YONDAN (4th Degree Black Belt)
Martial arts background of Sensei Brad Skeels
I started training in 1969, under Soke (Master) Tak Kubota (9 th Dan, founder Gosoku Ryu karate do, International Karate Association), Shihan Ben Otake, Sensei Tony Tullners (credited as being the only competitor that Chuck Norris could not beat), and Shihan John Gelson.
Originally my introduction to Karate came from a man named Ernie Cotrell, who ran a dojo out of a health club. He considered all karate guys wimps, so he trained in street clothes and motorcycle boots. His theory was that if you needed to defend yourself you should work out in the same type of clothing and conditions. He knew of Ed Parker (Father of American Kenpo Karate) and Tony Tullners (1960’s fighting Champion) but didn’t much care for them. He trained us very hard and there was a lot of contact. He didn’t believe much in kata, all he wanted to do was teach people how to be effective street fighters. I trained there for about 6 months.
The School of Hard Knocks:
I then found Sensei Tony Tullners’ IKA Pasadena dojo and started training with him. I have been affiliated with his dojo ever since. During the time I trained there I found that I was a much better instructor than I was tournament fighter. I kept learning through Tony’s teaching and going to the old Hollywood dojo under Master Tak Kabota and training with the guys there. I guess my training was good enough to keep up with all of the higher dan ranks so I was allowed to keep on training with all of the big boys (an all-star stable of tournament competitors), I think they liked beating me up, which was ok with me because I kept learning and became a stronger and better karate-ka.
I taught for many years at the Pasadena IKA dojo which is currently run by Shihan Tom Serrano. I went to all of the IKA tournaments and became very proficient at judging, I believe in keeping the level of ability at a very high standard and I feel that karate, if taught well can have a positive impact on one’s life. My interest has always been in the quality of the dojo as opposed to quantity of students in a dojo. I have known Sensei Ty Aponte since the early eighties and have always had a high regard for him and his dojo.
I live and work in Apple Valley. Coincidentally, my eight-year-old nephew, Kris, is taking karate with the USKL, and I’m very happy and honored to be a part of the USKL teaching staff.
Sensei Brad is a 4 th dan USKL Black Belt and occasionally teaches kumite (sparring) for the Saturday advanced class; we are the honored ones.