Let me start by saying the martial arts have been a wonderful addition to my life. I have been a student for approximately thirty years, and I hope to continue studying and teaching for at least fifty more!
I have been very blessed and have had the opportunity to study many different martial art styles. As such, I hold black belt ranking in multiple systems with different foundational emphasis.
In 2003, members of the Board for the United Martial Arts Alliance,under the direct guidance of Kyoshi Robert Austin, and amongst witnesses present at the time, examined my combining of martial arts styles. After physical examination, presentation of katas/kuens, kickboxing, and self-defense concepts, and after intellectual questioning and review, the Board recognized my system as unique, and awarded me the honor of founding a new system of study. Sho Biyn Jiu (translated as “First Understand Peace”) was formally recognized. This was the first time in the Board’s history that such an honor was bestowed, and I do not take that responsibility lightly.
I continue to train with instructors from around the country and advance the system, which at its heart, is one of peace. Additionally, the system has been recognized by multiple organizations, and I was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2006 and Action Magazine’s Hall of Honors as a Master Instructor in 2008.
I have worked as the Executive Director of the Community Anti-DrugCoalition of Hampden County. I sat on the steering committee for the Partners In Prevention, a group initiated by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association; I was the faculty advisor for Tunxis Community College’s Christian Club, I was the Vice-President of MADD Massachusetts (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and I was a member of the Hampden County District Attorney’s Task Force On Domestic Violence. I am a licensed and experienced social worker, and, as a former police officer, I bring a level of personalized understanding regarding physical confrontation to the material I teach.
I have also had the opportunity to pioneer the Integrated Martial Arts Program with the Ludlow Middle School, in Ludlow, Massachusetts. I have taught at the college level; I am the head instructor and founder of Plus One Defense Systems, and I continue to teach nationwide. More importantly, I recognize that I am always a student, and I look to Kyoshi Robert Austin as my mentor in the arts. Kyoshi Austin is the founder of the Mountain States International Black Belt Academy, located in Greeley, Colorado. He is the President of the United Martial Arts Alliance, and he is also a dear friend, who has traveled a bit farther down the path than I have!
I am thankful for all of the blessings that have been entrusted to me, and I hope you find Plus One to be a “home away from home.”