I started martial arts when I was 8 years old. My parents thought it would be wise to put me in as a way to protect myself against the dangers of which I was already starting to experience on a frequent basis. Gradually, the thing I studied to just protect myself became my undying passion and every time I studied something new it felt like a new adventure.
When I was 18 years old, I became a black belt. That was a day I’d never forget. However, as the newest shodan (and youngest of all the sensei), I realized that I still had many things to learn and that I’d need a lot more time to grow. However, my time was limited. I got a call from my church to labor as a missionary on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. I left soon after.
I lived there for two years and gained a love for Japan. Despite having a busy schedule, I always looked for opportunities to expand my knowledge of martial arts. No matter what I do or how I spend my time, I am always a martial artist deep down inside. As I worked, I had the honor to meet with many great martial artists in various styles, each with their words of wisdom which they have gathered over years of experience. In the end, my love of martial arts only grew.
When the time came, I returned to America. It was an odd feeling being back and having to readjust my lifestyle. Nevertheless, the moment I walked through the dojo doors, I was home.
I’ve had many ask me the value of an education in the field of martial arts. To these individuals I would like to say, if you seek physical, mental, and spiritual growth, there is no better lifestyle for you than that of the martial artist, and this is priceless.