"I loved how Rodney King weaved his life story, and together with his martial art practice, was able to succeed and win at the martial arts of everyday life."Naveen Jain Billionaire Entrepreneur & Founder: Moon Ex
Until my late 20s, I felt like I had been fighting my whole life. Brought up on the south side of Johannesburg, in South African government housing (similar to “the projects” in the USA), I learned early on that what really mattered was not how smart you were, but whether you were tough enough. Growing up, I often felt trapped in a really bad nightmare — and I wanted to wake up.
But as they say, tough times build strong character. I was determined to survive the school bullies and the mean streets of my neighbourhood. Even though I survived the violence outside of my home, my home wasn’t safe either. Things turned rough in my teens. My abusive, alcoholic mother kicked me out of the house at 17 and, as a result, I never finished high school.
I found myself sleeping on a park bench, in the very same park I played in as a kid. With less than $20 in my pocket, I decided then and there, to change the trajectory of my life. As Appius Claudius Caecus notes, “every man is the artisan of his own fortune” and I worked hard to turn things around. I realized in the darkest moments of my despair that success comes down to what you do on the inside, no matter what’s happening to you on the outside.
The truth is, the only narrative that really mattered was my own. All stories can have any kind of ending you choose. I decided not only what my story would ultimately become, but how it would end. Your life is your story. You can choose both the plot, and the ending. You can also change it at anytime you like. If I can give a advice to anyone, don’t live someone elses story, live your own. Be brave, you owe it to yourself!
Martial Arts taught me to be resilient, to embrace my fears, to develop laser-like focus, and to never give up. Having developed those qualities (I had to!), I went back to school, put myself through college and did my undergraduate work in psychology, and earned a Masters degree in Leading Innovation and Change. At the time of writing this I am in the final months of completing my Ph.D. (while pursuing a 2nd Masters in Criminology and Criminal Psychology).
Over the years, I have taught special-force military operators and law enforcement officers how to develop an unstoppable physical game and mind needed for success and to survive when all else fails on the battlefield, or on the mean city streets. I have taught thousands of students how to both survive in life and death interpersonal violent encounters, as well as how to take on the Martial Arts of Everyday Life more skillfully.
You see, I did wake up from my nightmare whilst growing up. What I learned on the mat as a martial artist, helped me not only take on those tough, mean streets of Johannesburg, but it empowered me to take on life, full throttle, and to succeed. I started martial arts first as a way to survive, and then as a method to achieve personal mastery. If I hadn’t started training in karate and boxing, I wouldn’t be coaching business leaders, entrepreneurs, and success-minded people in the very same inner game tools I had developed to become a success in my own life. The blog on this site is dedicated to my life’s work on the mat, on the street and taking on the Martial Arts of Everyday Life more skillfully!