The summer of 2003 was one of a lot of change for me. First, I graduated college; second, I discovered Yoshukai Karate –and because of that, I met the woman who would eventually become my wife and became friends with a network of wonderful people that continues to grow to this day.
My martial arts journey began under the instruction of Shihan Marc Garduque and his wonderful and capable staff of assistant instructors. Through the years, the Team Atlanta Dojo would become a second home and each member a part of my family. As a kyu grade, I’ve competed in weapons and kata competitions, point sparring and semi-knockdown tournaments. I also served as an assistant instructor from 2005 until 2010, when I started the World Yoshukai Norcross Dojo. In 2007, I earned my first degree black belt and later that year, competed in my first knockdown tournament and earned 4th place. Two years later, I earned my second degree black belt and again competed in the World Yoshukai Superfights Knockdown tournament, placing 6th. In 2010, I placed second in the tournament after a strong showing. I continually train with hopes to some day win first place at this tournament. I earned my third degree black belt in 2012 .
Karate taught me that there are very few boundaries and that potential is endless --it’s all up to the individual; this is a lesson that I try to instill into my students each and every lesson.
I am a fitness enthusiast; I've completed the 2011 Georgia Tough Mudder, I am also active with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training completed my first marathon in November of 2011 with TNT.
My fitness journey started, quite roughly, at the age of 14. I was always the small guy...even when I got taller, I was still skinnier than everyone else. In fact, in the sixth grade, I was smaller that all of the other 4th, 5th AND 6th graders in my school...you can't make that up.
Anyhow, as a freshman at Cardinal Mooney High School, I attended winter lifting sessions with the football team. It was torture to me, but I wanted to get stronger, I wanted to be "one of the guys"...I wanted to continue my football career. Unfortunately, due to other commitments and priorities, I did not play football at all in high school and I never got my bench press over 95LBS. I DID, however, manage to put on a little muscle between my junior and senior year lifting around the house and performing the "Man Of Steel" workouts 5 or 6 times a week. Laugh if you want, any muscle on my wirey little frame was better than none.
After high school, I got a job working for a company called Brentwood Originals in the shipping and receiving departments. I did a lot of lifting of heavy boxes...some were 90+ lbs. So not only did I have a shape after a few months, I had actual muscle. I left for college after working 4-5 months at Brentwood.
First semester: for a class project, my goal was to workout consistently for the duration of the semester. Not only did I get an A, but I became a gym rat...the rest, as they say, is history. I tried to stay as consistent as possible all throughout college, and I did a fairly good job. Shortly before I graduated, I discovered Yoshukai karate through the Roswell, GA Parks and Recreation System.
So here we are; we have karate and knockdown fighting and we have weightlifting. I struggled for years to manage both and keep each constantly benefiting the other --largely to no avail. My lack of luck in this department strictly comes down to training habit and methods. Yes, I continued to get stronger, YES my karate progressed, yes, I was a capable and competent fighter. But the two just never clicked.
Through discussion with like-minded knockdown karate-ka, I discovered resources such as Crossfit and Ross Enamait, T-Nation, etc. I learned what other fighters around the world were doing to prepare. With this knowledge, I began to progress at seemingly breakneck speed.
I didn't reinvent the wheel, I just spin it to my advantage. I hope to share my experiences with the readers of this blog, my Senpai in Yoshukai, my students and whoever finds it useful. My sole goal with this blog is to share MY experiences with the reader in order to enhance THEIR experiences.