As a Bruce Lee fan, Don was inspired by martial arts at a very young age. He started martial arts at the age of 5 in Dublin, CA. During his childhood Don practiced in Tae Kwon Do, Kajukenbo, Kung Fu, and Karate. After many years of training in these arts, Don fell in love with wrestling and boxing during high school and went on to compete as a varsity wrestler and fought in the amateur boxing ranks during his college years.
In 1992, Don met Steven Seagal Aikido black belt, Jaime Calderon and immediately fell in love with the art. Don went on to train with some of the most well respected Aikido practitioners in the country and is currently associated with Master Miguel Hernandez.
In 2005, Don was approached by Alex Khanbabian to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and to his disbelief, found BJJ to be the “truth” in martial arts. Since this time, Don has gone on to practice under Sensei’s Darlynson Lira, Sergio Silva, Carlos Rocha, Eddie Edmunds and Master Joe Moreira.
Don was promoted to purple belt in January of 2016 my Master Joe.
As a weapons enthusiast, Don approached Canemaster Grand Master, Mark Shuey, with an interest in training under him. After much training, Don was awarded his black belt in the Cane in 2010 by Master Shuey and Master Jose Isidro. Don currently teaches the cane to Seniors around the San Francisco Bay Area.
As an Executive in Autism field, Don founded Breaking Barriers, a martial arts program for children and adults with special needs. Don was a participant in the Ultimate Black Belt Test by Tom Callos and helped spread the word of Breaking Barriers through the process. Don’s current passion is to build the program and expand throughout schools in the United States and abroad.
Don is currently a MMA judge under the tutelage of UFC Referee, Herb Dean.