Born in Korea, adopted by a Black family, and raised in an Air Force family in the white suburbs. With this upbringing, I thought everyone experienced the same identity confusion as me. It took moving to NYC to help me sort through that confusion!
When I was a kid growing up in the ’70s, Bruce Lee and the TV series “Kung Fu” contributed to the painful stereotype that assumed every Asian knows martial arts. So I studied judo from 1974-77, then Shito-ryu karate in 1981. I finally started studying Bujinkan in 1983, and I haven’t stopped since. Safe to say that I really leaned into that particular stereotype. Thanks, Bruce!
I moved to NYC in 1994, following all of my college friends who were becoming actors. I decided to try my hand at personal training, because I couldn’t believe that people actually got paid to help other people exercise! So I got a certification from NYU and worked at Equinox for 18 months, which turned out to be a very busy and formative time. I helped develop their personal training certification system and ran their Physiology Lab (for which I was woefully underqualified) and helped open their clubs at 92nd St and 86th St in Manhattan.
When I left Equinox, it was to work as a private personal trainer, and I’ve been doing that ever since. Along with running and teaching at Muzosa Dojo, which I started with my best friend Tim Brown in 1994, my focus has been on both fitness and martial arts training. Well, plus my wife and both kids are an important part of my life, helping me become a a better person through the years.