Chuck Thumbnail


My Karate Instructors; My Friends

A respectful bow to a couple of the very best

Behind every good martial artist, there’s a great instructor. I was blessed with two.

Bill and Janet Ring didn’t just teach me karate; they made me a close member of their family. I remember walking into their Ring’s School of Martial Arts, in suburban Madison, Wisconsin, and knowing in an instant that it was the place for me.

Their son Noah and daughter Katie were there, little kids then, but already well-trained, well-disciplined and oozing confidence and respect. In fact, it seemed like a flock of youngsters was always at the school. Janet, or “Ma’am,” as we addressed her, later won a “Crystal Apple” teacher award from a local TV station, the only winner who wasn’t an official school-district pro.

There were also adults, of course: tough ones soon to be polished, meek ones soon to become experts, bad ones soon to be tamed. All became like family too if they kept at it.

In my case, it led to a black belt, two state championships, lots of other tournament trophies and lots of broken bricks and boards. I also became a staff instructor for six years, including the summer that Ring’s Martial Arts was picked to train the Wisconsin Badgers football team.

The big payoff: just knowing “Sir” and “Ma’am” Ring. They stay in your heart forever.

Website By Chuck Nowlen