When you become a martial artist you feel like you are part of an elite group–and you are. As a martial artist you are in for an amazing road of self-discovery and self-improvement. On that road you will find setbacks; roadblocks that everyone deals with on their journey in life. As a martial artist you will take these setbacks and welcome them as a challenge, a challenge that you know you will defeat.
The most important people who guide you on your martial arts journey are your instructors. They teach you, guide you, mentor you, challenge you, inspire you, respect you, honor you, and enjoy watching you blossom into an extraordinary individual. Some people take that for granted. Some instructors don’t fulfill their role, and some students don’t appreciate who their instructors are and what they have done for them as individuals.
I am writing this article to honor those who have taught me and have inspired me to become the person I have become in the martial art world. I have many parents (of children I teach) tell me often how impressed they are with my teaching abilities and how I really care about my students growth. Although I am proud that they recognize this, I am a product of my own upbringing. I care because my instructors have cared. I am well educated because my instructors educated me.
First off, I have had many teachers who have done a lot for me. Those I mention in this article are those who have done the most to mold me into who I am as a martial artist and a teacher. I will mention those who I consider my primary and secondary instructors and those who have inspired me, but aren’t my instructors.
First let me be clear in stating that my ultimate teacher is my lord and savior Jesus Christ. I will never be ashamed of my faith. God has created an amazing life for me and He is who paved the path for me in meeting and training with my instructors.
The person who has impacted me the most on my martial arts journey as my direct primary instructor is Sean P. Kelley. Although I didn’t begin my journey with him, my Kenpo and my teaching abilities grew tremendously ever since he became my instructor. He has taught me many things and on many levels. Without Mr. Kelley I would still be mediocre at best.
Other people who have impacted me greatly who I consider to be my secondary instructors include: Grandmaster Michael Robert Pick, and Master Rainer Schulte. Mr. Pick is hard core. He’s the real deal. I have been fortunate enough to have trained with him several times (and many more to come). He has inspired me to think on a different perspective and has really helped me with the combative side of Kenpo. Mr. Schulte is a great guy. I have a close relationship with him and have learned a lot from him as well. I have taken several classes under him and they are educational and get you in pretty good shape.
Other people in Kenpo who aren’t my instructors, but have inspired me include:
Grandmaster Dave Hebler
Ed Parker Jr.
Although uncle Dave has taught me on a few levels, I haven’t trained with him in awhile. I became one of his certified instructors for the Gift of Power Foundation (educating, empowering and teaching women self-defense) but that Foundation has now become a martial arts organization, rather than the protecting women organization that it used to be.
Mr. White has such an amazing charisma and teaching ability. I have never been on the floor with him, but he has helped me with the ways I view teaching by inspiring me through e-mail conversations and by introducing me to the great John Wooden’s concepts.
Mr. Post is another hard core reality guy. I don’t believe in fantasy and Mr. Post has also educated me on some reality when it comes to self-protection.
Ed Parker Jr. is an awesome person. I am honored to have gotten to know him. He has inspired me in many ways. I enjoy just having a conversation with him.
Aside from American Kenpo, I also have other teachers who have inspired me greatly. This includes the legendary Joe Lewis and the great Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.
I have been training with Mr. Lewis directly since 2007, but have been studying his system since 2004. He has inspired me tremendously. His teaching methods are amazing. I love his system (Joe Lewis Fighting Systems). It’s a great system to cross train in as a Kenpo guy. Nobody has broken fighting down as scientifically as Mr. Lewis. He has done a lot for my sparring.
Mr. Wallace, although not really considered my instructor in any way, I have trained with him several times since 2007 including one private lesson. He has a great sense of humor and has also taught me a lot in terms of sparring.
So, to all of you, I want to say thank you so much for making me who I am in the martial arts world. I care about my growth and that of my students and without you guys I would be nothing.
Although I don’t have a picture of all my instructors with me, here is one I am in with Mr. Kelley, Mr. Pick, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Wallace!