I started practicing Taekwondo in 1995 under Grand Master Chom Son Cho and Mr. Kehl Arnson at St. Johns Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. There, I rose to the level of 1st Gup (high-red belt). We practiced two hours a day, four days a week, with martial artists from all over the world. In 1997, as a green belt, I participated in the 15th Annual Wisconsin State Tournament held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and took first place in Breaking and Forms. As a beginner student, I was not yet confident enough to participate in sparring but while I watched the sparring competition, I could not help but feel that I would have been a worthy competitor.
After graduating high school in 1997, I joined the U.S. Navy where I served for four years. I continued my training in Taekwondo when possible and attended several schools around the country. Due to the demands of the Navy, I was not able to remain in one place long enough to prepare to test for black belt; however, I participated in many tournaments during my service. I was twice the Maine State Taekwondo Champion in the black belt division. In doing so, I qualified to represent Maine in the U.S. National Taekwondo Championships, unfortunately the Navy had other plans and again, Taekwondo had to take a back seat.
I honorably completed my 4 year tour of service and attended college at University of Wisconsin, Platteville. During this time I also served proudly in the US Naval "SeaBee" Reserves and dedicated myself to my studies. Upon graduating, Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Criminal Justice, I moved to Stevens Point with my wife and found myself looking to 'complete' my Taekwondo training and earn my first degree black belt.
Training regularly for the first time in many years, I tested for my 1st degree in 2006, 2nd degree in 2007 and 3rd degree in 2009. I started instructing at two schools, Wausau and Port Edwards, under G.M. Dwight Stevens in 2009 and continued running those schools until 2013 when Five Rings Martial Arts was founded. In 2013 I earned the "Master" title upon promoting to my 4th Degree black belt. My journey continues and as of June of 2017 I successfully tested for and was promoted to 5th degree Black Belt.
As a continual student of Taekwondo, I have participated in many USA-Taekwondo Referee Training Classes and have advanced through the "D", "C", "B", and "A" level referee ranks and in May of 2018 I earned my long coveted certification as an International Referee. I am currently the highest ranked referee in the state and have attended the last nine National Championships as either a coach or referee (or both).
As a coach, I am the highest ranked coach in the State of Wisconsin and the head coach of the Wisconsin State Taekwondo Team "OneTeamWisconsin". I hold the highest coach rank available in the world and have coached numerous local, state, national, and international medalists. I am also the ONLY Wisconsin coach that is certified through the World Taekwondo Federation and the Pan American Taekwondo Union. In 2016, I was selected to be a member of the US National Team Coaching Staff - the only coach in the state to be awarded such an honor and in 2017 I was selected to be a part of the World Championship coaching staff!
As an athlete, I competed for a gold medal in poomsae at the Iowa State Championship in 2018 and recently re-earned the title of Wisconsin State Black Belt Champion defeating a former student 24-1!
I am the founder and current president of the Wisconsin Taekwondo Association and am dedicated to improving the quality of coaches, referees and athletes in the State of Wisconsin.
I am blessed with the opportunities afforded to me through my involvement in Taekwondo. Although Taekwondo may not be for everyone, I firmly believe that anyone can find a place in Taekwondo.
If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please share them with me!