2nd Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Karatedo Association
Training in Shidokan and Shido-kan at Grand River Karate since 2002
Teacher, Waterloo Regional District School Board since 1974
Retired in 2004 but I continue to supply teach with the Board
Teaching specialist in Special Education, Guidance, and Physical Education
President of FSSF WW2 Italy Memorial Fund
Why I Started
I have always been an active person and was especially involved in intramural and teamsports in my schools. As a health teacher and spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Association I knew the benefits of an active life style but I often lacked the motivation to get out there! When my father died prematurely from ALS and my younger brother from an aggressive brain tumour, I gained a new appreciation for my ability do challenging physical things and press myself to new limits. Both my daughters had trained in karate, first with Jake Klaus and then at Grand River under Brian Dingle. Not surprisingly, they often talked of their favourite instructors, Sensei Fortunato and Sensei Scott. So at the age of 56 I joined the adult class at Grand River and believe it is one of my best life choices. It has been instrumental in keeping my mind and body challenged while training with people I respect and now consider part of my extended family.
Why I like Shidokan
The Shidokan style is always building on basics. We continually practice our blocks, kicks, punches, stances and movement transitions. Everyone is progressing from the level they are presently at, and working to improve and learn new things. Even high ranking black belts readily admit they are working on some aspect of Iha Sensei's teaching, trying to achieve his level of expertise. We are all students, we all learn from one another and share a love for this cultural art form from Okinawa. Shidokan also teaches us to be persistent, to work hard for your goals in life, to seek the wisdom of others, and share what we know in a spirit of friendship and humility. Shidokan calls on you physically, mentally, and spiritually and can help you meet life's challenges. It is "the way of the path of the warrior" and can keep me focused on my priorities in life.
What I Enjoy About Teaching
Teaching is about performing and there is a little "ham" in all of us. I try to model for others what I have been taught, and bring a touch of humour into very lesson. I particularly like breaking down a move into several parts and then seeing the delight in the students' faces when, or if, it all comes together. The Shidokan style always starts with teaching basic building blocks so that students have a strong foundation of skills to progress from. As a special education teacher, I believe every student needs to receive some positive feedback in every class and and that we need to reward effort and offer regular encouragement to improve self confidence. Every class needs to experience several teachers, and teaching methods, in an attempt to meet the different learning styles that exist in the group. I enjoy the challenge.
Cycling, skiing, horseback riding, scuba diving, parachuting and world traveling. The
common expression in my family is –" You've gone too far this time Don!"