Bryan's Personal Martial Arts History

10 December 2004

When revamping my web site I realized that I hadn't touched my personal history page since I first wrote it 5-1/2 years ago. My history has been expanded, and my perspectives on many things have changed. I definitely view martial arts differently now than I did then.

I've also passed a number of important milestones since then!



Jul 1999

Joined Allen's TKD in Cary, NC.

Apr 2001

Joined the instructor program.

Sep 2001

Started training in Combat Hapkido & Chong Hun TKD.

Dec 2001

Earned my 1st Dan in Songahm TKD.

Jan 2002

Started training in Defensive Combat Systems (DCS).

Feb 2002

My sons started Taekwondo at Vision TKD.

May 2002

Moved from Allen's TKD to Vision TKD, as it is much closer to home.

Aug 2002

Accepted into Certified Instructor Program; received my red collar as L0 instructor.

Nov 2004

Terminated relationship with Vision TKD & Allen's TKD.

Dec 2004

Eric, Patrick & I joined Bannard Soo Bahk Do.

May 2007

Earned 1st Dan in Soo Bahk Do.

I'm glad I've kept my journal -- I was able to look up when I passed certain milestones -- it was nice re-living them (well, most of them anyway!). :-)

The past 5-1/2 years have had good times and bad. To be fair the bad ones have not been that bad, and besides, without bad times to compare against do we really appreciate the good times?

In reviewing my milestones of the past 5+ years, I also thought about my early history, and how it shaped me. I never kept a journal until joining Allen's TKD, so I have no firm record of what I did, or when. Thus I must rely upon my memory, which has never proven truly accurate. The following table details my martial arts history prior to joining Allen's TKD. Please note that all dates are approximate and may be subject to later change.



circa 1977

Found a book on Ju-Jitsu and tried to teach myself, none too effectively.

circa 1980

Briefly attended a kung fu class taught at my local high school. Unfortunately the class did not last long, maybe 6 or 8 weeks.

Sep 1982

Started training with the Kang Duk Won Association at SUNY Potsdam. Earned my Yellow belt at the end of the first semester. I stopped training part way through the second semester.


Resumed training with the Kang Duk Won Association in Lowville, NY. Trained with them for about 1 year.

Summer 1985

Trained for the summer with Scalise-George Taekwondo in Utica, NY. I think this was a WTF school.


Started training with Bailey's Martial Arts in Rome, NY. By this time I had finally graduated from college and had been working a couple of years. I stayed with Bailey's for about a year.

Summer 1998

Trained for 9 months with a private individual who had developed his own style, based upon pretty much everything except TKD. Received a smattering of kung fu, karate, ju-jitsu, judo, and Japanese wrestling.

Apr 1999

Trained for 3 months with an extension of Sun Yi's TKD at the Fuquay-Varina Community Center.

Jul 1999

Joined Allen's TKD in Cary, NC.

So I've had a varied background. My training include 6 styles of Taekwondo, including Chong Hun TKD at Allen's (that was taught simultaneously with Songahm TKD). I've also had training in Combat Hapkido and DCS (which is based upon Muy Thai kick-boxing), plus smatterings of kung fu, karate, ju-jitsu, judo, etc.

Now I'm training in Soo Bahk Do, which is apparently the original Moo Duk Kwan. This is very similar to TKD, but has some marked differences. This is clearly a military style -- techniques are sparse, meaning that there is no wasted movement, and training from white belt upward is in power. We use the hips very strongly in virtually EVERY technique to generate power. It also includes attacks below the waist, which I've learned only in Hapkido.

This should prove to be an interesting change from what I've done, and is definitely more self defense oriented.

I will be updating this page more frequently than I have in the past. The current page fits my ideas of today, but I can see that it may not fit tomorrow's, in which case I'll change it. :-)

20 July 1999

This section is my original personal history section. In re-reading it I find some of it is amusing, so I'm leaving it here as a contrast between who I was then and who I am now ...

I've been a student of Taekwondo off and on since my sophomore year of college. Due to changing colleges, moving around after college, getting married and having children, and some times due to general apathy, I failed to keep with it. As a result, I earned a green belt three times in three different schools between 1982 and 1991. Occasionally I was in pretty good physical condition, but more often I was not.

Right now I'm really not! I've got a 42" waistline and a spare tire big enough to fit my truck. Rolling over in bed is exhausting (OK, maybe I'm not that out of shape!). My immediate goal is to lose 4" of waistline by Christmas. It won't be easy, and it won't happen if I don't put the effort in. No one but me can do it. A good school can help, but it's really up to me.

So I'm started TKD again. This time I am going to see it through. My goal is to earn the coveted black belt. Toward this end, I joined Allen's Taekwondo School (a member of the ATA) in Cary, NC in July 1999, starting over again as a white belt.

I think I might have been able to argue the point and come in as a higher belt. But I don't feel I deserve to wear a colored belt yet. Some people think of the belts as something that is awarded, but they shouldn't be -- all should be earned. When I wear a green belt again I want to feel that I earned it and deserve to wear it. Right now I don't deserve to wear a colored belt. Besides, I'd rather be an overweight, out-of-shape white belt than an overweight, out-of-shape green belt! :-)

I think Mr. Wegmann, my chief instructor, was pleased when I told him that I preferred to come in as a white belt. It communicated something about me and my attitudes, hopefully including the idea that I'm more concerned with building my abilities than what color belt I'm wearing.

Over the years my personal attitudes have changed. In the past earning a black belt was never a goal. It wasn't until recently that I understood that I had never believed that I could really do it. If you don't believe you can do something, then you can't. So I couldn't. I think that may have been part of the reason I moved on so many times.

Now, things are different. I'm a much more confident person, and my belief in myself is very strong. I've been successful in enough other areas that I've built the confidence; a matter of success breeding success. (My friend Don & I are in complete agreement on this point, even if we argue semantics)

So, barring something unforeseen, I'll be with Allen's at least long enough to earn my black belt -- probably longer. It's something that never stops -- I'll never be able to rest on my laurels. No big surprise -- nothing else in my life permits that either.

It's kind of funny. At 36 I have the confidence and other mental skills necessary to earn a black belt, but have reduced physical capabilities (part of which is an extra 40 or 50 lbs of fat). At 19 I had much superior physical capabilities, but didn't have the mental ability to see it through. Oh, well. I suppose nothing is ever easy. :-)

Copyright 1999-2008 Bryan Fazekas