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Tremayne Baker

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As a kid, I found myself glued to the television anxiously viewing Sunday morning martial arts movies shown on WGN Television. I gladly exchanged my outside play time in order to watch these foreign produced and directed works of art.

Five Deadly Venoms and Enter The Dragon are just a couple of the movies that provided me that instant "wow" factor. I was at an impressionable age where I wanted to be who ever I saw on the view tube. And for me, I always wanted to be the next Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly, or other Asian martial artist I saw every weekend.

I was amazed with how these artists moved with such grace, power and skill. So my friends and I were excited to role play whatever karate moves we saw every week.

My first formal experience with martial arts was as a kid in YMCA summer day camp. We would punch and kick the pads under the watchful eye of our teacher.

Over time I found myself working out with friends that formally trained in martial arts or I would study with small groups. I knew earIy on that martial arts would have a place in my life.

I have been studying the Takeo-Ryu Self-Defense System since 2005. I have learned an enormous amount of knowledge pertaining to martial arts, discipline and hard work. Shihan Keith is very eager to impart his vast array of self defense wisdom to each student. While learning with Shihan Keith, I have discovered a much better appreciation for the human body.

The techniques of the Takeo-Ryu Self-Defense System can be quite dynamic and devastating to a human being trying to cause harm to me or my loved ones. I have learned the proper techniques which provide me increased speed and power to protect my well being, even in the most difficult situations and environments. It is that understanding that allows me to humbly submit to one of Shihan Keith's creeds: "Respect Every One, But Fear Nobody". As a senior student in our system, I have enjoyed being able to assist newer students along this journey of learning techniques that are physically and intellectually challenging, yet fun.

Every student will have the opportunity to teach someone else in class at some point in time. I have also enjoyed Shihan's challenge to each student of learning the Takeo-Ryu Self-Defense System in both English and Japanese. In a world where tradition and culture are becoming a thing of the past, I believe that this is one area in which our dojo is quite unique.

Whether it has been through belt testing, sparring with fellow karatakas, or competing in tournaments, I can honestly say that I learn something each time. I learn about the techniques where I am strong, my strength level, and my ability to maneuver. I also learn about my weakness and areas that I need to improve. But whether it is my strengths or weaknesses, Shihan Keith always says "It is better for you to learn from your mistakes in the dojo, than to learn from your mistakes when attacked on the streets."

I have studied other self defense systems and can honestly attest that the Takeo-Ryu Self Defense System is one of the most complete systems that involve blocks, strikes, weapons defense, and multiple attackers defense. I am of the belief that martial arts is more than just a fitness system, but a way of life. Takeo-Ryu Self Defense System has provided me qualities that I know will be a way of life for me forever.

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