This is Sensei Timothy R. Loomis’ Golden Anniversary
October 2017 is a very special month for me. I started my first martial art class 50 years ago in 1967 in the month of October. I asked my mom to enroll me in an after-school “Junior Judo” program through the South Euclid/Lyndhurst recreation department. I absolutely loved the class and knew I’d be doing this the rest of my life. After the 8-week program ended I transferred to the Mayfield Academy of Minna Jiu-Jitsu located in Mayfield Heights, Ohio under my first teacher Grand Master Frank F. Kovacs.
I rose through the ranks and at the age of 12 tested for my Junior Division Black Belt. In those days, normally one had to wait until they were 16 years of age to test for Black Belt. Grand Master Kovacs created the Junior Division specifically for me and a few others in the class my age and ready for Black Belt. I’m the only one of that group who stayed with the training.
Grand Master Kovacs took a particular liking to me and started grooming me to be one of his future instructors. At 14, he asked if I’d like to teach my own small semi-private class of kids. I was very excited and said yes. The class was conducted alongside an adult class, and the kids were the kids of some of the adult students. Grand Master watched carefully giving me advice and feedback about how I handled the class and about teaching. This tutoring is still an important part of my program at The Silent Mind in Twinsburg Ohio. My Instructor Training program today is founded in that one-on-one I was lucky enough to have with Grand Master Kovacs.
When I was 16, Grand Master Kovacs tested me for my senior division rank. To my great surprise, he and the testing committee promoted me to senior division 2nd Degree Black Belt. That was the first time in the history of our system someone skipped a Black Belt rank. I was great honor. By this time, I was already part of the school’s teaching staff as I was Assistant Instructor teaching the main kids program. When I turned 18, Grand Master Kovacs promoted me to 3rd Dan Black Belt and made me a full Instructor taking over my own men’s adult class.
I taught alongside Grand Master Kovacs and the few other instructors at the Mayfield Academy for over 27 years. During this time, I served in the Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Federation in various capacities as Treasurer, Vice President, and President. The memories of my experiences “on the mat” at the Mayfield Academy are truly special and treasured. Many of the people I met through those years remain today my best friends. Some of them are on my mat today!
That comradery and outstanding training compelled me want my own school bringing martial arts to a new generation of my own students. So, in 1992 I founded Your Best Defense, my first martial art business venture. My first studio was located in Bedford Heights. What a learning experience! You see, I knew how to teach martial arts – I had no idea how to build a new business from scratch. The studio closed in 3 years. Undaunted, I decided to teach classes at recreation centers in the evenings and weekends. I also travelled extensively around NE Ohio teaching at schools, businesses, and frankly anywhere that would have me. I eventually established recreation classes in Twinsburg, Nordonia, Hudson, Aurora, and Solon. I even had some classes where I began at South Euclid/Lyndhurst rec. I taught this way for almost 15 years while I continued full time work as an engineer and manager in automation and IT.
In 2001, due to downsizing, I decided to go fulltime in the martial art world. Having gained valuable experience in the business, and having connected with so many potential students in the recreation programs I renovated the basement in my home and began running a few classes out of my home. That’s when I met Sifu Bill and Sensei Joe. The “school” did well and we needed to move to permanent space. In 2004, I rented our current space on Twinsburg Town Square and founded The Silent Mind. That brings us current. We’re celebrating our 14th year in business as The Silent Mind in January 2018.
Martial arts has given me so much over these 50 years. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without martial arts in it. Martial arts made me fearless and excited to tackle new challenges and opportunities. It gave me the confidence not only to attain 8 Black Belts, but to also get my college degree and found my own business. It’s gifted me outstanding health and vitality and, hopefully long life. It’s my plan to be training and teaching until I take my last breath on this Earth.