John Powell, III (Martial Arts Bio History)
“The below is my estimation of my martial arts experience. As the time has passed, some of my precise recollection has faded, so this is as correct as I can recall and rebuild from promotion certificates.”
(By the way the lovely shiner in this photo is from Mr. Powell continuing his own training in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, courtesy of Sensei Everson)
John was born in 1968 in Houston, Texas. He has enjoyed a long career as a martial artist, Tomiki aikido being his most recent. He began Tomiki-ryu aikido in Winter 2000 with Sensei/Shihan Raymond Williams, a 7th degree in League City, TX as physical therapy after transacting a catastrophic illness (meningitis) in the Spring of 1999. The disease caused him the loss of 60 lbs in muscle mass, stroke-type symptoms, and rendered him legally blind. Despite this obstacle, Mr. Powell has continued to pursue martial arts and become an extremely effective instructor. He started his partnership with Elements BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) in May, 2010 providing aikido & judo instruction under the club name of Wasabi Dojo.
Mr. Powell began his martial-arts training in Hombu-style Aikido instruction at age 8 with Sensei Paul Chang, a then 2nd degree black belt in Sedalia, MO. He had 2 years experience, but no rank progression due to age requirements. He’s enjoyed various karate instructors start/stop, open/close in Sedalia during high school, with standard colored belt rank progression.
In the fall of 1985, Mr. Powell began training in Taekwondo through the American Taekwondo Association (ATA)in Rolla, MO with then 2nd-degree black belt instructor, Mark Prosser, who has since progressed to 7th-degree. John was awarded 1st Degree black belt in 1989. In Spring of 1992, forced to change associations because of a return to Houston to the World Taekwondo Federation, he earned his 2nd Degree, followed by 3rd degree in Spring of 1996 from Mr. Richard Warzynski (5D) in Tulsa, OK, Finally, Mr. Powell earned his 4th Degree in Summer 2007.
In 1990, with friend (and fellow bar bouncer) Zane Davidson, John began Muay Thai training with Master Tong Trithara in Springfield, MO. By Summer 1992, he had earned Muay Thai instructor acknowledgment.
In Fall 1992, John began Hapkido training at Iron Dragon Self-defense with Mikhail Kuns (2D at time), in Seabrook, TX (Master Kuns has since relocated to Middletown, NY with his lovely wife, and fellow Hapkido practitioner, Amy). In Spring 1994 he earned his 1st Degree, in Spring 1995 his 2nd and in Spring 1998 is 3rd Degree in Hapkido.
Fall 1995, John’s first year of law school at University of Tulsa College of Law, marked the beginning of John’s Judo training with fellow law student, Frank Yoon (4D), son of Master Pius Yoon of Yoon’s Judo & Taekwondo in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In July 2008, John earned his 1st-degree black belt, or Shodan, in judo, awarded by Senseis Jim Haynes (7D), Carla Martin (4D), and Raymond Williams (3D).
As we mentioned earlier, Mr. Powell’s Tomiki-ryu Aikido began in Winter 2000 with Sensei/Shihan Raymond Williams (7D) in League City, TX as physical therapy. “LOVED it,” he says. By April 2002 he earned his Shodan in Tomiki Aikido, and returned to USJA Judo with Sensei Williams because Tomiki Aikido and Kodokan Judo intertwined. In December 2002 Mr. Powell was awarded Nidan in Tomiki Aikido, Sandan in March 2005, Yondan in June 2007, Godan in June 2010, and Rokudan in June 2012.