Sensei Jim Sherman | Martial Arts Instructor

Sensei Jim Sherman in Kansas City - Integrity Martial Arts Academy

Sensei Jim Sherman

5th Degree Blackbelt

I had had no martial arts training until I joined a club at the Kirmeyer Fitness Center in 1993. I was already 43 years old. I had met the instructor, Master Rudolph Muhammad, a year or so before when I was employed by the University of Kansas Medical Center; in the Information Technology department. We had become friends quickly and over that time he had told me about the club and invited me out several times. In August of 1993 I finally walked over to the fitness center after work and watched a class. I observed as the students did basic exercises and kata; and thought to myself that “this is not my cup of tea”. Just as I was about to give up on the idea of taking this class, Rudolph began demonstrating some self-defense techniques. I immediately became interested. This is what I wanted to learn, not that other stuff! After the class was over, Rudolph asked for my opinion, and whether I was interested in training. I was honest and told him I didn’t think I cared for the exercises or kata but would like to learn how to defend myself. He was patient and explained that one needed to learn the basic exercises and kata as a foundation for the self-defense techniques. I told him I wasn’t sure I could do it and he said he’d help me get through it. So I signed up. He’s been true to his word and I’ve been training ever since. Not long after joining the club, Rudolph opened his own dojo; Kwanzaa Martial Arts Academy, and I began attending classes there also.

When I started training I had never thought about rank or belts. All I cared about was learning self- defense. It seemed that just about the time I thought I was starting to remember what I’d been taught, as far as the kata and basics, my instructor would tell me it was time to take a test. Somehow I managed to pass them until in 1998 I took the test for my first degree black belt. I still don’t think much in terms of rank; but in April of 2014 I tested and received my 5th degree black belt in Chung Do Tae Kwan Do. I’m currently training in Shotokan. Perhaps I’ll look up one day and find I have ranking in that system. I do have a greater appreciation for kata than I did when I started in martial arts; and I now try to perfect them to the best of my ability. I’ve learned to put maximum effort into every exercise; whether I like it or not.

In between that first class and the present, Rudolph and I have continued to be good friends both in and out of the dojo. I’ve made many new friends through the school; both young and old. The school is like a second family to me. I feed and nurture it like it’s my own. At our first location I would mow and cut weeds. Thankfully that isn’t needed anymore! I’ve been the main technical support for the school’s computers for as long as they’ve had them. I’ve donated hardware and software and other goods to the school and money to funding drives. I’ve taught at the main school since I was a colored belt and opened and closed the main schooled when Master Muhammad was away. I’ve taught at some of the clubs for other instructors when they needed to be away.

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