Born in Sicily Italy, I arrived in the US when I was 7. I lived in Western PA until I was 14, moving to Norristown where I graduated from High School. After graduating from DeVry with Associates Degree in Electronics, I moved to Reading in 1990.
I spent most of my working life in the computer field until becoming a Realtor four years ago.
I have always had a passion for martial arts. When I was in high school I studied Ninja-Fu under master Chang in Bridgeport PA. When I moved to Reading I found Sensei Snyder and East Coast Karate and felt like I found my home. I also met my wife Kelly at E.C.K.. We now have a son, Dillan (4 Years), and daughter, Olivia (1 year). I have been involved with martial arts for 20 + years, hold a second degree black belt and help teach classes at East Coast Karate. I have learned that in life if you treat others the way you want to be treated, good things will come of it. OSU!
I started taking karate when I was 14. It was something my father did in Korea during the Vietnam War and I grew up watching all the movies. That’s where my interest came from.
I loved it. I set goals for myself and it boosted my self confidence. For someone who tried all kinds of sports in school, this was definitely the one I liked. But I came to find out it’s not a sport, it’s an application to my life.
I steadily went through the belts and when I was a blue belt I was asked to help out with the Karate Kids class. That put my training to a whole new level. It’s amazing how much you learn when you’re the one instructing. Instead of three classes a week, I was going to all of them. If I wasn’t teaching, I was taking class six days a week. More often then not, there was a tournament to go to on the weekend.
In May of 1996, I earned my black belt through a three day long test under Sensei Snyder and Di Sensei Odo. It was then that I realized everything I learned was at beginner level.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to train as a black belt because three months later I went to naval boot camp. That’s a whole other story. Nine years later I came back and started training again. It feels really good to be back or for all you karate guys “GREAT!”
TRAIN HARD, NEVER GIVE UP
At the age of 10, I begged my mother to let me take karate, but instead she decided it was dance class for me. After a very half-hearted try at tap dance, she finally gave in. Unfortunately, the only studio in my area at the time was a judo dojo filled with very large and at my age, very scary men throwing each other to the floor.
I never lost the desire to try a martial art, but did not act upon my desire until many years later when I was accosted on a street near my home. Uninjured, but unnerved, I decided if a similar situation ever arose again I would know how to defend myself!
After carefully checking out all the available martial art programs (there were many!) I found Sensei Snyder and some of his students, whom I still train with today. Thankfully, I made the right choice.
Since that time I have fully enjoyed every aspect of my karate training at “ECK” and have learned much about myself and my capabilities along the way. As a Black Belt instructor, I have enjoyed most the opportunity to work with and watch quite a few children mature and develop into special young men and women; and I believe truly that their martial arts training had a lot to do with the success they experience today.
It’s been a very enlightening and cherished experience to be able to train with people who have become like family to me for so many years, and to be able to continue to enjoy the special opportunity to touch young peoples lives through the martial arts.