My love for the martial arts began when I was a child. My brother and I would make sure we were sitting in front of the television on Saturday afternoons to watch whatever Kung-Fu movie was on that week. I was immensely fascinated with not only the art of Kung-Fu and Karate, but with the lifestyle associated with the martial arts. Unfortunately due to many circumstances, my love of the martial arts was only ever from afar and I never was able to actually train. When I was 30 years old my brother informed me about a dojo he had been training at called the World Seido Karate Organization. He described it as a great dojo with exactly the kind of training we dreamed about as kids. Needless to say I went down to check the school out. I took a trial class and upon finishing, immediately signed up. I was instantly hooked. I was lucky enough to be at Honbu, the headquarters, and was instructed by the founder of Seido, Kaicho (Grand Master) Tadashi Nakamura. It was an invigorating time and I spent as much time at the dojo as I did anywhere else. I met many wonderful karateka as Seido quickly became my second family; it’s also where I met my wife Angela.
I trained diligently at Seido and after six years I was invited to take my black belt exam. Needless to say I was more than a little nervous. I am not a good test taker as it is, and knowing I would have to perform at my best in front of Kaicho, only served to mutate the butterflies in my stomach to superhuman proportions. Black belt testing is an ongoing process that takes place over the course of a month with different classes for basics, kata, self-defense, etc. it culminates with all the prospective black belts fighting against all the current black belts for hours nonstop. Afterwards, as I stood there, completely exhausted, but also exhilarated, Kaicho tied on my newly earned black belt. It was without a doubt one of the proudest moments of my life and something I will never forget.
Soon after that Angela and I decided that NYC was not the place to raise a family and we moved back to her hometown area of Northern NY. We both were missing the karate aspect of our lives and in seeking out a suitable replacement; we came across a dojo in Brockville Canada called Thousand Islands Martial Arts. As soon as we went in it felt like home. Sensei Valerie Cummings, the owner, and Sensei Bob Noonan, the chief instructor welcomed us with open arms. Due to international laws, we are not able to teach in Canada and so with the blessing of Sensei Val, we are opening a branch of Thousand Islands Martial Arts in our hometown of Ogdensburg.
We are looking forward to showing the North Country traditional Japanese Karate and hope you will share in our enjoyment of it.
I began my martial arts training at the age of 29 with the World Seido Organization in New York City (www.seido.org). I was blessed to study directly under the Grandmaster Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura, along with many other amazing instructors. As I was living alone in NYC, the dojo (school) became my home away from home…I trained hard there, met some lifelong friends, and ultimately met my husband there. The dojo and the people there were and will forever be part of my family. I learned respect for myself and others, and a discipline in my life that had been lacking for many, many years. Some of my greatest memories from Seido have been traveling the world, including Japan, South Africa and Australia for tournaments with other Seido dojos – getting to meet these students and teachers, compete with them, and learn about their cultures were amazing experiences that will forever hold a place in my heart!
After six years of training with Seido, I was invited to prepare for black belt promotion – an honor in and of itself. Unfortunately, I was unable to go for promotion because fortunately, I discovered I was expecting my first son! Less than two years later, my family returned to Northern New York, so I was never able to achieve my black belt from Seido, a feat that I have always regretted. Missing my karate training and family, my husband and I began to seek out a dojo that felt like home near our residence in Ogdensburg, NY. We again were blessed with discovering the Thousand Islands Martial Arts school in Brockville, NY. After training there for over a year, we realized we would never be able to volunteer and teach at that dojo because of strict Border rules. Sensei Valerie Cummings, owner of TIMA dojo, has allowed us to become an American branch of her dojo so we can be allowed to both train and teach under the TIMA name.
We are very excited to open our doors to the Ogdensburg and surrounding communities and welcome you to come visit our dojo … we hope our family can become a part of yours!