“For 26 years this martial arts school has been coaching people, of all ages, in the process of using the martial arts as a tool for learning and practicing the art of being a more complete, proactive, and empowered human being.”
I am a lifelong Californian, born in Arcadia (Southern California), but my parents moved to Santa Clara when I was 6. I’ve lived in the Northern California all my life. My wife Barbie and I have lived in Sonoma, Ca. for the past 20 years. We have 6 kids and 13 grandchildren, 2 dogs, 2 Salcata tortoises, 3 chickens, 2 birds and a host of insects that my wife just loves to nurture and baby. If someone were to ask me what my hobbies were I could list WWII Planes, or Pez dispensers, but really those are just distractions, because my family, and just continually educating myself is by far my favorite thing to spend my leasure time on.
I got started in martial arts when I was 34. I took my oldest son, Justin to a Taekwondo class and hung around to watch, about fifteen minutes into the class I was hooked. I signed up the next night with Master Chris Hauth (still has a school in Windsor, Ca.), and earned my 1st degree black belt in 1989. I then started working on my weapons training and in 1992 I earned my 1st degree (shodan) black belt in Okinawan Kobudo with Shihan Nishiuchi through the International Okinawan Kobudo Association.
My 2nd thru 4th degree Black Belts were earned with Master Clint Robinson in Sacramento, Ca. and in 2005 I tested in Santa Clara at Grand Master Ernie Reyes School for my 5th degree with the UBBT (Ultimate Black Belt Test) program through my coach Tom Callos. Our 1 year long test finished with a performance/testing in front of 1800 people at the Santa Clara University gym – by far the hardest, but most thrilling testing I have done to date.
In 1989 my instructor Mr. Sabatino allowed my wife and I to open a Taekwondo club. Being a painting contractor for over 20 years at the time we had no experience in teaching martial arts, but a tremendous desire to become more and more involved and a feeling that this was our calling.
So, My family and I came here to Sonoma and started a club in room 210 at the community center on Napa St, our first three students were Justin, Jason, & Kim my three kids that were still living at home. At the end of class each night we would pass out flyers on the way home (still living in Santa Rosa at that time) and on the weekends do demos at the different shopping centers. I stopped painting in 1993, and turned our club into a full time school. It hasn’t always been easy, but we have never looked back, and I feel as though we’ve been making a difference here in the Sonoma Valley for over 23 year. And, in 1995 my parents and students nominated me for California teacher of the year award, receiving this award from both the California State Legislature and the State Senate has helped me to realize we are on the right track.