John Spinks, Hachidan
Present Rank: Kudan, 9th Degree Black Belt in American Tai Shin Doh under Grand Master Ron Balas
I began my studies in the martial arts in Judo, when I was in high school after being involved in the school’s wrestling and gymnastics after school programs 1963. I continued my martial arts studies when I was in the U.S. Air Force from under several different instructors, only one of whom stands out now in my mind, Master Powell in Tucson, Arizona. I studied under him off and on from 1967 until 1970 when I was discharged from the Air Force. I also studied or worked out with different styles of the martial arts while I was stationed overseas in the Orient. During my two tours I was stationed mostly in Vietnam at Ben Hia Air Force Base during my trips in country. I spent as much time as I could get to learn the martial arts on base with the Vietnamese instructors. I did enjoy studying under the few teachers I could find while I was traveling for the Air Force. During the four years that I was traveling in and out of the Orient I did study and learn many of the customs and traditions of the Orient. I studied Buddhist and Hinduism from the information I could get at the time.
During the time I was in country I would visit and communicate with to local people of Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, and Japan on cultural situations and history. Their philosophies about live and how we are here to live together and respected each other was quit impressive but not followed by the new generations.
I lived in Vietnam for over 300 days during the two tours with the 100th Strategic Air Command with fly the U-2 and SR-71 to recon the country.
I really got seriously involved about the martial arts in 1974 under Sensei Helen Paridise who was one of Grandmaster Ron Balas’s students from Cleveland Ohio. She was teaching Tai Shin Doh as a self-defense class in St. Petersburg, Florida, at St. Petersburg Junior College in January, 1974. I started to take classes from Sensei Paridise several days a week both on the Junior College campus and on Saturdays at the Fossil Park Facility in St. Petersburg. I became her Uke and assistant for teaching and doing Demo’s from the time I reached San-Kyu. In June of 1976, I was introduced to Master Ron Balas who was invited to evaluate the class of Sensei Paridise in St. Petersburg, Florida. Master Balas interviewed me after my test and asked me if I thought I could teach the classes when Sensei Paridise moved to California that summer.
I was surprised and honored to be selected to fill her position. I interviewed with Dr Ed Long Director of Continuing Education Course at the St. Petersburg Junior College. I asked if I would be allowed to take over her classes when she left and it was approved when I received my Teacher certificate from the State of Florida that year. I had to apply for a teacher’s certificate from the State of Florida to teach classes at a college in Personal Physical Fitness Instructor. I received my certification from the State of Florida in June of 1976 just in time to start teaching classes in the spring term.
Course title: Self Defense for Men and Women
Locations: St. Petersburg Junior College, Florida Fitness Center and Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg
Teaching under: Adult Education Programs, Continuing Education and Self Defense Awareness
Course description: This course is a combination of various self-defense techniques that assist individuals in defending themselves against both physical attacks and attacks by people with weapons. It combines techniques used in Judo, Jiu-jitsu, aikido and karate. We also teach many exercises to help build the balance and strength needed to perform the techniques that we teach. This is a non-contact sport to teach the martial arts in a SAFE learning environment under the State Education system of Florida.
Nature of audience: This course was designed to teach anyone, regardless of age, the art of self-defense. Physical abilities are no hindrance either because we have several styles to choose from to offset the limitations imposed by most disabilities.
Purpose or community needs served: Learning how to defend yourself as well as you can. I taught hundreds of students what to do to defend their self during an attack. I taught them how to overcome their fears and build self-confidence.
Other places classes are taught: Cleveland, Ohio: Tennessee; Clearwater, Florida; Safety Harbor, Florida; Seminole, Florida; and Madeira Beach, Florida (plus Largo, Florida, by teachers qualified by, Grandmaster John C. Spinks, Tai Shin Doh)
Other Styles involved in my back ground besides Tai Shin Doh:
- Sensei Bob Martin, Chito-Ryu style; his rank is Yan-Dan (his school is in Gulfport, FL)
- Sensei John Vinciguerra, Chito-Ryu style; his rank is San-Dan (he has replaced Sensei Martin)
- Nung Bedell, Yoshuki karate style; his rank is San-Dan (Seminole, Florida)
- Dr. Clifford Jones, Cuong Nhu Oriental martial arts style, under Master Ngo Dong (Tallahassee, Florida)
- Grandmaster Michael Kinney, Karate, Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, in St Petersburg, Florida
Taught at St. Petersburg Junior College adult education classes CE-554 (associated with the St. Petersburg Junior College for over 20 years teaching adult education and self defense courses until 1996)
Certified to evaluate other Martial Arts styles for the certification of college credits at the St Petersburg Junior College
During the same time I also taught at the Tyrone Heath Spa for 3 years as part of their fitness Program.
