Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mr.Jerry Jackson

How I Got Here:  My Journey to the     Dojang                     

Where do I start?  I first thought about it sitting in a movie theatre as an early teenager watching Ralph Macchio become a legend in the movie The Karate Kid.  I thought, if that skinny little kid can learn to whip bad guys and get the pretty girl doing it, well so can I!  One problem; I grew up in a very small town called Graettinger, Iowa.  We didn't have a stop light in our town much less a martial arts school.  Even if I had access to one, it would have been a big stretch to ask for my parents to pay for something like that.  My dream ended sooner than it took the movie credits to finish.  So I filed away any thoughts of learning a martial art.

In the spring of the year 2005, I made a career change and relocated to a small town near Cherokee.  I recall working out in the Wellness Center one evening.  I was busy doing my thing but kept hearing loud yelling.  I looked over the second story railing to see Master Pearson leading a group of TKD students.  I watched for quite a while, but for whatever reason I didn't go inquire.

Fast forward to 2012; my son Brody was starting kindergarten, and life was good.  One day I was waiting at the bus stop for my little champ to get off.  I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see.  Brody was the last kid off the bus that day.  He stepped down off the steps and when his feet hit the ground so did my heart.  He looked up with tears streaming down his face and he was a bloody mess.  That was the first of several incidents at the hands of not one, but two bullies.  I guess having epilepsy makes you different and a target, even in kindergarten.  A few angry meetings with both the school and the parents made one of the bullies stop but not the other.  So I told Brody we could get him TKD lessons.  He thought about it long and hard for quite awhile, and then decided to get on board.

I knew full well I wanted to take lessons with him, but a busy work schedule wouldn't allow it at firstI contacted Master Pearson and in August of 2013, and Brody bowed, crossed the red line in our dojang, and started his journey.  December of the same year I was finally able to start my own journey.  By this time I was thrilled with Brody's progress and I couldn't wait for my turn.  I informed Master Pearson I would be there on the 13th.  She was waiting by the door for me and just like Brody I bowed and crossed the red line.  Honestly, after only a few minutes, I realized I was completely terrified of this woman.  She helped me understand who was in charge at all times (as if my shaking knees didn't tell her I got the point).  We worked through what might have been her worst first day student lesson ever.  I went away after day one feeling overwhelmed, but knowing I was hooked.

Many lessons have been taught in my time in TKD.  One in particular that I have learned is that TKD is a gift.  Master Pearson has said that to me many times over the last couple of years.  The gift of knowledge is what it means most to me.  I too have a gift.  My gift comes in the form of my young son Brody.  One day, like all of us parents, I will give my gift to the world.  I will be satisfied when the day comes knowing that the teaching and the convictions I will have instilled into him, supplemented by the tenets of TKD, have created a well rounded and respectful young man.

In closing I have a few people to thank.  Thank you to Grand Master Jung and all the other masters.  Thank you for the foundation you have made.  This is such a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn.

Thank you to my TKD family in Cherokee.  Without you, I would not be standing here today.  Every single student has a stake in me being here, and I thank you.  To my mom, I would run out of ink before I ever finished writing enough about you.  You inspire me to keep moving forward and become the best I can be.  To my dad, how do you thank your hero enough?  I say hero for a very good reason.  He is a two time Purple Heart recipientHe fought in the Vietnam and Gulf warsHe is a 38 year distinguished military retireeHe’s faced the toughest form of lung cancer and beat it.  He is a walleye fishing master, and my best buddy.  I couldn't be here today without you.  I do find it ironic that you and mom brought me into this world kicking and screaming and youre still with me watching me do the same thing.  To my son Brody, I couldn't ask for a better son.  Youre turning into a nice respectful young man, and I am so proud.  I can't wait for the day you get to step onto this floor and test for your own black belt.  I love you very much.  Last but certainly not least, thank you to Master Pearson.  First and foremost, I am happy to say I am no longer scared to death of you.  My fear has turned into respect.  Your teaching me has been a life changing experience.  Thank you for helping me through one of the most difficult years of my life.  I am honored to call you Master Pearson, and I am grateful to also be able to call you my friend.



Respectfully Submitted by:

Jerry Jackson