Dan is a 10th-degree black belt with over 30 years of experience in teaching Martial Arts and coaching. As a physical education teacher for 10 years he was well-known throughout Parkways school district as a "character-educator" for kids. That formed the foundation for developing stick-with-character.
SWC's mission is to reach millions of children and adults across the globe with our character education programs and products that are physically and mentally interactive, combining the principles of Martial Arts with character development and engaging the mind-body connection through movement to increase student achievement, focus, self-esteem and self-control.
B.A. Physical Education
Certified 10th Degree Black Belt
From the age of nine, I was intrigued with the Martial Arts and wanted to learn the moves and techniques. I would copy what I saw on television. At the age of eleven, my brother and I were our school bus driver’s last stop. He was a black belt in karate and knew we had an interest in Martial Arts. So he would park his school bus across the street and teach us in our basement. I was hooked. And this was the beginning of my lifelong journey in the Martial Arts.
I trained with the best Martial Arts instructors in the world, which taught me to turn my attention inward. With continued practice, I began to cultivate deeper levels of character and strength. Responsibility, respect and self-control became inner tools to utilize not only in Martial Arts, but also in my life.
I decided to go back to college and switch my business degree to a teaching degree in Physical Education. There, I learned first-hand about teaching children, current character programs and making a difference. I taught for 10 years in the public school system, and they were wonderful years, full of learning and seasoning my skill-set. But before long, I began to connect the dots and plan for what was next.
People thought I was crazy to leave a position of tenure in the school district, but I just knew in my heart it was the best thing to do. When I returned back into the schools, it was as a character education instructor – I created fun educational programs that combined character education, Martial Arts and brain integration.
I chose not to teach kicking and punching, but more importantly, the inner qualities such as respect, responsibility, self-control, practice and perseverance. My character programs trained over 40,000 children in public and private schools throughout Missouri.
After years of teaching, I now understand that every child wants to be in charge of their focus, attention, attitude and behavior. They just need to be taught and coached on how to be in charge of themselves. Otherwise, they’ll never think they have a choice. So instead of controlling the students in my class, I taught them self-control. This engaged them at a deeper level and helped motivate them to take charge and apply themselves. If they continue the effort, they can do anything they put their mind to. I call this process “Mountain Thinking,” the core of Stick with Character.