A born and bred teacher.

 in Bradenton - Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy

I began officially teaching in the early 1980’s.

35 Years now. My college education includes Elementary Education and Recreational Therapy. A degree in business might have served me better, but I think and believed, even back then, that these two areas of training serve my students best.

I’ve always known I would teach. I don’t think it was ever a doubt. Throughout my childhood, at our house, my brother and I ran the neighborhood’s "unofficial" community center. The kids came to us to organize activities and games every day after school and all day in the summers. When we lived up north, for our last years there, we were on a cul-de-sac with 20 or so kids in the area. Football, kickball, soccer, tag, frisbee, baseball, martial arts, exploring, playing in the creek, building forts, swinging, skateboarding, biking, board games, and on and on. When we moved to Florida, it was a much smaller crowd of kids but they still found me. Baseball, soccer, martial arts, frisbee, fishing, beach, sailing, skateboarding, bike riding, exploring the flats and watching the tourists.

As an adult, I haven’t just taught Martial Arts either. At first, I didn’t even know I would do it as a full time career, or that it was even possible to make a living doing this. Probably because it wasn’t back then, or very unlikely. So, I did other things to make money. While I was in high school I began teaching swimming and life-saving as a Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor. Looking back, I’m stunned anyone would become a certified lifeguard because of me at that age, but I took it seriously and think I did a good job, even though I was just a kid by my own standards today. I was the first lifeguard ever hired at the Bradenton YMCA. I also worked the Bayshore pool for a bit, and for a long time at the Sarasota YMCA.

When GT Bray was brand new, I taught after-school martial arts at Bashaw Elementary School (when it was brand new as well), Palma Sola Elementary School, Harlee Middle School and I used Bayshore Elementary (the old one) for a short time as well. I even taught evening classes at GT Bray in some of the first classes offered there.

When GT Bray started their summer camps, I was one of their first counselors where we did a TON of activities with the kids each summer, which included me getting to teach martial arts for nearly a thousand campers, whew.

Back when SCF was Manatee Community College, I actually taught a for-credit PE course as an adjunct instructor in Self Defense. The class filled and stayed full all semester for years. When the college no longer required PE, they dropped the class, but I continued to teach there for many years as a service provided by student government.

On Manatee Ave., there was a health club called Westbay Atheletic Club. I ran an evening and Saturday morning martial arts class there for many years. We even moved our Palma Sola after-school program over there. This was where I began to gain a following of students. Eventually I opened a school out east, on SR 64, before it all developed out there, and a few years later, moved it to US 41.

I taught in-line skating to tourists and locals on St. Armand’s Circle for a place called Flamingo Coast on Saturday afternoons.

I was the Beach and Pool Manager for the Long Boat Key Club where I taught sailing and windsurfing.

As a Recreation Therapist for Sarasota Memorial Hospital I taught many things; stretching, yoga, weight training, arts and crafts (many different ones), volleyball, swimming, cooking, kitchen care, drawing, ceramics, painting, music, singing, four square, ping pong, pool, card games (many different ones), board games (many different ones), dance, stress reduction, meditation and breathing exercises.

While working there, I also made good use of my martial arts training, as I frequently found I needed to defend myself, other caregivers and innocent patients from the more violent patients. Here is where I learned that most of my martial arts instructors had few, real-life encounters, and were teaching based on tradition and theory, and that changes were necessary to make it function in the real world. I made those changes.

Now, as a school owner for all these years, I’ve not just taught my students, but I’ve run classes for other school owners and instructors on various business practices as well as training methods.

In my years of teaching martial arts, I’ve taught elements from Taekwondo, Hapkido, Karate, Jujitsu, Chi-na, Tricking, point sparring, TKD style sparring, combat style sparring, some Judo, ground fighting, Escrima, jo stave, bo stave, nunchakus, Kamas, European style fencing, Iaido, Kenjutsu, Kendo, Taijutsu, some Ninjutsu techniques, advanced pressure points, shuriken (knife and star throwing), shillelagh fighting, purring (Celtic style of kicking), some Kung Fu, some combat defensive techniques and just general self-defense. I learned all of these from certified, legitimate trainers and not just some “guy I knew,” or YouTube. These days I try to blend together all the best stuff I’ve learned over the years to provide something my students can use in a practical way without having to mentally transition from one style to the next. We just call it Ancient Ways martial arts, but it’s a practical blend. Most instructors do this today, realizing long ago that teaching your students one thing, or something based on theory and not reality, does them a terrible disservice.

Reading back over this, it sounds like band standing, or that i am full of hubris. I apologize if it sounds egotistical, but I’m not just telling about my teaching history. I share all of this to point out that through all of this, I can say, without a doubt that I learn more from everyone else than anyone has ever learned from me. In my youth, I vowed to be a forever student, reading, training, pushing myself, studying, listening, with an open heart and an open mind, to continually strive to improve, to learn and to grow. I invite you to join me in that vow. Don’t ever think that you know all you can know about a subject or that you are as good as you can ever get. the largest room in the world is the Room for Improvement.

With that being said, as a reminder, Ancient Ways will be closed from July 3rd through July 8th, reopening on the 10th. This is not because it will be a slow week since it is the Fourth of July. It’s not because the Fourth of July is Jannel’s 16th Birthday. We close this week every year to recharge ourselves, as well as to train ourselves. I will be attending the Martial Arts Supershow. There, I will train with my personal mentors, Dave Kovar and Mike Metzger among many other amazing individuals, including:

- Benny “The Jet” Urquidez - undefeated, many-time world champion in full-contact kickboxing
- Rickson Gracie, the son of Grand Master Helio Gracie of Brazilian Jujitsu fame
- Mike Swain the four-time Olympian judoka
- Juan Moreno, three-time Olympian and a two-time Olympic silver medalist in taekwondo
- Herb Perez won gold in taekwondo in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

This is a just a few of the amazing people that I am excited to learn from. You can see the full list of speakers and trainers I will be working with at this website: http://masupershow.com/speakers.html

It’s also a trade show for martial arts school owners so I will be looking at potential improvements and ideas for all aspects of the operations at Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy. I am fully dedicated to providing the best experience and the best training for you and your family.

Master Boon Brown


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