Who am I?

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Who am I?

I love helping new students get started training in Karate!  It is my passion.  I clearly remember getting started in Karate and it is such an exciting time.  But, why should someone choose me as their instructor?  Who am I anyways?

Fair question.  In addition to my many years of training in Uechi Ryu Karate, I have a total of almost 20 years of martial arts training.  I have years of training in Aikido, Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, and Tai Chi.  Each art that I have studied has helped me become a better martial artist.  Although Uechi Ryu Karate is my “base” style, each style has helped my Karate improve.  I wouldn’t trade my time in those other arts for anything as it has just given me more of an overall knowledge of martial arts.

Beyond being a Karate instructor, I am also the parent of a Karate student.  This has certainly helped me get young students started in their training.  I understand many of the struggles they might have in their training, as well as ways to help them work through their struggles as I have experienced this as a parent and not just a Sensei.

I wish I could say that I have always been a Karate Sensei, but that is not the case.  I have worked many different jobs over the years: agriculture (I even milked cows!), landscaping, machine operator.  I also spent 9 years working in NH law enforcement before opening a dojo.  Like my martial arts career, my employment career has been diverse. 

One thing that both my martial arts career and employment career have in common is that it beat up my body!  I have plenty of aches and pains that I continue to work through due to years of hard labor, wearing heavy equipment, and being kicked, punched, thrown, and pinned (mostly in martial arts, but in my police work as well!).  How could this benefit you?  Well, I’ve done a lot of things the WRONG way.  Luckily over the years, through being a serious student, I’ve learned much better ways of doing things than the way I chose to go about it.  So I know some better, safer ways to train to help you have longevity in your martial arts training.  Karate is for a lifetime, but you have to train smart!

Are you in martial arts mainly for practical self-defense skills?  Unfortunately, I had plenty of opportunities in my law enforcement career to test out the effectiveness of Karate for you.  I can tell you that, with a proper mental attitude, what we practice in class WORKS!  I will also tell you that, at 5’6” (in heels), I was generally the shortest, often the weakest person in the fight.  I’m not bragging, but I have an undefeated record in real life, so if this stuff worked for me, I’m confident it will work for you as well!

Many people get into the martial arts for much more than self-defense or any physical results.  Honestly, that is the greater focus of my personal training now, I’m looking to improve myself more than trying to learn how to best protect myself.  My training is evolving each year.  This is another way I can help you as your martial arts instructor.

More than the physical demands of my law enforcement career, it was a very mentally draining and challenging career.  There was never a shortage of stress.  I certainly could have dealt with my stress better during my career, but one thing that was a constant positive way to deal with stress was my Karate training.  I learned ways to let my time at the dojo replenish my energy, refuel my motivation, and just take time to do positive things with great people.  I know how to help students manage stress in their life with time spent on the dojo floor.

I’m no guru, I have plenty more to learn.  I’m not the best martial artist around, not even close!  I have plenty more to learn and improve on.  However, I would say I excel at helping people make breakthroughs in their training.  I take notice of what a student is having a hard time with and find ways to help improve that problem.  I’d also say that I’ve learned from my past.  I’ve learned how to deal with training through aches, pains, and injuries.  I’ve learned how to use my training for personal benefit while dealing with lots of stress.  I’ve learned how to train with minimizing the risk of injury to have longevity in my training instead of short term gains.

“Sensei” does not mean “Master”, “Superior”, or “Guru”.  It simply means “one who came before”.  Let my experiences of “before” help you now!  You can find bigger, stronger, and maybe even a better looking Sensei to teach you Karate.  But I think you will have a hard time finding a Sensei out there who wants to take their relatable life experience and use it to help you in your Karate training and hopefully in your life as well.

So that’s who I am, and that’s how I think I can help you.  Thank you for your time.

-john g

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