Sunday, December 27, 2009

What to look for in a martial arts class?

This is the first of a 3 part series describing what you need to look for in a martial arts class. First ask yourself what it is you want to get from your training.

What is the instructor/instructors background? Do some research first; with the internet today you should find more than just their website. If you find someone who says they are the founder, master or whatever this is a “red flag”. If they are teaching several styles or have numerous “Black Belts” relate this to what they say they are teaching, it can take a lifetime to develop just one style much less several. How do they intend to teach you all this information in just a couple of years? Stop and think if the class is only 60 minutes how much are you going to be exposed to and what can you retain? Do you homework on the “style” they instruct. There is a wealth of information on the internet and just that can help influence your decision.

If you are looking to get in shape – ask the instructor for specifics on how they use conditioning in a typical class. If they respond with the class gets you in shape – look at the instructor, are they in shape? How does the instructor incorporate endurance training? Bag training, weights, core development, jump rope what do they really offer?

If you want to learn how to defend yourself then classes that teach primarily “Kata” or forms are not as effective as classes that offer “hands on practical application”. On the other hand some people who may have certain physical limitations may want to primarily focus on just Kata and need to avoid physical contact because of physical limitation such as major back problems. If it is “self defense” then how do they teach the subject? Do the students make contact? How aggressive is the contact? If you try a class, ask yourself if you feel that you truly learned self defense applications that were effective? Is the material being instructed “strict” or does the instructor offer alternative methods to adapt to the dynamics of a situation?

Next part two…

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jr. Black Belts

Congratulations to our newest Jr. Black Belts; John Hunter Jr., Jackie Jermyn, Sean and Arieon Gautier. Sean and Arieon are the first brother and sister we have promoted to the Black Belt level. These four completed the 100 self defense technique application test. John, Sean and Arieon all make great grades in school and are members of the Thunderbirds National Karate Team. Each has won several 1st places awards in national level competition including the US Open, Battle of Atlanta, Diamond Nationals and World Martial Arts Festival. Jackie is an excellent student winning academic awards in English, writing competitions and top honors in the Bay County Science Fair more than once. Now they have proven their ability in Kenpo Set Self Defense with this achievement. Jackie tells me she is going to be a doctor, I believe her, she is exceptional. She also tells me she won’t charge me as her patient – I am going to hold her to that, LOL.

Vickie said it best at the promotion ceremony we are both very honored to have been a big part of their lives as they have grown up and achieved this goal.

Adult Black Belts

Congratulations to the newest Adult level Black Belts; Matt Watson and Ben Tonn. Both completed all the requirements to be promoted and become members of the Kenpo Black Belt fraternity. I am especially proud of Matt; he started with me when he was 13 years old. He is a previous NASKA National Champion winning numerous major tournaments in both weapons and forms. Matt is featured in my “Competition DVD Training Series” on After graduating from Mosley High School Matt joined the Marine Corp. completed two tours in Iraq and when he separated from the USMC he returned home to go to college and finish what he started - achieve the Black Belt. Ben Tonn has been training with me since was in middle school, has been an assistant instructor teaching intermediate level classes and currently attends Gulf Coast Community College majoring in engineering. Their black belt test took close to four hours to complete and included application of some 250 Kenpo self defense techniques. Matt was especially impressive with his ability to adapt his technique knowledge to fit the situations and variations. Ben was especially impressive with not only his speed but his use of his break-falls and takedowns. Once again, congratulation’s men.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Show

It's hard to believe another year has already come and gone. Tonight is our Annual Holiday Belt Promotion and Demonstration at the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church. It will be so exciting. Many thanks to Mark and Earl Eadie - we spent a couple of hours last night setting up for the show. The lighting and sound will be spectacular. The light show changes with each song for the Thunderbird demonstration. The team has worked hard developing this years routine which is 15 minutes long and features seven different sections. I have a couple little things to get together for tonight - hope to see you there. Pictures to be posted this weekend.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Belt Promotion and Demonstration

Its that time again for our annual Holiday Belt Promotions and Demonstration. This is always exciting for all, the Thunderbirds will put on a show, we will have a formal Black Belt Induction, class demonstrations and of course the big finale the belt promotions, this is always one of the highlights of the year. Please be there; for more details

New Black Belts

Congratulations to our newest Black Belts: Matt Watson, Ben Tonn, John Hunter, Jackie Jerymn, Sean Gautier, Arieon Gautier. These individuals will receive their black belt on December 17th during our annual belt demonstration and promotion ceremony. For more details and photos go to: