34 years ago in July of 1981 I started training in TaeKwonDo, and it changed my life.
30 years ago in March of 1985 I earned my First Degree Black Belt and started teaching. Big Thanks to Norman Bates, my first instructor, and all the other fantastic black belt mentors who helped an uncoordinated, short, and skinny teenager become stronger and more confident.
30 years ago, as a Junior at UNH, I adopted a small TaeKwonDo club, ran it 4 nights per week, and started my first business. Shout out to Bob Shea, who left me about 25 students and moved to Florida.
And…28 years ago this month in 1987, the year I graduated from UNH, Dick Perrault and I opened the academy full-time in Dover. We had almost no money and big dreams. From the meager beginnings to becoming one of the largest academies in New Hampshire, to being semi-retired from teaching, it has been a wild ride.
While I have decided to reduce the academy to just 2 nights and less than 20 students this year for personal reasons, it continues to be one of my favorites activities. The current plan is to continue training and teaching for at least 100 more years (no joke). If you can believe it, you can achieve it.
I am so happy and grateful for the wonderful people in my life who have been my martial arts friends, mentors, instructors, students, and employees over the past 34 years. Martial arts training has changed my life and, together with my faith in Christ, continues to be the foundation upon which everything else is based. What my training has taught me and brought me can never be measured in money.
1984 demonstration at the Newington Mall. Me as a red belt breaking boards with ball-of-the-foot turning kick (dollyo chagi). Norman Bates squatting on the right, Mark Newton and Jon Palais holding boards. BTW, I think that’s 2-inch pine??