On September 16th, 1991, after earning his purple belt, Mr. Hopper became a certified instructor of Tracy's Kenpo Karate and began teaching kenpo at the National Headquarters and at Bill Lowry's studio in Georgetown, KY.
In 1992, Mr. Hopper became the manager of Tracy's International Studios of Self Defense World and National Headquarters in Lexington, KY.
In December of 1992, Mr. Hopper completed studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Kentucky.
On October 8th, 1993, nine years after beginning in the martial arts, and two years after taking up the study of kenpo, he earned his Shodan from Steve Finn. Registration #B-1198-146.
In August of 1994, Mr. Hopper married Kathryn Mercer.
In August of 1994, Mr. Hopper and his family moved to Shreveport, LA. Tracy's Kenpo Karate of Shreveport was opened October 3, 1994.
On December 30th, 1994, Mr. Hopper received his Nidan from Steve Finn. Registration #B-2168-75.
In June of 1997, Mr. Hopper and Jeff McMahen worked as actors and stuntmen in the Andy Sidaris movie, "Return to Savage Beach." Andy Sidaris also produced and directed "Seven," with Ed Parker.
On August 4, 1997, Mr. Hopper earned his Sandan from Steve Finn. Registration #B-3135-65.
In June of 1998, Mr. Hopper and Mr. Skee Hughes attended a knife and stick fighting seminar hosted by Guro Hock Hockheim of the World Congress of Knife Fighting.
In 2000, Mr. Hopper added the concept of short courses to his curriculum to allow students to take a separate, customized training program to supplement their kenpo training. He also attended an advanced training camp taught by Grandmaster Al Tracy, focusing on advanced applications of the kenpo self defense techniques.
During the year 2001, Mr. Hopper trained in the Tao T'an Pai system of qi gong learning various qi gong forms to supplement his kenpo training and to aid in his knowledge of internal martial arts. He also completed a 100 day training in the Tao T'an Pai Short Power Set. Mr. Hopper continues to study the internal martial arts daily and considers them to be a valuable part of his life, both on and off the mat.
Also in 2001, Mr. Hopper, working with members of the Louisiana State Office of Probation and Parole, developed a kenpo course designed to supplement PPCT Training.
In August of 2002, Mr. Hopper attended another of Al Tracy's advanced training camps. The camps main focus was the form Tam Tui (Springing Thigh Kata), jujitsu applications of the kenpo techniques, and photograph sequences for some of the advanced training manuals.
3, 2002, he attended his 4th Aikido workshop, hosted by Bill Ross of the
Golden Light Aikido Center of Shreveport. The seminar
was instructed by Lynn Fabia Sensei, and her son David. Ms. Fabia is the
founder of the Society of
Aikido Centers, based in Dallas, TX. She is the first and only
female chief instructor of an international Aikido organization.
In June of 2003, Mr. Hopper attended Roger Greene's 2nd Annual Warrior's Weekend at his ranch in Oklahoma. It was a privilege training with three gentlemen who live the title of Kyoshi/Master not just on the mat, but in their personal lives as well. Dr. Greene's Dynamic Punching seminars gave Mr. Hopper a theoretical base and some great new application drills that have been implemented into the training at Tracy's in Shreveport. The seminars also focused on jujitsu applications of kenpo techniques, some integration of animal and element theory using Terry Bryan's 18 Postures form, (9 animals and 9 elements) and a workout class taught by Dave Simmons using kenpo techniques, partner work, and an enormous "Bull in the Ring."
In September of 2003, Mr. Hopper attended a seminar taught by Grandmaster Al Tracy in Dallas, TX at the dojo of Dr. Nick Chamberlain. The event turned into an impromptu "Meeting of the Masters" due to the fact that several of Mr. Tracy's senior masters were present at the event. Kyoshi Roger Greene, 9th dan, Shihan Nick Chamberlain, 8th dan, Guy Crump, 7th dan, Jim Stewart, 5th dan, Gilbert Villereal, 5th dan, instructors Dave Hopper, 4th dan, Ricardo Castillo, 4th dan, Michael Megahan, 2nd dan, and Brandon Daniels, 1st dan were among the Tracy's Kenpo senior masters, masters, and black belts that were present at the event to support Al Tracy and to welcome Dr. Chamberlain and his studio into our brotherhood.
In March of 2005, Mr. Hopper traveled to Roseville, CA to attend the 2nd Annual Iron Dragon/Kosho Shorei seminar hosted by Ray Arquilla, Master #3 of Kosho Shorei Kenpo under James Mitose, Grandmaster of Iron Dragon Kosho Shorei Kenpo, and a 10th degree in Tracy's Kenpo. Master Arquilla presented the first 6 lessons of Kosho Shorei and Mitose's 4-Phase Principle as a guide to integrating the War Arts, Joint Striking and Locking Arts, Push/Pull Arts, and Total Evasion Arts within the Tracy System. Mr. Hopper was also able to hook up with Rick and Kathy Nelson, two of his first students back in Georgetown, KY, who are now 5th degree black belts.
