My dad always had an interest in Martial Arts, He studied, Judo, Aikido, and found a great love for Kenpo in the mid 1970s at Close’s Kenpo Karate prior to him joining the Army. (At Close’s he was a classmate of a young Jef Dix.) He discontinued his training for many years until January 1991, when he saw a newspaper add from San Rafael Kenpo Karate advertising a “2 for 1” special. Realizing this was the Kenpo School he had originally trained in, he returned bringing my younger brother and me with him.
My first Lesson at San Rafael Kenpo was with Sifu John Sutherland. The spark began after my first lesson, knowing very well of Bruce Lee – and like many others I idolized him and wanted to be just like him. This was the start of my journey, and here I met my new influences- Sifu Jef Dix, Sifu Terry Neill, Sifu John Sutherland, Sifu Ken Chavez, and Sifu Robin Artegoni,
Shortly after I started lessons, Sifu and Marjorie Dix took over the school from Sifu Terry Neill moving it to Novato and changing the Name to Marin Kenpo Karate.
At Marin Kenpo Karate, I attended the kid’s classes taught by Sifu Dix, Marjorie Dix, and Sifu Ken Chavez, who was my first Private Instructor. Within a couple of years I graduated to the adult program and was able to attend the sparring class taught by Sifu Dix. This was my first Intro into adult Kickboxing & Grappling, and I have been hooked on sparring ever since.
I loved martial arts and trained at least 2-3 times a week consistently for 14 years. I was a Brown Belt, but the effort it took to learn and practice the Katas of traditional Kenpo Karate was making me loose interest. I just wanted to focus on kickboxing/sparring and fighting technique. Losing interest in Kata inhibited my ability to get my Black Belt. I was still happy but lacked direction and was very stressed by life. This was until I had an awakening to a new path.
In early 2005, Sifu Dix, saw my frustration with traditional Kenpo training, and suggested I make the change to Combat Kenpo. Sifu Dix had introduced me to Combat Kenpo philosophy and training several years prior, but it was hard for me to break the traditional mold. Once I did, Sifu Dix revitalized my training methods, dramatically improved/influenced my life at home and work, improved my fighting style, and most importantly was the one of the most important mentors in my life (other than the my biggest idol – my dad). Jef was not just an instructor for martial arts he was a role model, an upstanding citizen in the work place, and loving father and husband. Through rigorous training and lessons I was promoted to Shodan – 1st Degree Black Belt in December of 2005.
Kenpo by nature has always been a mixed martial art in many ways, but I wanted to learn more about my weakest link which was ground fighting, this is when I ventured to find Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Sifu Dix had introduced me to BJJ years earlier, and he encouraged me to find a real BJJ instructor/school.
In 2006, I met Mikyo Riggs Chief Instructor at his new Academy, Marin MMA, in San Anselmo. Since my first class there I was hooked on Mikyo and his crew.
In 2007, I was promoted to “Sifu” 2nd Degree Black Belt in Combat Kenpo. In June of 2012 I received my 3rd Degree, and in September of 2018 I received my 4th degree.
Martial arts have been, and always will be, a great influence on my life. I continue to train in Combat Kenpo and BJJ and will until I can no longer walk or breathe.
Milton is one of the most humble, respectful, and dangerous martial artist that I know. He has trained with me longer than any other of my students (besides my wife Marji), and has spent more time with me on the mat sparring and working the fighting principles of Combat Kenpo than anyone else. The following article is an example of one of Milton’s many accomplishments, and his humility. I say humility because I found out about this award from reading about it in the paper. I saw Milton every week during this time, and he never mentioned a word about this prestigious award.
San Rafael, CA, USA (May 8, 2003) – San Rafael resident Milton Davis, 23, has been named Entrepreneurship Student of the Year by the Ohrenschall Center for Entrepreneurship at San Francisco State University. Namesake Robert Orhrenschall will present the $500 award to Davis at a ceremony at 5:30 PM, Thursday, May 8 at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.
Davis is a graduating senior this May, and has earned a BS in Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management from San Francisco State. The award reflects his academic achievements as well as his exceptional working relations with fellow students and faculty.
“Milton is a fantastic example for our students,” said Connie Marie Gaglio, Ph.D., coordinator of the Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management program at the Ohrenschall Center for Entrepreneurship. “Behind his quiet demeanor is a very analytical person who is a persistent negotiator. He wants to make a real difference in the world and he works hard at it.”
“Receiving this award is the biggest thing that’s happened in my life,” said Davis. “There’s a lot of competition and there are a lot of good students in the program. It’s a high honor to receive the award.”
Davis’s final paper for his coursework in the Entrepreneurship Program was an analysis of two companies where he interned in the winter/spring of 2003, SPG Solar, Inc. (SPG), and his family’s company, Davis Signs, both based in San Rafael.
In his analysis of SPG, Northern California’s leading designer and installer of solar energy systems, Davis highlighted the attractiveness of the exploding solar market.
“It’s the attractiveness of alternative energies that made me interested in solar,” said Davis. “This is the right time to get in–growth projections are for a $50 billion alternative energy industry in ten years, including solar. SPG meets all the requirements. It’s an entrepreneurial startup, has less than 50 people working for it, and has experienced spectacular growth.”
“Milton showed perfect drive and is a good fit in a fast-moving small business,” said Dan Thompson, president of SPG. ” He adds a positive can-do spirit to every project he gets involved in.”
At SPG, Davis worked for many different departments. He helped set up sales contacts databases, researched current data for solar module price comparisons, created a site inspection checklist for SPG’s energy consultants, composed a sales letter circulated to homeowners, helped the company engineers with many proposals, and created signs and graphics.
Milton started working for Davis Signs as a boy, and has had a paid position since the age of 13. His parents acquired one of the original sign-making shops in Marin County 20 years ago. They modernized by adding sign-making machines that cut letters composed on a computer from vinyl, which is then applied to a sign board or building.
“Automation speeded up the sign-making process so we can concentrate on the final human element and give each sign custom attention at the end,” said Milton. “For profit maximization, automation has to be in there–not just the paintbrush or sculpting tool.”
Davis has worked in every position at the family business including operations, management and production, design and sign-making. His goal upon graduation is to work at Davis Signs, to improve efficiency and increase sales. But right now his goals are: “Objective One, graduate. Objective Two, put it to work,” said Davis.
Davis is a dedicated martial arts student who has studied at Marin Kenpo Karate for 11 years, and is an active paintball aficionado. He also loves to draw and paint.