I was born in central Illinois in 1988, and while I grew up fascinated with weapons and warrior cultures, I did not get into martial arts until I was an adult. I began training in karate (Shuri-Ryu) in the Summer of 2006. Subsequently, I added training in judo, kobudo, and iaijutsu within the next 6 months. During my training there, I earned the rank of Sankyu (3rd Degree Brown Belt) in Shuri-Ryu, Gokyu (Green Belt) in judo, a certification in the use of the bo, and passed proficiency tests for the four tachigata of Shinkage-Ryu iaijutsu.
I moved to Arizona in the Summer of 2008, and continued training and researching karate at home, as my schedule and location prevented me from training at a karate dojo. I continued regular training in judo at a local club until 2010, when I was able to start training in Shorin-Ryu with Richard Poage (Godan, Shorin-Ryu, Shorinkan). I have been training with him ever since, and earned the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shorin-Ryu under him in the Summer of 2014, and Nidan in July of 2016. Sadly, Richard Poage passed away suddenly of brain cancer on December 27th, 2017. My Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan training is continuing under Andrew Wert (Godan), Jeff Allred (Rokudan), and Eddie Bethea (Hachidan). In addition, I began studying KishimotoDi under Sensei Ulf Karlsson in 2014, and continue to practice it in conjunction with my Shorin-Ryu.
My focus in karate is kata bunkai (form analysis)–I am always studying my kata so that I can break them down into practical self defense techniques, and drill them with partners to develop them. This is something I am very passionate about, as I believe karate has strayed too far from its roots as an effective self defense system as it has become popularized over the course of the past century. In pursuit of developing my karate to be as practical as possible, I often cross-train and spar with people from other martial arts, in order to become familiar with them and pressure test myself and my techniques. I also participated in an MMA (mixed martial arts) fight in the Autumn of 2013, to push myself under as much pressure as possible.