In April of 2005, Mr. Hopper attended a seminar in Atlanta, GA, hosted by Master Pat Munk and Mr. Tony Niebank of Octagon Self Defenses Studios. The seminar was given by Masters Ted Sumner and Dave Simmons. Master Simmons focused on technique application and warrior spirit, and Master Sumner taught seminars on Application of Force, Nerve Striking, and the first 7 parts of the kenpo healing art, Chotaifukusi.
On August 27th, 2005, Tracy's of Shreveport was honored to host Kyoshi Roger Greene for a 2nd seminar expanding on his principles of Dynamic Punching, breakdown of some forms, and some great sparring techniques. Assisting Kyoshi Greene were his wife, Shihan Karen Greene, and Mr. Jeremy Grisel, Sandan.
In June of 2006, Mr. Hopper was able to attend Warrior Weekend V at Kyoshi Roger Greene's ranch. As usual, it was a great time with several seminars held by some true martial arts masters.
In July of 2006, Mr. Hopper attended the 1st Tracy's Kenpo Super Camp in Lexington, KY. The seminars, hosted by Grandmaster Al Tracy and Master Steve Finn, were taught by such notable masters as Al Tracy, Joe Simonet and Addy Hernandez, Bart Vale (Black Belt Magazine's 2006 Full Contact Fighter of the Year), Steve Finn, Greg Mattson and Becky Mornar, and John DeLuca. As good as the seminar instruction was, what was perhaps most impressive was the participation of everyone attending the seminars. It was also a great time to reconnect with instructors, friends, and students from the past!
In February of 2007, Mr. Hopper got to blend his martial arts training with his work as an Industrial Hygienist by creating a Stretch & Flex Ergonomics program for a Fortune 500 manufacturing company with several facilities in and around northwest Louisiana. The program was well received by all who participated, and the plants that introduced the program have seen a drastic, measurable reduction in time lost, muscular/skeletal injuries.
In June of 2007, Mr. Hopper attended the 3rd Gathering of Eagles in Chicago, IL. At that event, Mr. Hopper was honored to be inducted as a Charter Member of the International Kenpo Hall of Fame. Walking to the stage to receive the honor from Grandmaster Al Tracy was indeed an honor, but to do so in the company of men that he has always admired and considered to be role models, mentors, and legends, was a humbling and unforgettable experience.
In June of 2008, Mr. Hopper attended Kyoshi Roger Greene's Warrior Weekend VII. Among the guest instructors this year were Master Ted Sumner, 8th dan in Tracy's Kenpo, and Master Pat Munk, 7th dan. The week following the WWVII, Kyoshi Greene was elevated to kudan, 9th degree black belt, and given the title "Hanshi" by the founder of the Kang Duk Won Tae Kwon Do system.
In February 2009, Mr. Hopper attended the 1st Annual Texas Elite Retreat in Bryan, TX, hosted by Hanshi Raymond Montoya.
In June of 2009, Mr. Hopper attended the 8th Annual Warrior Weekend at Hanshi Greene's ranch. This year's weekend was dedicated to Master Dave Simmons. This was probably the best Warrior Weekend yet, as most of the attendees have been coming for 8 years now. This weekend always has a "family" feel to it. Hanshis Roger Greene, Ted Sumner, Dan Kennedy, Raymond Montoya, Ken Baker, and Shihans Pat Munk and Jim Stewart gave outstanding seminars that related very well together. You would have thought they all got together ahead of time and planned it. As always, Hanshi and Shihan Karen Greene were gracious and generous hosts.
On December 1, 2009, Mr. Hopper was awarded his Rokudan, 6th degree black belt, from Grandmaster Al Tracy, certificate # B-6125-109.
In February 2010, he attended the 2nd Annual Texas Elite Retreat hosted by Hanshi Raymond Montoya in Bryan, TX. Master instructors at the seminar included Hanshis Roger Greene, Dan Kennedy, Terry Bryan, Ken Baker, and Raymond Montoya.
In June 2010, Mr. Hopper attended the 9th Annual Warrior Weekend at Hanshi Roger Greene's ranch in Foyil, OK. The seminars flowed together flawlessly, and were taught by 9th degree master instructors Hanshi Roger Greene, Ted Sumner, Dan Kennedy, and Ken Baker. 8th degree master instructor, weapons expert, and 30 year law enforcement veteran Hanshi Raymond Montoya was also a featured instructor. There was ample opportunity for breakout sessions, and Mr. Hopper particularly enjoyed getting to work with Master Jim Hanna (Tracy's 7th degree black belt and LEO), Master Mike Howl (RGMAA 7th degree black belt), and Master Jim Stewart (Tracy's 8th degree and RGMAA 6th degree black belt). He also appreciated getting to work with Ted Sumner on Saturday afternoon, and five hours working with Hanshi Greene on the Sunday morning. At the seminar, Ms. Karen Greene and Mr. Michael Howl were awarded their Shichidans (7th degree black belt), the first ever to be promoted by Hanshi Greene. Mrs. Katie (Leckman) Reynolds (Tracy's of Shreveport) was awarded her nidan (2nd degree black belt).
