I’ve had the true honor of training under some of the best instructors throughout my 30 year plus martial arts career. Starting in Shotokan karate (1st degree black belt under Sensei Bill Eley), to Aikido, to Tae Kwon Do / Hapkido (3rd degree black belt under Kyoshi Fred Richmond), to Ryukyu-Kempo (3rd degree black belt under Grandmasters Bill and Brett Homann), to Gracie BJJ (under Rickson Gracie), to Judo (currently brown belt under Senseis Tak Mizuta and Drew Wickham).
Like most kids my age we grew up watching movies featuring Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Toshiro Mifune (primary actor in many Akira Kurosawa films). Those names alone probably account for more folks starting their martial arts training, including myself. It was a common site to see me walking around the neighborhood at grade school age picking up dried sticks and chopping them while yelling the infamous “hi-ya!”. In winter any icicle in reach was victim to my horizontal chop…again yelling “hi-ya!”. I guess you can say so started my passion for breaking. Fast forward to March 2007 where you would find some of the greatest competitive breakers competing (Larry Fields, Elton Trower, Karen Smith, Gary Reho, Ken Yates, Raphael Velez, Clint Murphy, Robert Raniolo). Back then I participated in one break, power wood hand–I was hooked! Additionally, everyone there was friendly, helpful, encouraging, and competitive! This was a great atmosphere to compete in, unlike other non-breaking venues I’ve been at where egos clashed. I’ve since had the pleasure of meeting and befriending so many more breakers that have helped me achieve the level I’m at now–all credit given to them. I would highly recommend anyone interested in breaking competitively to try an event at any USBA/WBA event and meet Grandmaster Ralph Bergamo and Master Drew Serrano.