For closing on three decades, teaching martial arts has not just been been my career, but it’s so much more! This has become a way of life for me. It is quite literally the lens through which I view the world!
There are so many out there who never find something they can be truly passionate about so that their work be an integral part of who they are. I am extremely fortunate to have found martial arts. I am even more fortunate to have lived mere minutes from Master Tom Callos’ Studio in Reno in 1990! At the time, he had one of the largest and fastest growing martial arts studios … anywhere. He had an amazingly talented staff, and the students were top notch. He was teaching at a level that was years ahead of his time. And I got to be a part of that!
I can’t even imagine what I’d be doing today or who I’d be if I had not walked into that studio when I did. I had tried baseball and almost football and knew I wasn’t the most athletic kid, but when I was in classes at West Coast Taekwondo on S. McCarren Blvd., I felt like I could do anything! My teachers were amazing and pushed us hard to be better than we were the class before. They supported and encouraged us through whatever challenges they could think up. Black Belt trainings were grueling … and I loved every painful minute of it!
When I earned my brown belt, I received an invitation to assist in classes. Well, that invitation is one for the record books. In the first three months of being a new brown belt, I assisted in over 200 classes and had learned the curriculum, forms and all, all the way through 3rd Degree Black Belt! Not even joking, I was THE studio rat!
The opportunity to learn to teach with some of the best martial arts teachers was life-changing. That time in my life defined who I would be for years to come. I am still that person and I still enjoy teaching classes just as much, if not more, than I did as an eager, young brown belt! I hope that I will be able to do this for the rest of my life and I hope that I can be for someone what my teachers were for me.
I am a martial artist .... and this is what I do!
As a member of the Ultimate Black Belt Test 2018, I am dedicated to improving myself and the martial arts I teach by passing on the lessons I'm continuously leaning through the process. I am committed to adding to the work of my mentor and UBBT creator and coach, Tom Callos, by expanding on what martial arts can represent in our studio and in our community. If you'd like to know more about the Ultimate Black Belt test or the work of Tom Callos, please feel free to visit the sites linked above!