I am the youngest of four kids; my brother is six years older than me. Throughout most of my younger years my brother loved to pick on me, bully me, and occasionally beat me. I was always shorter and weighed a lot less. I wanted to fight back back against him and other kids who would pick on me. So, in the summer of 1973 (the same summer when Bruce Lee died) my mother enrolled me in judo classes at the YMCA in Savannah.

That began my fascination with martial arts. Over the next few years I took karate from various teachers, progressing in my skills (and getting my bell ring many times). When our money ran out, I would just practice on my own. Before I graduated from high school I set aside my gi and belt (I had other interests and was preparing for college) and did not practice again for about 25 years.

September 11, 2001 changed many things for me. I learned that Flight 93 had flown right over the mall area where I shop. Some of the hijackers had lived near my home in Ohio. I thought, “the terrorists are here, among us. What can I do to protect my family?” I learned that Jeremy Glick, one of the passengers who fought back on Flight 93, was a black belt in judo and a national champion. Right then and there I enrolled myself and my kids in karate. Three and a half years later I earned my black belt. All of my boys have earned their black belts as well.

As a pastor I have counciled many kids who’ve been picked on, and many women who have been abused and/or molested. I asked myself, “what more can I do to help people to prevent this sort of thing?” And so my self defense seminars were born. For the past twelve years I have conducted martial arts VBS for kids, and self defense classes for businesses, for women, and for senior citizens. I teach nothing that is complicated; all of the techniques are simple to learn, “battle tested” blocks, strikes, and escapes that can be quickly recalled while under the stress of an attack.

If you would like to know more about my weekly class for ladies, or for my seminars that I can bring to your church, business, or community center, contact me at besafedefense316@gmail.com.

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