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Biography of Sinpa Travis Heimbecker

My martial arts career started the way most things in my life did, as a way to garner acceptance from people that were close to me. As a senior in high school, I spent the first year of my life without my older brother around. Growing up, we were just like any siblings and we had our share of rivalries, but I missed him. He was away at college and when I would speak to him, he would tell me how much fun he was having in a Judo class that he had signed up for. When he would come home, he would spend hours in the back yard showing me some of the things that he had learned. I fell instantly in love with the principles and philosophies that he shared with me.

The following year, it was my turn to venture out and begin to make my own way in life and Judo became a very big part of it. I took my first class in August of 1998 and have not looked back since. I studied under Sensei Jim Kung Loa Nance, a third degree black belt in Judo and Sensei Frank Tenajero, also a third degree black belt. While under their care, I learned many of the basic martial arts principles, such as focus, pride, determination, and respect. The skills in balance breaking, proper falling techniques, grappling, and balance have continued to follow me and be prevalent throughout my martial arts studies.

I studied with them for a year and by the end of my time there, I was awarded my high green belt in Judo. I was discouraged to find out that the school was closing down and I was forced to move back to El Paso, Texas due to financial difficulties and had to discontinue my studies for what I thought would be a short time. It would be almost seven years before I would enter into another training program.

When I finally did, it was Kajukenbo that stole my time. This is a hybrid form that combines karate, judo, ju jistu, kenpo, kung fu, and kick boxing. I studied under Sifu Brian Walker, a third degree black belt, and Sifu Linda Walker, also a third degree black belt. This was the first time that I was introduced to be basic strikes and blocks and basic weapon techniques. It was a little strange at first, but soon I could not see myself spending my time anywhere else. The judo influence helped me to excel at this new form and after two years, I found myself the proud holder of a new purple belt. This was the first time that I had considered the fact that I could one hold a black belt, but alas it was not to be. A cruel twist of fate had Sifu Brian stationed in Korea for a year and Sifu Linda moved back to Arizona to be with her family. We only had one other senior belt in the school at that time and he was 16 years of age and not old enough to continue the school without them, so we were force to close the doors in 2006.

By this time I had grown discouraged and did not think that I would enter into another school. I had already found and fallen in love with two of them, simply to have them close when my interest was at its highest level. I found other things to occupy my time, worked several jobs at once, met a great girl, and started to raise a family. I thought that my life was good. But it was not complete. Something was missing and it would take me five years to discover what that something was.

Through my employment, I had the pleasure of meeting Gerard (Jerry) Weis. He was a guard during our remodeling project at my office. I would speak to him regularly and found his outlook on life to be interesting. It came up in conversation one day that he was the owner of Complete Martial Arts, a shotokan karate school in Alamogordo, NM. I went down to check it out and see what shotokan was all about. It did not take me long to dawn my belt and gi again. During my absence from martial arts, I underwent knee surgery and ballooned up to my heaviest weight ever, 435 lbs. Needless to say I was not in the best shape when I walked in. I did not know if I would physically be able to handle the stresses and strains of martial arts again, but they really took me under their wing. Through the expert instruction from Sensie Jerry Weis, a fifth degree black belt in Loa Ki Loas Kung Fu and a forth degree black belt in shotokan karate, Sensei Christopher Weis, a third degree black belt in shotokan karate, Sensei Joseph Weis, also a third degree black belt in shotokan karate, Nidan John Weis, and second degree black belt in shotokan, and Sinpas Donald West and Alisa Dambacher, both high purple belts and members of the instructor's program, I have began to blossom into the martial artist that I pictured I could be all those years ago. I currently hold a high orange belt in shotokan karate and have recently been accepted into the instructor's program. I am also a member of the United States Karate Alliance. Under the instruction from these wonderful people, I have regain my determination and love for martial arts, and I find myself striving everyday to be the best student, and hopefully one day, the best black belt that I can possibly be.

Sinpa Travis Heimbecker, 6th Kyu High Green Belt, Shotokan Karate