Monday Miyagi 062909

I returned last night from a visit to Rochester, NY to see family and friends. Judy and I were able to visit with my parents, my sister and brother-in law, my grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Living far away, with a new baby on the way, this visit with our family was very special. One of the highlights for Judy and I was looking through the baby book my parents kept as I was growing up. One of the sections of the book was a family tree, tracing back several generations of my ancestors.

On the flight home I was reflecting about my family lineage and my martial arts lineage. My family lineage is mostly a mix of German, Irish and French. My martial arts lineage is also a mix. I began studying American Kenpo at Syracuse University in 1991 and that is my main style. However, my martial arts background also includes a lot of Eskrima, Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a little bit of a lot of other things.

My American Kenpo family tree looks like this:

  • Edmund Kealoha Parker (Founder, EPAK)
  • Joe Palanzo (WKKA) & Steve Arsenault (EKKS)
  • Brian MacDonald (Boston 1995-Present)
  • Chris Herrman

Just looking at my tree only tells a small part of my story and a huge piece is missing. My first instructor, Phil Benedict, is not listed. I am not technically part of his lineage because I did not earn my Black Belt with him. I studied with Mr. Benedict for 4 years, earning my Brown Belt while attending Syracuse University (1991-1995). He has had a huge influence on me as a martial artist and deserves a lot of the credit for where I am today. I am his highest-ranking student (to date) and hope that I have made him proud as I have continued my martial arts journey with Mr. MacDonald and other instructors.

What is your story? Who has influenced you both inside and outside of your family tree? I will share more of my martial arts family tree and influences in the future.