I started training in Martial Arts when I was about 14. My twin brother had purchased a book on Karate by Chuck Norris. Our focus was mainly fighting technique. At the time, we didn’t see much need for forms. Having a twin was convenient as I always had someone to train and spar with, at least until my brother Tom went into the Navy at 18.
When I was around 20, I said the wrong thing to a 6 foot + 250 lb football player. He and two of his friends strongly convinced me that was a bad idea. After that, I knew I needed to change.
When I was 20, I started training in Jeet Kune Do under a kid named Wade in his Garage. His father was a direct student of Bruce Lee. I trained there for about a year. I believe this was the origin of my continuing drive to find efficiency and effectiveness of technique (believe me, there’s a lot of garbage out there), but also look to tradition as there is great benefit and understanding in that as well.
When I was 22, I started training in Tang Soo Do under Tom Bloom at his studio in Thousand Oaks. I trained there for about 4 years. Tom and his fighting instructor Johnny Gyro (Both US Competitive Champions within this Chuck Norris system) were major influences on my style of fighting.
My professional career, marriage and kids forced me to take a break from martial arts for a few years. When I was about 31, I started training in American Kenpo under Bill Neff in Westminster CA. I trained there for a little over a year and decided the style was a little too structured and just not for me.
At 32 I started training in Shaolin Kempo under Josh George of United Studios. I trained there for about 7 years. Josh is an extremely talented Martial Artist. Josh’s style emphasized calm, focused and smoothly flowing technique. For the last couple of years while there, I was asked to teach a kids class. I’ve always given one on one instruction (even when not asked) during classes. Teaching my own classes was something I looked forward to every week. When Josh left, I started looking for a new school with a similar style.
After interviewing a number of studios, I found the Academy of Martial Arts in Fountain Valley owned by Robert Spencer. This is where I met Corey Williams as a teenager. Rob’s philosophy, talent and experience was a perfect fit. I remember sparring one day and after being hit hard I became a little angry and over aggressive. Rob later pointed out to me that being in that state causes a major loss of control and inefficiencies in defensive strategy. Now when I’m teaching, that is my biggest emphasis. After training under Rob for a few years, I had to take a break from Martial Arts due to medical reasons.
After a few years and on the mend, I felt a need to start training again. I tried a few different styles for a brief period and then found a small school walking distance from his home. I trained and assisted with the kids program for about 7 years in Gensei-ryu Karate under Sensei Yukiyoshi Marutani. Sensei Marutani was a highly ranked World Karate kumite (fighting) competitor. After retiring from competition, he was a USA Karate Team Coach for a number of years. Gensei-ryu was established after WWII and is based on traditional Japanese Okinawawan Karate with an evolving focus on modern street defense. In addition to the unique and extensive detailed instruction, I very much enjoyed teaching again.
After the unfortunate closing of the Karate school around 2015, I reached out to Rob Spencer to re-join his school as an instructor. I was told I should talk to Corey Williams, as he was now running the day to day operations of the school. I started training and assisting Corey with the kids program. Even on the first day back, it felt like I never left. I have been there since.
As of late, my training is limited due to physical issues (Getting Old); however I will continue teaching as long as I am welcome, able and can contribute effectively to the school.