What follows is a list of black belts who are or were members of the United States Taido Association between 1984 and 2007. While I have some knowledge of affairs outside this time frame, I feel it best not to comment on those I don’t know personally. This list is not up-to-date.
The names under each dan-level heading are alphabetized by first name. Where possible, I have included the years of starting Taido and each promotion from shodan in parentheses.
I’ve included it primarily as a reminder to current US Taido students that, whatever stories you may have heard, US Taido was built by a lot of very dedicated teachers who, for various reasons, are no longer around.
Some of them built the floor you train on, but you’ve probably never heard their names.
- Andy Fossett [Japan] (84/92/96/00/02/09)
- Mitsuaki Uchida, honbu dojo head instructor (80/94/96/98/00/05)
- Tom DeVenny [Florida] Fort Lauderdale dojo head instructor (85/91/na/96/98/05)
[5dan total 2]
- Brendan Dumont, honbu dojo instructor (?/98/00/02/05)
- Buddy Fossett (84/91/94/96/00)
- John Clerici (84/94/96/98/00)
- John Okochi (?/85/?/?/94)
- Masayuki Hiyoshi [Japan] (92/93/?/?/96)
- Mike Cowan (86/94/96/99/00)
- Robert Pope Jr. (85/91/94/96/00)
- Tatsuyuki Negishi [Japan] Yokohama Taido president (87/?/?/90/94)
- Tony Antinazi (?/?/?/?/94)
- Yosuke Inoko
- Yutaka Yamauchi
[4dan total 12]
- Bryan Sparks, Georgia Tech Taido head instructor (85/93/99/04)
- Clinton Hammond (94/00/02/07)
- David Magnuson (?/98/02/05)
- Gerardo Diaz-granados (?/94/96/00)
- Jerry Johnson, Uchida Sensei’s first student (75/?/?/00)
- John Roberts
- Tom Lapenna (93/00/02/07)
[3dan total 7]
- Amy Davis
- Ben Isokawa (?/00/02)
- Carlos Martinez (84/91/94)
- Chad Gilmartin (90/00/02)
- Corey Myers (?/02/05)
- Daniel Morris (?/02/05)
- Elizabeth Hammond (91/00/02)
- Gary Averil (?/91/94)
- Heather Gilmartin (90/00/02)
- James Tonguet (95/00/02)
- Jim Garrard
- Katie Ingraham (92/00/02)
- Lou Smith (?/94/96)
- Mahendra Srivastava (?/05/07)
- Mike Goodroe (?/02/05/07)
- Minna Ekholm [Finland]
- Mio Sano Garrard
- Musashi Uchida (?/02/05)
- Norman Bash
- Rodney Mahaffey
- Roger Grant (90/02/05)
- Romik Srivastava (?/05/07)
- Sara Burden (?/94/96)
- Sue Gilmartin (91/00/02)
- Ted Harris (85/91/94)
- Tyler Hiedegger (?/02/05)
[2dan total 26]
- Abhinav Bardwaj (?/07)
- Alon Hod (?/05)
- Amber Pesantes(00/05)
- Amir Alighambari (85/99)
- Andrea Gertz [Germany] (02/06)
- Angela Stadnick (?/05)
- Arnold Rubin (?/07)
- Assaf Hod (?/06)
- Bolot Kerimbaev (00/06)
- Brad Averil (?/92)
- Brandon Lueder (00/06)
- Brenda Morales (?/06)
- Brian Hinckley (99/05)
- Camron Wiltshire
- Carlos Martinez Jr. (84/92)
- Carter Brunell (?/03)
- Cheryl Ervin (?/07)
- Chris Healy (90/00)
- Danielle Tonguet (97/05)
- Darrel Salton (?/05)
- David Issa (?/97)
- Douglas Lapoint (?/94)
- Ed Galloway
- Eddy Perez (84/92)
- Gabriel Tonguet (95/05)
- Guy Perry (?/94)
- Irene Bietsch (?/02)
- Jared Isenstein (?/06)
- Jeff Lapenna (93/00)
- Jim Ware Sr. (?/07)
- Jim Montgomery (00/06)
- John Hinckley (00/05)
- John Edgar Boyes (00/06)
- Jonathan Odom (?/83)
- Jeff Hill (?/95)
- Jordan Battel (?/06)
- Keith Benator (90/00)
- Keith Chung
- Kenji Otakawa (?/04)
- Larry Lyles
- Laura Bardey Sparks (99/06)
- Lex Williams (?/94)
- Marty Cason
- Mary Gezo (00/04)
- Mary Lou Delucia
- Masayuki Nanamori (?/02)
- Michael Issa (?/97)
- Michelle Razmov (?/02)
- MichaelGoodroe (?/05)
- Mike Uchida (?/00)
- Nathan Goodroe (?/06)
- Nick Miller (?/06)
- Paul Marshall (?/07)
- Russel Bietsch (?/02)
- Rahul Ghosh (?/06)
- Rohan Lall (?/06)
- Ryan Benator (89/00)
- Sam Hoover (?/05)
- Sayuj Srivastava (?/06)
- Seiji Uchida (?/00)
- Shelley Matthews (99/06)
- Steve Sykes
- Taferra Muche (?/00)
- Terry White
- Travis Wiggins (?/95)
- Tre Neese
- Trini Beaty (?/05)
- Turner Abels (?/06)
- Vance Fite (?/02)
- Vance Fite Jr. (?/02)
- Varada Divigi (90/00)
- Veenal Mulji (?/06)
- Vic Armendiaz
- Vic Gonzales
- Vineet Diwadkar (90/00)
- Yakov Korenfeld
[1dan total 76]
[all levels total 124]
Note: A whole mess of people have been promoted to black belt since 2007 who are not on this list.
