March 1985 – It’s hard to believe that 31 years ago this month I earned my First Degree Black Belt. There are so many people to thank for helping me get that far and even more since then. Since the list is far too numerous, I would like to point out just three people at this time. Thank you to Mr. Norman Bates for teaching me up to my first dan, Mr. Richard Perreault for being my training and testing partner, and Master KS Hwang for testing me.
I am very grateful for all of my instructors, my fellow students, training partners, mentors, and family who encouraged me, pushed me, kicked my butt, threw me on the floor, pinned me to the wall, tied me in knots, knocked me down, and gave me numerous bumps, bruises, sprains, and cuts throughout the years.
Coincidentally, this also marks 31 years that I have been teaching. Mr. Bates put me in front of beginner classes as soon as I received my black belt. Thank you, sir, for throwing me into the spotlight even though I was young, scared, immature, and inexperienced. Sorry for all the students I must have driven out the door before I learned to teach better. You helped me break through personal barriers that launched a full-time career in martial arts for the past 3 decades. Yes, I still teach, train, learn, and explore new arts. While I have chosen not to operate a full-time academy at this time, I have every intention of continuing to teach and train for the next 31 years or more. God willing, my goal is to be teaching classes at the age of 100.
Photo courtesy of Don Chick Photography, 2016.