John Rodriguez, from student to master and teaching others

John Rodriguez practicing martial arts in Gold's Gym of Orangeburg on December 18, 2015. (Underdog Reports/A. Hall)

John Rodriguez practicing martial arts in Gold’s Gym of Orangeburg on December 18, 2015. (Underdog Reports/A. Hall)

John Rodriguez went from student to master and plans to teach martial arts and self defense in Orangeburg.

John Rodriguez was born and raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he stood out differently from everyone else because he was the only Hispanic in his class. John felt he was picked up on because he stood out, his being smaller than most than his peers, and he admits to having a big mouth. John has mastered martial arts and is now looking to help others.

John began martial arts at the age of three but generated more interest when he was in middle school. He wanted to learn how to defend himself and was tired of being picked on which ultimately led to him losing fights.

John was taking karate classes but lost faith in the art because when he was picked on he was unable to defend himself. When John met James Hobson, who became his Sifu (Chinese word for master), things would change.   The relationship would begin with James teaching John American Boxing. The relationship between the men would grow, as would John’s curiosity for different types of fighting techniques.

Six months after learning boxing, John watched James spar and for the first time, he seen him throw a kick. John asked James if he could teach him how to kick which led to John beginning to learn kickboxing.

John would branch off from kickboxing to kung fu. After taking Karate, Taekwondo, and boxing, John found what he enjoyed which was Chinese martial arts.

John would enter in tournaments such as Sifu Eskrima Tournament and Hung Gar Championship. He was winning kickboxing tournaments, and first place in expos and demonstrations on form. Despite winning black belt tournaments, John is not concerned with the different color of belts or ranks.

John said, “I used to be concerned and ask about the next belt, but James would put it in perspective for me; belts are used to hold your pants up.”

John at the age of 23, is general manager and co-owner of the family business, Gold’s Gym of Orangeburg. The business keeps John busy and has made him place martial arts on hold. Today, John is looking to get back to martial arts not as a student, but as a master. John believes it is important to become a master and teach kung fu because it will assist him with understanding the martial art.

John said, “ I proved myself in the ring which displayed my skill level, and now I want to demonstrate my understanding by teaching martial arts.”

John is currently focusing on one student. He wants to practice his ability to teach martial arts before expanding to more students.

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