Steven got his first taste of martial arts in 1978 as a youngster growing up in Japan. He continued his interest into his teens where he was introduced to Western Boxing, Japanese “hard-style” Karate (Kyokushinkai) and Nihon Jujutsu.
He came to California in 1990 and began training first in American Kenpo Karate under Professor Jim "Yosh" Furuya (in 1991); and Chinese Kempo Karate (Hawaiian Kenpo) under Professor Sam Estrada (also in 1991), his teacher of 24 years.
The Kempo training under Professor Sam was focused on body conditioning and developing self-defense skills based on the Hawaiian - Chinese pugilistic traditions, which was similar in mindset to his early training in "hard style" Karate.
His interest in martial arts eventually drew him to Bruce Lee's writings and philosophy and in 1994 got his first exposure to training in a system called Modified Gung Fu Concepts, an offshoot of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do and Modified Wing Chun principles under Sifu Mike Lo. While this training lasted for less than 18 months, it stuck with him and in 1999 he sought out more training in Jeet Kune Do under an instructor of Sifu Paul Vunak (Paul Vunak later became Steven's instructor). Some years later Steven began training in old-school Jeet Kune Do as a personal student of Sifu Tim Tackett and Sifu Jeremy Lynch of the Jeet Kune Do Wednesday Night Group.
In June of 2014, Steven was awarded a full instructor ranking in Chinatown Jeet Kune Do by Sifu Jeremy Lynch. Later that same year, in October of 2014, he received a Full Instructor certificate in Jeet Kune Do and JKD Jun Fan Martial Arts by Sifu Tim Tackett and the Jeet Kune Do Wednesday Night Group.
On the encouragement of his teachers he has continued to explore other arts including: Okinawan Karate (Shorin Ryu), Chinese Boxing, Muay Thai, Aikido and Weaponry (Japanese, Okinawan and Filipino); and has black belt or instructor level ranking in: Kyokushinkai Karate, JKD Concepts, Japanese Jujutsu and Japanese stick fighting (Jodo).
He continues to train in Jeet Kune Do under the direction of Sifu Tackett and Sifu Lynch. And actively trains in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, Wing Chun and Kenpo Karate (American Kenpo and Chinese Kempo).
He has been featured in numerous martial arts instructional DVDs and Magazines, including: Black Belt Magazine, Combat International Magazine, Martial Arts Illustrated, Budo International Magazine.
You can learn more about Steven and his primary teachers here.
"We choose not to blindly follow in the footsteps of the old masters, but rather seek what they sought..."
Chinese Kempo Karate - Black Belt - Chief Instructor (Kwai Sun Academy / Professor Sam Estrada)
Jeet Kune Do - Full Instructor (JKD Wednesday Night Group & Chinatown JKD Association)
JKD Jun Fan Martial Arts - Full Instructor (Sifu Tim Tackett)
Jeet Kune Do Concepts - Associate Instructor (Hawaii Wu Shu Institute)
Kyokushinkai Karate - Black Belt 1st Degree
Jodo (Japanese stickfighting) - Shodan
Nihon Jujutsu (Japanese jujutsu) - Shodan
American Kenpo Karate - Brown Belt (MAX Dojo - IKKA)