"When you state your intentions on an important matter, you should declare them proudly and then let out a howling laugh. Fate can be influenced in the most unexpected ways... through laughter and perhaps a whistle." - Anonymous/Unknown
Mine is a common history. Born in Philadelphia, PA, I grew up in Malvern/West Chester and attended the local Catholic K-8 and high schools (St. Patrick and Bishop Shanahan, respectively). I was active in sports and music, solely to music in my adolescent years. I still sing and play the piano and guitar, but I recall fondly my days as a brass player. In grade school I was teased and picked on mercilessly; as the years went by, it died down until high school where I made new friends and switched from the timid nerd persona to one of the school’s well-known fine arts junkies. I was, as a side note, ferociously interested in martial arts but never had time to study or train due to my overwhelming number of commitments.
When I arrived at Loyola (then College) University, I noticed that they had a Ju-jitsu Club. I also noted that I had absolutely zero experience in the martial arts. When they told the new students that year that this was okay, I was thrilled and started regularly attending. The current president, my senpai-now-sensei Mark Mangano was to graduate come May, and when Renshi asked me to succeed him I happily accepted. Before I knew it I was coming early to set up the mats and eagerly awaiting the next class when the current one ended.
Since that time Ju-jitsu has come to completely redefine myself and how I see the world. My family supported me 100% and was thrilled that I was doing something like this; their reactions after seeing my black belt test are memories I will hold on to forever. Spending seven hours every week devoted to the study of Ju-jitsu made my time here at Loyola truly unforgettable and irreplaceable. I have no doubt in my mind that I will speak of it fondly to the end of time.
From the time I put my status of club president on my resume, employers have continually asked me about it. Having to explain over and over again how Ju-jitsu affects my daily life and how I apply it to everyday situations has given me a greater appreciation about the benefits of the art in life. Each and every one who asks the question came away satisfied, since it is inherent in our philosophy that Ju-jitsu be not an activity restricted to the dojo but a way of thought that permeates our entire lives. Avoidance of violence as anything other than a last resort, emphasis on self-defense, controlled thought and physical action, and mind over technique over power have all become tenets of my life that I seek to apply to all that I do.
I am currently employed with the investment management company, Vanguard, in their IT sector working in Network Operations and am a proud part of their 12,500-fold crew. My home may be in PA, but whenever I can I will be returning to the dojo as it is my greatest wish to continue to teach new students Ju-jitsu and hopefully be a part of instilling a great and deep love for the art.