As long as I can remember I’ve loved Martial Arts. I remember daydreaming as a child about how great it would be if I coul d jump, kick and fly through the air like all of my favorite TV characters at the time. I rarely missed Kung Fu Theater, or anything with Bruce Lee, Steven Segal or Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Although I began practicing Karate under my own expert supervision at around 9 years old, it wasn’t until 1990, that I actually joined a real school. My first style was Ed Parker’s American Kenpo Karate. My instructor was Rich Hale, a long time teacher and student of Ed Parker and many other noteable martial artists. I quickly took to Karate and between competing and being enrolled in two different academies simultaneously; found myself training over thirty hours a week.
Somewhere during my training I realized that a total transformation was occuring within me. It was through martial arts that I began to become the man I always hoped I would be. Specifically, I found the arts instilling deeper awareness of discipline, commitment, balance, personal power and love. It was at this time that martial arts began to change for me and become more of a mental and spiritual than a physical pursuit. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always trained in a very physical way but the drive behind why I trained changed.
Teaching was an amazing experience for me and I suddenly found that all of the passion that had been brewing inside me as a student had a way to be expressed. I was amazed by the positive energy I got back from teaching; I was just trying to help others in the same way that I had been helped. I quickly realized though, that the more I gave the more I got.
So, through this realization I made a decision that I wanted to have something truly worthwhile and unique to teach. I decided that if I could become proficient in several different combat related arts, I would have a perspective that few people I had met possesed.
So a couple of years after earning my black belt in Kenpo I began training in the little known art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the Machados. At the time no one knew anything about grappling. I immediately fell in love with the art and recognized the gap in my skills that Jiu-Jitsu would fill. I continued training religiously and was the first American to be promoted to Black Belt by Jean Jacques Machado. In my martial arts career I have never seen a revolution like there was with grappling. Today people have accepted this as a must have skill for any serious martial artist.
A couple of years after earning my black belt in Jiu-Jitsu I decided to become involved in kickboxing. It was here that I met Mark Parra and The House of Champions. I found this added knowledge gave me a very thorough understanding of most ranges of fighting.
Today, I continue to teach and train. I continue to find deep meaning in the art of Martial Arts. I continue to feel rewarded by the relationships with my students, friends and instructors. I have been on this journey for a long time but never fail to be inspired.
Ed Parker’s American Kenpo Karate – 3rd Degree Black Belt