What is the 50 State Challenge? Want to join the Challenge? Email me here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

50 States Challenge

One evening, on a side street in downtown Seoul, two enthusiastic martial artists engaged in a casual conversation while waiting for class to begin.  One of them was myself--a fish out of water trying out taekyun for the first time.  The other was a taekyun veteran who grew up in Seoul.

I was taken aback to learn that his first martial art was karate and not taekwondo.  For a martial artist growing up in Korea, that was rare and surprising.  I said as much.

Then he told me something I will remember forever.

"All martial artists--we are all brothers and sisters.  Taekwondo, karate, taekyun--it doesn't matter.  We are all brothers and sisters."

It was true in more ways than one.  I was welcomed warmly by these strangers on the opposite side of the world from where I called home.  I shared lessons, smiles, sweat and laughs with people with whom I shared neither a language nor a culture.  It didn't matter because we spoke martial arts fluently (or fluently enough) and we didn't need to share a culture because we shared a family, as brothers and sisters.

This is a project about uniting martial arts brothers and sisters.  We have stories to share and there is much we can learn from each other.  And there is a great deal of good we can do together.

In the 50 States Challenge, I aim to travel across America and visit a martial arts school in each state.  At each school, I will take a class and learn anything that the school wishes to teach me.  Then I will teach a class to share what I know and what I have learned along the way.  Instead of being paid for teaching, I volunteer my time as part of a fund raiser for the charity of the host school's choice.

This blog chronicles the lessons and stories of the people I meet throughout the project. It is here to invite martial artists from all styles and walks of life to share in the journey.  I hope you find somethng of value along the way.


  1. Congratulations, and I wish you the greatest, most enlightening time of your life!

  2. I have my school in Florence, South Carolina. You are welcome anytime to share with me and whichever student is there that day.
    I only teach private lessons and right now it is just 3-4 classes a week. This is how I started back in 1974. text=18436765280