Garner used Jukido to help him overcome a life of alcohol and partying.
Somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 students have trained under Sensei George Rego at Jukido Academy since 1999. Only 22 have reached black belt status, but brown belt Roland Garner and six others hope to increase that number next month.
Garner has already declared that if he is able to acquire the rare fear, he will get emotional. Jukido saved his life and has afforded him another that he is proud to live.
In his high school and post-high school years, Garner spent his days partying, playing video games and drinking.
“I know if I want to do something, I can do it because I can do this. I’m literally getting the crap kicked out of me almost every day, and I’m still going.”
“I woke up with a hangover most mornings,” Garner said. “I was going through rough stuff and was always angry.”
By age 30, he felt something needed to change. Having recently given up alcohol, Garner sat on his couch, watching “Ninja Assassin,” when he thought to himself “Maybe I should get into martial arts.”
Although he was living in Port Orange, he discovered Rego’s Jukido Academy and tried it out for one day. He hasn’t left since.
“I’m always looking forward to going there,” he said, “because the whole world changes when I get there. I can have a bad day, but, when I walk through that door, it all goes away.”
The academy has helped Garner give up smoking cigarettes despite being told he wouldn’t last a day. He was smoking outside
one day, when a class of young students walked out. There, he decided he didn’t want to be that kind of role model.
Garner is also one year away from graduating Daytona State College with his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
“I know if I want to do something, I can do it because I can do this,” he said. “I’m literally getting the crap kicked out of me almost every day, and I’m still going.”
Garner’s perseverance over the last five years now has him six tests and an essay away from becoming a black belt.
“It’s exciting, but sometimes I still feel like a white belt (new student),” he said. “I’ve been working really hard for this, and it’s not something you just get it, if you train here.”
After getting black belt, Garner hopes to one day run his own dojo. But right now, he knows he still has a lot to learn.
“When I see him (Rego) teaching and think about me teaching, I think, ‘Yeah, I’m not there yet,’” he laughed. “Teaching itself is a lot of pressure. As a student, you can make a lot of mistakes — not so much as a teacher.”
Jukido is located 4721 E. Moody Blvd. in Bunnell. Call 445-8754.