In October 2010, Tracy's Kenpo of Shreveport, LA hosted the 1st Annual Swampdragon Martial Arts Summit. Tracy's was honored to host Hanshi Raymond Montoya and Masters Gary Avery, Henry Childers, and Roger Lee for a weekend of training and fellowship. It was an honor sharing the mat with these gentlemen.
In February of 2011, Mr. Hopper attended the American Black Belt Association Elite Retreat held in San Antonio, TX and hosted by Hanshi Terry Bryan. After attending a black belt test on Friday night, Mr. Hopper was honored to participate in a candle ceremony honoring new black belts. Saturday's training was led by Hanshi Dan Smith, kudan in Seibukan Karate. Hanshi Smith's seminars were inspiring and illustrated the connection between kenpo and traditional okinawan karate and yoga. Hanshi Ken Baker taught a myriad of quick, practical gun defenses, and Hanshi Bryan taught the 18 Postures. Hanshi Raymond Montoya taught Arnis. At this event, Hanshi Bryan made it publicly known that Hanshi Montoya was his named successor in the ABBA.
In June 2011, Mr. Hopper attended the 10th Annual Warrior Weekend hosted by Hanshi Roger Greene. Instructors for the weekend were Hanshis Roger Greene (9th degree), Ted Sumner(9th degree), Dan Kennedy(9th degree), Raymond Montoya(9th degree), Ken Baker(10th degree), and Shihan Pat Munk(8th degree).
In October 2011, Tracy's Kenpo of Shreveport, LA hosted the 2nd Annual Swampdragon Martial Arts Summit. Tracy's was honored to host Hanshi Raymond Montoya and Masters Henry Childers and Roger Lee for a weekend of training and learning.
In January 2012, after several years of researching the concepts of Japanese Yoga (one of the eight sides of kenpo as explained by Great Grandmaster James Mitose), Mr. Hopper completed the requirements for certification as a YogaFit Level 1 Instructor.
In February 2012, Mr. Hopper attended the 3rd Annual ABBA Texas Elite Retreat, hosted by Hanshi Raymond Montoya in Bryan, TX. All seminars throughout the weekend were taught by master instructors ranked 9th dan and above in at least one martial art, and several in more than one. Master instructors included Hanshis Roger Greene, Raymond Montoya, Dan Kennedy, Ken Baker, and Ron Rogers.
In June of 2012, Hanshi Roger Greene hosted the 11th Annual Warrior Weekend, an event that gets better and more cohesive every year.
In February 2013, Mr. Hopper attended the 4th Annual ABBA Texas Elite Retreat, hosted by Hanshi Raymond Montoya in Bryan, TX. Master instructors included Hanshis Roger Greene, Raymond Montoya, Dan Kennedy, Ken Baker, and Ron Rogers. During this event, Hanshi Montoya was honored by his fellow yuudanshakai by being given a red belt and having his status as the head of Hanshi Terry Bryan's ABBA publicly acknowledged.
In June of 2013, Mr. Hopper attended the 4th Gathering of Eagles. At this historic event, Grandmaster Tracy promoted 11 of his most senior masters to the level of Judan, 10th Degree Black Belt. Grandmaster Ted Sumner (B-10-08) and Grandmaster/Hanshi Roger Greene (B-10-06) were among the men honored. At this event, Mr. Hopper presented two seminars on Book Set and received the Spirit of the Warrior Award.
In February 2014, Mr. Hopper attended the 5th Annual ABBA Texas Elite Retreat, hosted by Hanshi Raymond Montoya in San Antonio, TX. Master instructors included Hanshis Roger Greene, Raymond Montoya, Dan Kennedy, Ken Baker, and Ron Rogers.
In April 2014, Mr. Hopper completed the mandatory YogaFit Level 1 Retrainer, and in June 2014, completed the YogaFit Level 2 Teacher Training Course.
Mr. Hopper is an avid kenpo and yoga practitioner, martial arts historian, and physical fitness enthusiast, blending a grounded, traditional kenpo program with innovative, modern training methodologies. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Occupational Safety & Health, is a Board Certified Safety Professional (CSP), and manages the Industrial Hygiene Division for ALTEC Environmental Consulting, LLC in Shreveport, LA. He and his wife Kathy have 3 children; Chris, Josh, and Davis.
The Ultimate in Self Defense Training
Tracy's Kenpo Karate of Shreveport, LA
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