Someone recently called my attention to this video of a short Taido demonstration in honor of Russell Bietsch
In his introduction, Brendan makes two interesting statements:
- That in 35 years, US Taido has had up to 25,000 members.
- That only 60 of those reached black belt.
Both are inaccurate.
In the case of the first statement, the dojo would have to register at least two new students every single day of business for 35 years (assuming two weeks off a year and 6 business days each week) to get 25,000 students.
As for the second statement, the record above clearly shows that at least twice that number had been awarded black belts by 2007. The total is likely over 200 by now.
Head instructor – Bryan Sparks – 3dan
- Laura Sparks – shodan
- Shelley Matthews – shodan
- Bolot Kerimbaev – shodan
URL – defunct
Phone – nope
Schedule – Course info page @ GT Campus Recreation Center
- Andy Fossett begins practicing Taido.
- Bryan Sparks begins practicing Taido.
- Andy tests for black belt.
- Bryan tests for black belt.
- US Taido sends its fourth team to Japan for the first world championships, including its first children’s team. The delegation includes Andy and Bryan as the two youngest competitors in the adult division. They make many Taido friends from various countries.
- Andy and Bryan begin experimenting with new Techniques and practice methods outside of the honbu dojo on a weekly basis. None of their training partners from that period will ever look at stairs the same way again.
- US Taido hosts the Sun Data international Taido championship. Andy tests for 2dan. Andy decides that his Japanese is not nearly good enough.
- Andy and Bryan found the Georgia Tech Taido club, and not much else happens. Their first student is Jacob Langseth, and some others come and go as well. It is during these first few months that the traditions and conventions of the club originally come to be.
- Andy takes his first solo trip to Japan, living and practicing in Yokohama with Negishi Sensei, in Hirosaki with Sekiba Sensei, and in Fuji with Akiyama Sensei, where he picks tea and meets a few girls.
- Tech Taido finally makes it to US Taido’s annual summer camp. Five students attend, including the now-legendary Kirk, a mysterious figure of whom many have heard, but few have actually seen.
- Andy returns to Japan for three months. Again, he visits Negishi, Akiyama, and Sekiba.
- Bryan tests for 2dan at summer camp.
- The beginning of Andy’s “dark period.”
- Laura Bardey and Shelley Matthews enter the club at Tech.
- Bolot Kerimbaev joins Tech Taido.
- Bryan graduates from Tech and moves to Colorado Springs for work. He buys a house and a kegerator.
- Chris Healy transfers to Tech and helps Andy hold things together in Bryan’s absence.
- US Taido 25th anniversary celebration. Andy tests for 3dan.
- Bryan makes his return debut at summer camp to the surprise of the entire club. There is much rejoicing, and Guinness flows.
- Andy and Bryan make a week-long visit to Ft. Lauderdale to help out at Tom DeVenny’s dojo and demonstrate advanced techniques.
- It’s about this time that Andy emerges from his three-year funk.
- US Taido championship. Tech students perform well, but alas do not win any events. Andy is awarded 4dan.
- US Taido summer camp. Chad Gilmartin tests for 2dan. Andy belatedly demonstrates for 4dan.
- Andy moves to Japan to teach English. He begins practicing regularly with Negishi in Yokohama.
- Chad enters the Tech club as a freshman.
- Andy visits from Japan and attends classes at Tech and the honbu dojo.
- The Georgia Tech Taido Wiki makes its cyber-debut.
- Chris visits Negishi and Andy in Japan. They have a good time and learn the hard way that Samsonite doesn’t necessarily resist vomit stains.
- US Taido summer camp. Bryan tests for 3dan.
- Corey Myers and Mary Gezo enter the club as freshmen.
- Mary tests for black belt.
- The Georgia Tech Taido Wiki causes its first controversy and is subsequently limited to password access only.
- Corey tests for 2dan.
- US Taido 30th anniversary celebration and tournament. Andy visits from Japan along with about 75 Japanese Taido students and instructors, including Negishi, Akiyama, and Sekiba. 100% of the competitors from Georgia Tech place in at least one event with several gold and silver medals.
- Georgia Tech Taido finally gets a new public web page. The internal site is updated as well.
- Taido/Blog is quietly established.
- Chris returns to Atlanta to finish his Master of Science at Georgia Tech. He then moves to California and buys a Ducati.
- Bolot, Laura, and Shelley test for black belt.
- Andy visits for US Taido summer camp.
- Andy finishes his contract in Japan and returns stateside.
- Taido performs a demonstration for Japan Fest at Stone Mountain Park.
- The GT Taido Wiki vanishes into the void.
- Bryan and Laura are married.
- The Georgia Tech Taido club celebrates its 10th anniversary.
- Andy visits Holland to compete in the World Taido International Friendship Games.
- Andy moves back to Japan and begins training in Osaka.