Darno DeJohnette, Ministry Leader
When I began my Tang Soo Do training in October of 1999, I had no idea how far my journey would take me. I only started training because of a promise I had made to my son; that I would start karate classes with him, but only if and when he received his green belt.
My son began training at five years old, two years before I joined Tang Soo Do. After observing other parents taking karate with their children, he asked me to take classes with him. I thought this would be a good opportunity to motivate him to continue training, so I made a promise. At that time he had just received his orange belt. Promoting up to green belt would require more focus and work hard. The reward would not only be his own personal achievement, but also having his dad train with him.
At that time, I did not see a distant future for me in Tang Soo Do. I had recently turned 48 years old, and was beginning to feel old age creep upon me. I was not in the greatest shape at that time, but of course, I had made a promise. So, in October of 1999 I enrolled in karate class with my son.
Tang Soo Do was not easy for me. As a teenager I studied Shotokan karate. It took me 10 years to earn my black belt. But after achieving that goal, I stopped training. Years passed and all the katas I had learned as a young practitioner were forgotten. I could remember some terminology and the application of a few basic techniques, but I no longer considered myself a black belt. So I started over as a white belt in Tang Soo Do. Even then, the old Okinawan style stayed with me. And as I began my white belt training in Tang Soo Do, I came to realize the vast differences between the two martial art styles. It was hard to overcome my weaknesses and the muscle memory I had developed as a Shotokan student. But with continuous practice and training, I slowly acclimated to the new art style.
I do not know how much farther this journey will take me. The enemy has placed many road blocks on my path; yet, I am determined to trust in God's Promise, and place one foot in front of the other for as long as I am able. This is the promise I have made to "myself."
(In the photo: Darno DeJohnette II, Master Thomas Thai, and myself)