I was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, son of a Belgium father and South African mother, and moved to the United States when I was three years old, settling in Novato, California. Throughout my school years I was very involved in a variety of sports and outdoor activities such as soccer, baseball, running, and tennis, and was always interested in health and fitness.
I got my first taste of martial arts at age 12, when I attended Ito’s White Tiger karate school in Novato. I trained under Mr. Ito for three years and obtained my advanced purple belt. After leaving Ito’s White Tiger I took a year off to focus on various sports, until a flyer for Marin Kenpo Karate caught my eye and renewed my interest for the martial arts. I will never forget the first day I entered the school, as it was the day that Jef and Marjorie Dix gave birth to their daughter Kylen.
After initially starting in group classes I quickly progressed to individual instruction, first training under Sifu Richard LaFave, and eventually training under Sifu Jef Dix in 1992. Jef has remained my mentor and instructor ever since.
A couple of years after receiving my brown belt under Jef’s tutelage at Marin Kenpo Karate in November 1994, other priorities took focus away from my personal training with Jef for several years. I studied for and obtained a Fire Science degree, worked as an EMT for American Medical Response, and volunteered at Marinwood Fire Department in the hopes of one day achieving a career in the fire service. A couple of years later I obtained a full-time job at Marinwood Fire Department, got married to my wife Stephanie, and eventually landed my dream job as a firefighter for the San Francisco Fire Department in 2002. After my first child was born, my son Lucas, I started training again with renewed enthusiasm and drive in Combat Kenpo under Jef Dix, reaching first-degree black belt in 2005, second-degree black belt in 2009, and 3rd degree black belt in 2014. In addition, I have continued to remain active in other areas of health and fitness, including running, cycling, and weightlifting.
Having been a dedicated martial artist for nearly twenty years, I try to live my life, perform my service as a firefighter, and care for my family, which has now expanded to include my daughter Vanessa, with the principles I have learned from Jef Dix and Combat Kenpo. Applying the principles of Combat Kenpo into my own life – using them as a model for treating others and overcoming challenges in life – have made me a better father, husband, student, and friend.