Sensei Roundtable Discussion

PowerUP board directors Stéphan Donzé and Mike Auzenne recently sat down Zoom-style with our Senseis to talk about what martial arts has meant in their lives, and what they are teaching our kids.

Each of our Senseis shared their story, and the common themes were self-confidence, survival skills, and self-control.

Sensei Richard Trammell’s father put him in martial arts because he thought it was good for discipline. Richard shared that at first he didn’t want to do it, because training interfered with his Saturday morning cartoons, but his father made him. Somewhere along the way, Richard fell in love with martial arts, and went on to become a world champion in Shidokan Karate.

Sensei Josh White grew up on MLK Boulevard in Atlanta, and he lived three doors down from the “Trap,” which is where drugs were sold and gangs recruited young kids. Josh needed the martial arts skills he learned to make it home every day. Beyond the self-defense skills he learned, martial arts helped Josh take off in life. He is internationally ranked in Judo, and with Sensei Richard’s mentorship and support, Josh has built his own martial arts business.  

Sensei Trey Lambert grew up on ‘the last paved road’ in rural Georgia. Just like Josh, Trey had his own ‘Trap’ where bullies stopped him every day to make fun of his ‘red, Ronald McDonald hair’ and take his lunch money. Martial arts helped Trey defend himself, and taught him to remain calm in difficult situations.

Sensei Josh shared that his sensei growing up told him his Brown Belt was meant to hold up his gi (karate uniform). The skills and knowledge he was learning in his training would hold him up in life. Josh pushes his students and puts them in stressful situations so he can teach them how to handle themselves when they are under attack in life. Sensei Richard shared his perspective on how martial arts teaches young kids how to control their emotions, and how to deal with people mentally and physically. Sensei Trey shared that martial arts teaches us to use our heads, “Don’t be tough, be smart.”

We are fortunate to have such incredible Senseis at PowerUP.