. I was very sensitive to reprimands and it woke me up to what else mattered, deeper within the martial arts.
After that I spent the next few years working towards my black belt and developing my character as best as I could with the influences around me. I learned how closely the qualities in martial arts reflected the fruits of the spirit and began to appreciate more the Bible verses we were required to memorize. Through my teenage years I was determined to make it to black belt, constantly being supported by my parents and driven to the classes weekly. I finally got it the same month I turned 17. After 6 years of learning, failing, and growing, I made it. That was just the first step though apparently. Earning my black belt was just the beginning, I realized I couldn't stop there and continued to set my sights higher and farther, and run with perseverance the race set before me. It became difficult to find motivation after reaching my black belt unfortunately as I was in a point in my life where I was having to go through the stages of finding jobs and figuring out what to do for school and other aspects of my future. I went to classes sparingly and was barely hanging on to my aspirations under the weight of all my other responsibilities. I somehow managed to push through and make it to my 2nd degree black belt shortly before the head instructors made the decision to switch styles to Karate, as we no longer had anyone in the dojo who was high enough to continue to teach the instructors. Since Stratton had passed the dojo on to Bond Sensei and Brooks Sensei years before, we were stuck. We switched styles and merged with a karate dojo founded by Shidoshi Geoffrey Spohn.
I rediscovered my eagerness to learn with the introduction of a new martial art and continued to where I am today, finally finding the confidence in myself to commit to being an instructor. I want to share with others the life changing aspects of martial arts, primarily the self discipline, work ethic, and integrity, that are valued in every aspect of life outside of the dojo itself. The physical health and love for God are just a couple of the countless benefits that martial arts can have on a person's life, and it is an experience that I strongly encourage anyone to explore.