Sensei John Powell III's Martial Arts Biography
John was born in 1968 in Houston, Texas. He has enjoyed a long career as a martial artist, Tomiki aikido being his most recent. He began Tomiki-ryu aikido in Winter 2000 with Sensei/Shihan Raymond Williams, a 7th degree in League City, TX as physical therapy after transacting a catastrophic illness (meningitis) in the Spring of 1999. The disease caused him the loss of 60 lbs in muscle mass, stroke-type symptoms, and rendered him legally blind. Despite this obstacle, Mr. Powell has continued to pursue martial arts and become an extremely effective instructor. Wasabi Dojo operates in partnership with Rilion Gracie Ju-Jitsu Academy, under James Wadley in Pearland.
Mr. Powell began his martial-arts training in Hombu-style Aikido instruction at age 8 with Sensei Paul Chang, a then 2nd degree black belt in Sedalia, MO. He had 2 years’ experience, but no rank progression due to age requirements. He’s enjoyed various karate instructors start/stop, open/close in Sedalia during high school, with standard colored belt rank progression.
In the fall of 1985, Mr. Powell began training in Taekwondo through the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) in Rolla, MO with then 2nd-degree black belt instructor, Mark Prosser, who has since progressed to 7th-degree. John was awarded 1st Degree black belt in 1989. In Spring of 1992, forced to change associations because of a return to Houston to the World Taekwondo Federation, he earned his 2nd Degree, followed by 3rd degree in Spring of 1996 from Mr. Richard Warzynski (5D) in Tulsa, OK, Finally, Mr. Powell earned his 4th Degree in Summer 2007.
In 1990, with friend (and fellow bar bouncer) Zane Davidson, John began Muay Thai training with Master Tong Trithara in Springfield, MO. By Summer 1992, he had earned Muay Thai instructor acknowledgment.
In Fall 1992, John began Hapkido training at Iron Dragon Self-defense with Mikhail Kuns (2nd degree at the time), in Seabrook, TX (Master Kuns has since relocated to Middletown, NY with his lovely wife, and fellow Hapkido practitioner, Amy). In Spring 1994 he earned his 1st Degree, in Spring 1995 his 2nd and in Spring 1998 is 3rd Degree in Hapkido. He is now a 4th Degree in Hapkido.
Fall 1995, John’s first year of law school at University of Tulsa College of Law, marked the beginning of John’s Judo training with fellow law student, Frank Yoon (4th degree), son of Master Pius Yoon of Yoon’s Judo & Taekwondo in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In July 2008, John earned his 1st-degree black belt, or Shodan, in judo, awarded by Senseis Jim Haynes (7th degree), Carla Martin (4th degree), and Raymond Williams (3rd degree); then Judo Nidan in March 2013, awarded by Sensei Andrew Connelly (7th degree).
As we mentioned earlier, Mr. Powell’s Tomiki-ryu Aikido began in Winter 2000 with Sensei/Shihan Raymond Williams (7th degree) in League City, TX as physical therapy. “LOVED it,” he says. By April 2002 he earned his Shodan in Tomiki Aikido, and returned to USJA Judo with Sensei Williams because Tomiki Aikido and Kodokan Judo intertwined. In December 2002 Mr. Powell was awarded Nidan in Tomiki Aikido, Sandan in March 2005, Yondan in June 2007, Godan in June 2010, and Rokudan (6th degree) in June 2012.