I started training in martial arts later in life, after being a certified "gym rat." After several injuries, I started looking into the martial training that my daughters were taking as part of their home-school program. Fifteen years and several styles of training later, I earned my 4th Dan in Tang Soo Do from Grand Master Song Ki Pak. I have also trained in Wing Chun, Sun Mu Sul, Chen Style Taiji, and Tai Chi Gung. While I am very proud to be part of the United Tang Soo Do Federation, my proudest moments come from watching the reactions from students when they finally prove to themselves that they can do something like this. Especially when I present them with the rank they just earned. It's very humbling.
When I retired from the corporate world, I wanted to do something that gave back to the community, so we opened this school, with the blessing of my instructor, Master Richard Sixkiller, Master Ernie Johnson, and Grand Master Pak.
From the very beginning, our mission has been to use the martial arts to teach values such as respect, courtesy, perseverance, loyalty, courage, teamwork, focus , and character to the village of Ponte Vedra and Nocatee. We want to be part of the village that it takes to raise children, that is our mission.
Along the way, I use my extensive knowledge of the service industry to deliver an experience that is second to none.
We had parents bring their son to us who was very shy and quiet and a bit small for his age. He was also adopted from another country and the parents thought that martial arts training would be a good fit for him. When he started he was a bit uncoordinated and interacted little with the other students. His parents wanted him to find more self-confidence, and they saw that first hand when he was bullied in school. Turns out that the instinctive training we worked with him on gave him the ability to fend off a bully and protect himself from injury. Now that he is advancing to the next program, he is full of spirit and confidence. He may still be a bit shy from time to time, but to the see the transformation has been incredible.
We have an adult student that joined the program looking for something a bit different. He was a bit overweight, and not very flexible, but full of spirit and desire to change his life. He has regained flexibility he thought lost, is running now, eating better and is traveling the path to black belt, despite being in his 50's. He is a great example of how the martial path can change your life, even if when you start later in life.
We have a large number of girls in the program, which seems a bit unusual for a male dominated sport, and while many stand out, one in particular comes to mind, Hanna. She started when she was 8. She has always been a bit small, and her training has taught her to over-come the challenge and persevere. The confidence she lacked when she started has been wiped away and is now replaced with determination as she is merely steps away from her black belt test. Her martial path has not always been easy. Her determination to succeed is what carries her through. She is very inspiring.