On Monday 7/20, I was interviewed by Professor Gary Lee of the American Martial Arts Alliance. During the interview he asked me about teaching at the University of Tennessee and what it was like teaching traditional Martial Arts in a collegiate setting. He then invited me to be a guest on his talk show, AMAA Radio, Tuesday 7/21.

I was one of five guests that were on the show. The other guests are very well known for their success in competition and in the movies. My input was a sharp contrast to theirs because my focus is on the success of the student as an individual as opposed to personal success in competition. The discussion could be summarized into four talking points:
1. The issue of Traditional Martial Arts Competitors versus Non-Traditional Martial Arts Competitors in Tournament Competition in the United States.
2. The problems created when Traditional Martial Arts Competitors are faced with Tournament Officials who are Non-Traditional.
3. The issue of Bullying.
4. The question: Does Traditional Martial Arts and Martial Arts Competition have any value for students at the collegiate level.

The issue of Bullying was a topic on which all guests agreed on and we all work toward, in one way or another, helping victims deal with this problem. My input was different because of the fact that in addition to being a member of the University of Tennessee Faculty, I am also a Middle School Educator in a Public School and deal with Bullying on a much more frequent basis than the other guests.

The final question that was asked of me was whether or not Traditional Martial Arts and Martial Arts Competition could co-exist and do they have value for students. My response was based on my experiences and observations of teaching at the University of Tennessee for 25 years. It has been my experience that students who train in Traditional Martial Arts develop the Mental Focus, Self-Discipline and Self-Confidence to be successful in their chosen endeavors. Traditional Martial Arts Competition can also be beneficial to the student. If an individual can step into a ring in front of judges and spectators and perform, not necessarily win, but perform to their personal best, then that same individual can confidently perform academic and professional presentations as well as job interviews. I have also found that, based on my research, students who train in the Traditional Martial Arts tend to have higher GPA’s, on average, than those who do not.

Because of my position in the Martial Arts I am sometimes given the opportunity to talk about my position at the University of Tennessee. I am very proud to be a part of this great University and also very proud of the impact that the University has on the students and my role in that. My two greatest professional pursuits are Teaching and Martial Arts, and at the University of Tennessee, I am able to combine them. I am truly blessed in that regard.

Leave a Comment