In August of 2013, I started my journey in Hapkido. While, my journey continues, I have accomplished one of my many goals in this sport/art. I have achieved my first degree black belt. With as much as I have trained I am happy for this part of it to be over. It was a very difficult task, and I trained very studiously and hard. I was in the gym for the better part of four to five times a week, between teaching and training, I was there. Working. Hard. Very hard.
My commitment to this martial art has been very rewarding.
I have made many new friends; bonds that are tight through personal growth and experience.
I enjoy the sport because it was very much like that of the military… People are very close knit, exclusive to their own personal experiences, including but not limited to varying degrees of rank.
This sport has a healing property to it. It helps you learn how to breathe, how to keep calm under pressure, and completely renew your spirit. The basis of this art is very complementary to many coping mechanisms that are in parallel with treating PTSD. With every mental issue the hardest thing to do is overcome what’s in your own head. Hapkido, and many other martial arts, teach this. The coping skills that I would use in the social work field, that I would teach my clients, are the same skills that I use and employ while training and teaching.
Now, August 2016, I have earned my black belt. Worked very hard for it. New goals are being set to be met and reached. The next belt is a long way off. I will be eligible for the testing in a year, but I don’t know if I am going to try for it yet. I have other aspirations. I want to continue to help my fellow Veterans with the struggle of PTSD. Of course, sometimes, it is difficult because I too suffer from it, but it is my calling to help teach them coping skills, martial arts, and help them come to or closer to Christ.
FreedomSystem.org has been instrumental in our local area in helping Veterans get connected to servicers and employers in the area. FreedomSystem.org, myself, and Elkhart Martial Arts are working on creating a grant program to get Veterans into training in the martial arts. Training under myself and a few other select black belts to learn another way of coping with PTSD, TBI, or any other issue that they may have: bad back, bad knees, bad shoulders, or whatever that is ailing them.
I will release more information on this as I know more.
Also, I feel the need to brag a little bit and get to tell you that I had the privilege of training under one of the worlds best 23 times! Bill “Superfoot” Wallace! He is a very charismatic person, very funny, and very personable. I also during the weekend of my testing, Super Seminar 2016, I was able to receive instruction from: Grandmaster Rick Jesse, Chun Moo Hapkido USA founder, Headmaster Jason Landaas, current President of Chun Moo Hapkido USA, Grandmaster Steve Travis, Elkhart Martial Arts founder (who is also one of my marketing clients), and Master John Salomon, a Vietnam Veteran.
Until next time… PEACE!
P.S. I would like to extend a little personal gratification to my friend, my personal Hapkido instructor, and fellow Christian: Bruce Andresen – for without you and your tutelage my black belt would never have happened. I would also like to shout out to Dave Bradbury, Brad Stoll, Michelle Stevens, and last but not least Steve Cave for all of the help that you have given me throughout the last few years in the gym!