A PASSION FOR THE ART: My Interview With Rising Action Hero ERIC ST. JOHN

Eric St. John: I entered the martial arts when I was 7 years old. I originally wanted to be a boxer. The only other thing I was interested in as much as boxing, was the martial arts. My folks had a family friend, who was a Marine and a Vietnam War veteran, and had trained while stationed overseas. They talked to him and he said it would be a great thing to do, even for me to get started at the young age of 7. Through his recommendation, my folks found a Tae Kwon Do school for me to begin my training, and so I began. The martial arts became my passion and I spent all of my extra time training at home, while my mom would drive me every day to the dojo to train. I just wanted to learn as much as I possibly could and get better and better as a martial artist. When I reached a certain age, I wanted to get even more involved and wanted to compete. I found an instructor that would really shape my future as a martial artist. His name was Tae Lee. He was Korean and brought his style over from Korea to teach in the US. I feel very fortunate to have trained with him at such a young age. Under his guidance I became a black belt and went on to win the Gold Medal in the Black Belt Division in the Jr. Olympics. I have since branched out to train in different systems, including Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Kali, and continue to evolve. I have had the good fortune to train with some of the best in Muay Thai with Kru Rex (Ajarn Rex), Jeet Kune Do, Shooto, Kali, and Silat with Sifu Yori Nakamura and Guro Dan Inosanto.