Martial Arts Gratitude

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and people all over the country will be giving thanks to friends, family, and a myriad of other things for which they are grateful.  Thanksgiving will be much different for just about everyone this year due to the pandemic.  So, I thought I would take a little different approach to the traditional, elementary school project of things I am thankful for by doing a martial arts version.  The pandemic has affected everyone in some way but the effect on those of us professional martial arts studio owners has been catastrophic.  In my area, I have seen several studios close their doors and they rest of us are barely hanging on.  Rather than continuing to dwell on these negatives, I thought it prudent to reflect and show gratitude to the many, many great things in martial arts I am thankful for.

Master Romines

Grandmaster Michael Romines

He was my first instructor who taught me from ages 8-14.  I reached 2nd dan under him.  He was a very hardnosed, disciplined instructor.  Although I feared him tremendously, I also learned a great deal, especially about respect and honor.

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Master Ochs

Master Matt Ochs

He gave me my first job teaching martial arts from ages 18-22.  He helped groom me into a good instructor and studio owner, allowing me to eventually open my own studio when I moved to Seattle.

Grandmaster Shin

Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin

I learned about leadership, character, and wisdom from Grandmaster Shin.  He promoted me to 4th dan and made me feel like I was exceptional but still needing lots of improvement at the same time. 

Grandmaster Beaudoin

Grandmaster Robert Beaudoin

I learned about humility and integrity from Grandmaster Beaudoin.  He was a fantastic martial artist and leader.  After taking over for Grandmaster Shin upon his passing, Grandmaster Beaudoin always strove to do the right thing which was continue on his instructor’s legacy, even if it was at the expense of his own ego.

World Tang Soo Do Association

I was a member of the WTSDA for over 20 years before leaving due to personal reasons.  I will forever be grateful for the friends and relationships I made during that time.  I am also grateful to WTSDA for affording me the opportunity to travel all over the world to teach and share my knowledge.

Master Michael Wilson

I only trained with him for a few years in my early 20s, but he had a tremendous impact on my martial arts career.  I learned a great deal about tournament sparring and overall performance from him.  He pushed me to do lots of competitions, even when I was reluctant.  I owe my tournament success as well as my continued love of sparring in a large part to him.

Students I Lost

Losing students this year was like a mass extinction event

It may seem odd, but I am truly grateful for all the students I have lost over the years.  In the past year I have lost more students than in all the previous years combined due to COVID19 and my exit from WTSDA right before that.  I will forever cherish the time I got to spend with them despite the sadness I will forever feel for losing them.

Students I Kept

Just like Elvis says, thank you, thank you very much

It probably does not get said enough, but I am grateful beyond words for the students who have stuck around through the last year’s events which I refer to as mass extinction events.  The support and loyalty they have demonstrated during the darkest days of the studio is and always will be appreciate more than you will ever know.

For all those martial artists out there doing classes online, waiting for this whole thing to end, take a few minutes and write out those things in your training that you are grateful for.  We will be back to generating more grateful events, relationships, and memories in no time.

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