Student Spotlight – February 2016
The Student Spotlight is a special honor which is bestowed upon Black Belt at Home students whom have displayed progress, dedication, consistency, and a recognizable excellence. Each student in the spotlight was chosen by their grading instructor.
David Wright – Total Krav Maga
- Rank: Krav Maga Level 1
- Location: Cookeville, TN, USA
- Past Martial Arts Experience: Taekwondo, MMA
In his own words: “I stared taking Tae-Kwon-Do when I was about 7 years old and feel in love with it. I went for a few years then, like any kid, decided to do something else, so I played baseball for a hand full of years. When I returned to training I realized how much I had missed it and vowed to never stop again. I was 16 when I earned my Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do and am now a 3rd Degree Black Belt and head instructor at my gym. I also trained in ju-jitsu and kickboxing, then made the transition to fight MMA which was a blast.
I was 18 when I had my 1st child and it wasn’t easy balancing training and fathering but I had a wonderful wife who understood my passion for the martial arts. She even blessed me with a son 13 months after the birth of our daughter! Through all that I always had a day job, then training and teaching in the evening. Just last year I was able to quit my day job and make teaching my life and I haven’t looked back since!
Training in Total Krav Maga has really opened my eyes to a new love. It’s so simple yet so technical. I can’t get enough of it and I already train for 6 hours a week! All the videos are done very well and it’s great to know that an instructor is just an e-mail away. I’m close enough to Oak Ridge that I made the drive to train with Mr. Koppel and I’ll be making that drive again and again. If you’re on the fence about this program, take my advice and get down and GO TRAIN!“
The instructors chose to David for his great start to training with us, and earning his level 1 rank. He also took the time out to come and visit Mr. Koppel in person at this school, just to get some extra work in.
John M B Balouziyeh – Ultimate Bo
- Rank: Green Chevron
- Location: Currently resides in Saudi Arabia
- Other Martial Arts Experience: Aikido, Taekwondo, Nunchaku
In his own words: “I am an attorney with the law firm Dentons. I assist companies investing in the Middle East through joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and public-private partnerships. I was previously with the U.S. State Department, based out of Washington, DC, the United Arab Emirates and Syria. I currently reside in Saudi Arabia.
As a graduate student, I studied Aikido and later continued with Taekwondo under the instruction of Sadiq Tajuddin. I have independently studied the nunchaku and now, under the tutelage of Sensei Michael Hodge, am studying bōjutsu, an art form I have found to be at once graceful, elegant and physically challenging in its demand for agility and precision.
The martial arts are to me a way of cultivating discipline, physical prowess and sharpness of mind. The student of martial arts becomes a steward of special skills and knowledge, but must never use those skills or knowledge to bring harm to any person. If ever attacked, the martial artist should use his skills to neutralize the attacker, but do no harm, thus implementing the words spoken by Jesus 2,000 years ago: “do not resist an evildoer”; “turn the other cheek”; “love your enemy” and “pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:38-44).
Outside of the world of law and the martial arts, I am a cellist and classical guitarist and my photography, paintings and drawings have been exhibited in New York, Dakar and Paris. I have also written extensively on law, human rights, and international affairs. Much of my writing is available at Amazon (click here for my Author Page) and on my blog, Law and Liberty.
I am grateful for a course that allows me to progress at my own pace and according to my own schedule. Attending training at a dojo is difficult to fit into my schedule and generally means that on the nights on which my sessions fall, I don’t see my children. With Ultimate Bo, I can train whenever I find it convenient—early mornings, after the children are put asleep—anytime. It also saves me travel time to the dojo in city traffic, which means I can invest more time in training. I find Ultimate Bo’s methodology clear and easy to follow, and it is more than just learning self-defense; the techniques, when put together into a full kata form, create a graceful form of art, not to mention a rigorous workout, particularly when performed in rapid succession. I would recommend Ultimate Bo to anyone who appreciates bōjutsu as an art form and is interested in a full-body workout free from rote repetition.“
Sensei Michael chose to highlight John this month for his obvious dedication to mastering the art of bōjutsu, his commitment to working in and supporting humanitarian efforts in the Middle East, and for characterizing the true spirit of a martial artist.