Mark Hale

I think it is important to post my bio so people can gain some insight into the kind of martial artist that I
am, and where I am coming from. My involvement in the martial arts was first and foremost as a means
of self-defense. As a bi-racial child growing up in certain neighborhoods was not always pleasant.
Although I had seen martial arts in movies and on television, I quickly understood at an early age that
there was “Hollywood” fighting, and “real” fighting. This is important to note, because many martial
artists do not differentiate between the two. My experiences are that “pretty” or “intimidating”
techniques aren’t the ones that really work. The best techniques are simple, quick, and brutally effective
against an attacker.
Martial Arts Studies:
I was first introduced to the Martial Arts when my mom sent me to a free week of Karate using a coupon
she received from a coupon book. Though we could not afford to join the class I remember going over
and over the horse stances, punches and blocks I had learned during that week. I remember it being fun
and I was in awe of the older students doing their high flying kicks (I was young, what can I say). I do
remember walking home and having the “usual” group of bullies harass me. I remember one throwing a
punch and being amazed that I actually performed a crude outward block. Unfortunately, I thought it
was so cool that I did it that I forgot to keep focused and never saw the other punch coming. Needless to
say that although I got my butt kicked, I was quite proud of myself for executing that block.
During the next few years I was content to workout with other kids from school who would teach me
what they learned from their Martial Arts classes. Though there was no formal style I still consider it one
of the best learning experiences in my Martial Arts studies.
Fast forward a few years and I ran into a friend who informed me that an Ed Parker KENPO Karate
school had just opened in town. Though the price was barley what we could afford, I jumped right in and
began some serious formal Martial Arts training. As the years passed I began to understand that there is
always someone stronger than you. This led me on a quest for a Martial Art that could allow me to add
some “changeup” to my arsenal. The art I found was Hakko-ryu Ju-jitsu, an art developed by Soke
Okuyama who was an instructor of Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, which happens to be the “founding art” of
many styles, including Akido. The place I went to study Ju-Jitsu (Goshin Jutsu) was The Chicago heights
Ju-Jitsu Academy under Shihan Brian C. Smith. This was to be a very momentous move in my Martial
Arts studies. It was through this avenue that I would learn more than I ever thought possible. We joined
the organization Juko-Kai under Soke Rod Sacharnoski, which led me to my studies of Combat Ki and
Todie. It was during the 50th anniversary of Juko-Kai that I met a group of guys who studied Ninpo under
Grand Master Masaaki Hatsumi. So what did I do? I went and joined the IBDA under Shihan Richard
Van Donk so I could learn Grandmaster Hatsumi’s nine schools of Ninjitsu. I currently assist Shihan
Smith with instructing classes at the Chicago Heights Ju-Jitsu Academy. I also meet with students before
or outside of class to go over everything from MMA training to weapons.
Following is a list of studies and or certifications I have obtained:
6th degree Black Belt in Goshin jutsu

st degree Black Belt in Todie (Okinawa Combat Art)
Pa Kua Chang, Tai Chi Chaun and Shaolin Butterfly instructor
Shodan candidate in Sambo
Bujinkan practitioner
Kendo and Iaido practitioner
Recognized amateur fighter in MMA
Certificate in Woodland Stealth tactics, Handcuffing and subject control, Active Shooter and Tactical
Baton training
Medal of Honor Award from the American Police Hall of Fame
Recipient of multiple Dojo Bushido awards
Recipient the Dojo Senpai certificate
Combat Obi-Jutsu certification
Member of the International Bujinkan Dojo Association
Awarded Ninja weapons, Advanced level certification
Interviewed by Daryle Jemal Elmore on his blog talk show.