I am also qualified to teach personal Health Fitness Classes for the St Petersburg Junior College 1988 after completing their teaching Program for this new requirement at the Florida Colleges.
In 2001 I started to teach seniors ranking belts and other Black Belt Instructors in several other Martial Arts styles the “Arts of Street Defense and Awareness” at the Jewish Community Center in Madeira Beach, Florida, for 4 years
I have taught Street Defense to people with disabilities and senior with handicaps, during the 42 years of teaching and instruction.
I have taught and give demonstrations to schools, Heath Centers, Clubs and Martial Arts Schools all over the U.S.A. and Europe over the past 10 years.
Dates of rank elevation:
- Tested in Cleveland, Ohio, by Master Balas for Sho-Dan and Sensei, 12/18/76
- Tested in Cleveland, Ohio, by Master Balas for Ni-Dan, 5/25/78
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for San-Dan, 6/27/80
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for Yon-Dan, 7/23/82
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for Go-Dan, 11/21/84
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for Roku-Dan, 4/6/88
- Promoted by Master Balas and E.U.S.A.I.M.A.A.to Ha-Chi-Dan in Tai Shin Doh under Grand Master Ron Balas, 11/9/96
- Present Rank: 9th Degree by Grand Master Ronald Balas on 10/15/2009
I have been a member of several Martial Arts Associations over the years:
- American Martial Arts Association since September, 1975, under Sensei Paradise
- North American Black Belt Society since December 14, 1979, as Ni-Dan
- North American Black Belt Society on December 8,1980, as San-Dan
- North American Black Belt Society on December 31, 1984, as Sho-Dan
- American Martial Arts Association in Raleigh, NC, with Jan Wellendorf
- American Independent Karate Instructors Association since January 27, 1987, as Go-Dan
- Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association, Inc. since October 25, 1995
- Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association Florida Representative since 1995
- Inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1996, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
- Master Instructor of the Year 1997
- Pinnacle Award of Success 1998
- Silver Achievement of the Year 1998, WHFSC International Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida
- Master Award of the Year 1999
- Outstanding Contributor of the Year 1999
- Grand Master of the Millennium, 2000
Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association Florida Representative since 1995
Diamond Crystal Award of Spirit, 2001, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
International Pewter Award of Excellence, 2002, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
Achievement Award, WHFSC International Martial Arts Hall of Fame, 2002 Orlando Florida
Soke Dai Grand Master of the Year 2002, World Head of Family Sokeship Council International Hall of Fame
Pioneer Award at the 16th Annual 2003 Easter U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
The World of family Sokeship Council, an elite and prestigious worldwide Martial Arts Grandmaster organization, hereby honors and acknowledges your accomplishments in the Martial Arts with this award of the year 2004
Diamond Crystal Award of Knowledge, 2004, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
International Award of Leadership in the Martial Arts, 2005, 18th Annual Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
Outstanding Contribution to the Martial Arts, 2005, WHFSC International Hall of Fame in Orlando
Police Tactics Instructor, 9/ 23/ 2005, Gold Coast Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Davie, Florida
10 Year Honor Award, Executive Advisory Committee, 2006, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
Martial Arts Pioneer, 2007, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the College of Advanced Education and Martial Arts Studies in 2008 PhD recipient, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
Golden Anniversary Achievement, 10/15/2009, Eastern U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame
Veterans of Foreign Wars since 1974 Madeira Beach Florida, Post 4256, #3528043
American Legion since 2007 Madeira Beach Florida, Post 273, #00448
Total of 45 years in the Martial Arts Study
I have taught a number of my students to take over my classes in
Among these individuals are:
- Sho-Dan Gretta Webb in St. Petersburg, Florida, at St. Petersburg Junior
College and Fossil Park in 1976
- Go-Dan Shery Peterson in St. Petersburg and Clearwater campuses - since 1980 at St. Petersburg Junior College (now Mrs. Shery Spinks)
- Yan-Dan Jay Peterson at the St Petersburg and Clearwater campuses and the Tyrone Health Spa, since 1982
- Ni-Dan Charlie Yahn in St Petersburg, Florida, since 1988
- San-Dan Darrel Jackson in Clearwater, Florida, since 1990
- Yan-Dan Lisa Gannon Clearwater, Florida, since 1990
- Ni-Dan Mary Jenkins in Clearwater, Seminole, and Safety Harbor, Florida, since 1995
- San-Dan Dr. Clifford Jones in Madeira Beach, Florida, since 1996
- San-Dan Steven Muller at the Clearwater Campus of St Petersburg Junior College 1996