Soke Dai John Spinks, Hachidan

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Present Rank: Hachi-Dan in American Tai Shin Doh under Grand Master Ron Balas

I began my studies in the martial arts in Judo, when I was in high school after being involved in the school’s wrestling program. I continued my martial arts studies when I was in the U.S. Air Force under several different instructors, only one of whom stands out now in my mind, Master Powell in Tucson, Arizona. I studied under him off and on from 1967 until 1970 when I was discharged from the Air Force. I also studied or worked out with different styles of the martial arts while I was stationed overseas in the Orient. I was stationed mostly in Vietnam at Ben Hia Air Force Base during my trips in country. I did not really have a lot of time to learn the martial arts, but I loved studying under the few teachers I could find.
I really got serious about the martial arts under Sensei Helen Paridise. She was teaching Tai Shin Doh as a self-defense class in St. Petersburg, Florida, at St. Petersburg Junior College in January, 1975. She was a student of, and teacher for, Master Ronald Balas from Cleveland, Ohio. I started to take classes from Sensei Paridise several days a week both at the Junior College and on Saturdays at the Fossil Park Facility in St. Petersburg. I became her Uke and assistant from the time I reached San-Kyu. In June of 1976, I was introduced to Master Ron Balas who was invited to evaluate the class of Sensei Paridise in St. Petersburg, Florida. Master Balas interviewed me after my test and asked me if I thought I could teach the classes when Sensei Paridise moved to California that summer.
I was surprised. I asked the St. Petersburg Junior College if I would be allowed to take over her classes. I had to apply for a teacher’s certificate from the State of Florida to teach classes at a college. I received my certification from the State of Florida in June of 1976 just in time to start teaching classes in the spring term.
Coarse title: Self Defense for Men and Women
Locations: St. Petersburg Junior College, Florida Fitness Center and Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg
Teaching under: Adult Education Programs, Continuing Education and Self Defense Awareness
Coarse description: This course is a combination of various self-defense techniques that assist individuals in defending themselves against both physical attacks and attacks by people with weapons. It combines techniques used in Judo, Jiu-jitsu, aikido and karate. We also teach many exercises to help build the balance and strength needed to perform the techniques that we teach. This is a non-contact sport to teach the martial arts in a SAFE learning environment.
Nature of audience: This course is designed to teach anyone, regardless of age, the art of self-defense. Physical abilities are no hindrance either because we have several styles to choose to offset the limitations imposed by most disabilities.
Purpose or community needs served: Learning how to defend yourself as well as you can. I taught hundreds of students what to do to defend themselves during an attack. I taught them how to overcome fear and build self-confidence.
Other places classes are taught: Cleveland, Ohio: Tennessee; Clearwater, Florida; Safety Harbor, Florida; Seminole, Florida; and Madeira Beach, Florida (plus Largo, Florida, by teachers qualified by , Grandmaster John C. Spinks, Tai Shin Doh)
Other Styles involved in my back ground besides Tai Shin Doh:
- Sensei Bob Martin, Chito-Ryu style; his rank is Yan-Dan (his school is in Gulfport, FL
- Sensei John Vinciguerra, Chito-Ryu style; his rank is San-Dan (he has replaced Sensei Martin)
- Nung Bedell, Yoshuki karate style; his rank is San-Dan (Seminole, Florida)
- Dr. Clifford Jones, Cuong Nhu Oriental martial arts style, under Master Ngo Dong (Tallahassee, Florida)
Taught at St. Petersburg Junior College adult education classes CE-554 (associated with the St. Petersburg Junior College for over 20 years teaching adult education and self defense courses until 1996)
Certified to evaluate other Martial Arts styles for the certification of college credits at the St Petersburg Junior College
Taught at the Tyrone Heath Spa for 3 years
Qualified to teach personal health fitness classes for the St Petersburg Junior College 1988
Taught seniors and other Black Belt Instructors the “Arts of Street Defense and Awareness” at the Jewish Community Center in Madeira Beach, Florida, for 4 years
I have taught Street Defense to people with disabilities and senior with handicaps, during the 42 years of teaching and instruction.
I have taught and give demonstrations to schools, Heath Centers, Clubs and Martial Arts Schools all over the U.S.A. and Europe over the past 10 years.

Dates of rank elevation:
- Tested in Cleveland, Ohio, by Master Balas for Sho-Dan and Sensei, 12/18/76
- Tested in Cleveland, Ohio, by Master Balas for Ni-Dan, 5/25/78
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for San-Dan, 6/27/80
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for Yon-Dan, 7/23/82
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for Go-Dan, 11/21/84
- Tested in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Master Balas for Roku-Dan, 4/6/88
- Evaluated and promoted by Master Balas and E.U.S.A.I.M.A.A., 11/9/96
- Present Rank: Ha-Chi-Dan in Tai Shin Doh under Grand Master Ron Balas
I have been a member of several Martial Arts Associations over the years:
- American Martial Arts Association since September, 1975, under Sensei Paradise
- North American Black Belt Society since December 14, 1979, as Ni-Dan
- North American Black Belt Society on December 8,1980, as San-Dan
- North American Black Belt Society on December 31, 1984, as Sho-Dan
- American Martial Arts Association in Raleigh, NC, with Jan Wellendorf
- American Independent Karate Instructors Association since January 27, 1987, as Go-Dan
- Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association, Inc. since October 25, 1995
Special honors:
- Inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1996
- Master Instructor of the Year 1997
- Pinnacle Award of Success 1998
- Silver Achievement of the Year 1998
- Master Award of the Year 1999
- Outstanding Contributor of the Year 1999
- Grand Master of the Millennium, 2000
Eastern U.S.A. International Martial Arts Association Florida Representative since 1995
Diamond Crystal Award of Spirit, 2001 in Pittsburgh
International Pewter Award of Excellence, 2002 Pittsburgh
WHFSC International Martial Arts Hall of Fame, 2002 Orlando Florida
World Head of Family Sokeship Council International Hall of Fame, Soke Dai Grand Master of the Year 2002
The 16th Annual 2003 U.S.A. International Black Belt Hall of Fame, Pioneer Award, 2003
The World of family Sokeship Council ,an elite and prestigious worldwide Martial Arts Grandmaster organization, hereby honors and acknowledges your accomplishments in the Martial Arts with this award of the year 2004
Diamond Crystal Award of Knowledge, 2004 Pittsburgh
Total of 42 years in the martial arts
I have taught a number of my students to take over my classes in other locations.
Among these individuals are:
- Gretta Webb in St. Petersburg, Florida, at St. Petersburg Junior College and Fossil Park in 1976
- Shery Peterson in St. Petersburg and Clearwater campuses - since 1980 at St. Petersburg Junior College (now Mrs. Shery Spinks)
- Jay Peterson at the St Petersburg and Clearwater campuses and the Tyrone Health Spa, since 1982
- Charlie Yahn in St Petersburg, Florida, since 1988
- Darrel Jackson in Clearwater, Florida, since 1990
- Lisa Gannon Clearwater, Florida, since 1990
- Mary Jenkins in Clearwater, Seminole, and Safety Harbor, Florida, since 1995
- Dr. Clifford Jones in Madeira Beach, Florida, since 1996