Tracy's Kenpo Karate Shreveport, LA

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Reverend Dr. Michael Megahan
Godan - 5th Degree Black Belt
Certified Senior Instructor

 

Dr. Megahan was born in St. Louis, MO in 1946.  As a child, he lived in St. Louis and Tyler, Lubbock, and Austin, TX.

He attended school to become a pastor, attaining the following academic credentials:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, UT Austin

  • Master of Divinity, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, IL

  • Master of Theology, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN

  • Master of Arts, Applied Linguistics, SMU, Dallas, TX

  • Doctor of Ministry, Christ Seminex/Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, IL

Dr. Megahan is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Literature in Old Testament Translation at Stellenbosch University in the Republic of South Africa.

He was ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1972 and worked in the local parish of Point Comfort, TX until 1982.  In 1982, he moved to Tanzania, Africa to begin a lifelong commitment to christian mission work.  From 1982 to 1988, he served as a Bible School Teacher, and became the Assistant Bishop of Tanzania in 1988, serving until 1997.

In 1997, Dr. Megahan returned to the US to Shreveport, LA where he served as a local pastor.  During that time, he began his study of kenpo karate at Tracy's Kenpo Karate of Shreveport, LA.  He took up the study of kenpo for two reasons:  to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning karate, and because living conditions in the Tanzania/Kenya area at that time presented challenges that may require self defense.

Originally, Dr. Megahan began lessons pertaining only to Tai Chi and weapons forms.  Tai Chi was a martial art that Dr. Megahan and his son, Eric, already had some experience with.  Weapons Forms, particularly the spear and short staff, are weapons that are carried by the Massai people when they hunt, and were chosen for that reason.  After several months of forms practice, Dr. Megahan began training in the formal curriculum of Tracy's Kenpo Karate, attaining the rank of green belt.

In 1998, he headed back to Kenya to continue his mission work.  Every two or three months, I would receive a video tape in the mail of Dr. Megahan performing the requirements for his next belt in kenpo.  Remarkably, I discovered that he and his family (Michael, Joann, Peter, and a large family of sponsored children) had about 1 hour a day of electricity with a gas powered generator.  During that hour, all the tasks of the day that required electricity had to be performed, but Dr. Megahan tried to use part of that time to simply learn or review one self defense technique or portion of a kata.  Once learned, he would work the new material into his daily training regimen.

On November 8, 2001, Dr. Megahan traveled from Kenya to Shreveport, where he tested for and received his Shodan, 1st degree black belt

Following his test, he returned to Kenya where he worked as a pastor until 2002.  During that time, he also began teaching kenpo to natives in his village.  In 2002, he returned to Dallas, TX and began work for his Masters Degree in Applied Linguistics.

On June 24, 2003, he received his Nidan, 2nd degree black belt.

In 2004, he attended a seminar given by Grandmaster Al Tracy in Dallas, TX.

Following work on his Applied Linguistics degree, Dr. Megahan prepared to return to Kenya to begin the arduous task of developing a written language for the Samburu people, and translating the Bible into that written language. 

Just prior to his departure, on December 18, 2004, Dr. Megahan received his Sandan, 3rd degree black belt.

Currently, Dr. Megahan works as a missionary in Botswana translating the Bible into the Kalanga language.  He recently returned to the US for a fundraising/support tour.  During this tour, on February 8, 2008, Dr. Megahan tested for and received his Yodan, 4th degree black belt.  He was also awarded his Senior Instructor certification.

Dr. Megahan returned to Botswana in May of 2008, working on another Ph.D dissertation and continuing work on the translation of the Bible into the Kalanga language.  He also began teaching students in Botswana, in hopes of grooming an instructor to continue teaching our system after he leaves.

On March 31, 2012, Dr. Megahan returned to the United States where he tested for and received his Godan, 5th degree black belt.

 

Following are Dr. Megahan's words concerning his martial arts journey thus far:

"I believe that the physical and mental discipline provided by karate is of great benefit to the spiritual life of an individual as well as the physical well-being.

Learning karate overseas has been a great challenge. Often I do not have a person to practice with and so it is difficult to visualize the situation. I also do not have an instructor who can observe and help me understand my weaknesses and 'mistakes'. However, I have used these difficulties to help me be more disciplined, working on 'lower level' moves and katas while progressing. Also, I have developed a keener sense of visualization, which helps not only in karate but also in my academic work and language learning.

Teaching abroad has also been difficult. Because of time constraints, space and work permits, it is difficult to set up an actual teaching situation. Work permit restrictions do not allow me to charge for teaching, and so motivation and discipline on the part of the students is sometimes lacking. However, I continue to seek ways to teach a few students. In Tanzania, I had helped 4 young people go as far as purple belt. My hope is that when we return to Botswana I will be able to work with a few students and help some of them reach black belt status.

My goal is to learn kenpo to the best of my ability and combine with various forms of Tai Chi martial arts and spiritual discipline.

Favorite quote that motivated me in the beginning (from my father's Sports Club many years ago): "We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing."

 

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