I started my martial arts training with Mr Cooke in 1996 at the age of 7 after being brought by a friend and watching class. Within a month I was enrolled, and almost five years later I earned my first degree black belt. In 2002 I started competing, and in addition to taking part in such tournaments as the USA World Championship in Las Vegas, the Compete Nationals in Ontario, the San Diego Grand Nationals, and the UC Berkeley Chinese Martial Arts Tournament, I was ranked 3rd in California as a competitor of the Tournament Promoters Association. In addition to the curriculum at Champions Martial Arts, I have studied ITF style Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, Judo and XMA. Besides preparing me for competition, my training has taught me valuable life skills. It has shown me more than anything else that hard work pays off and that "discipline is the greatest tool in life," just as it used to say on the wall in our original location. I always wanted to be my best, and that big mirror kept reinforcing that desire as I saw my kicks getting higher and my punches getting stronger. I very much appreciate the home away from home that the martial arts have given me because the karate school was always a place I could both be and develop myself. Mr. Cooke has always been and continues to be a source of inspiration and guidance for me, and through teaching I hope to pay that forward.