David is a composer, singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer. He wrote the lyrics, composed and arranged the music, and produced Say Goodbye, �I wrote most of the songs over the last few years. When I decided to record a CD, I got rid of my television because I did not want the distraction. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have tried to invest as much time in the lyrical content as I have the music. I am blessed to have world class musicians perform on my CD. I would also be remiss if I did not thank Dr. James Mathes. I had the privilege of studying music theory and composition with Dr. Mathes and it was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life!�

Dr Mathes is an Associate Professor of Music Theory, at Florida State and he received the B.S. in Music Education from the University of Maryland and an M.M. and Ph.D. in Music Theory from The Florida State University College of Music. He currently teaches a graduate course on the analysis and performance of masterworks. Professor Mathes was awarded a university Teaching Incentive Program award and has been nominated for both graduate and undergraduate teaching awards.

David is also a Master level Tae Kwon Do Instructor. He holds a 5th Dan Blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do and a 3rd Dan Blackbelt in Hapkido.

Some of my friends know me as a musician and some know me as a martial arts instructor. This might bridge the gap!

Only Kindness Matters

The year was 1994 and my good friend Dr. Joel Miller and I had just opened a Tae Kwon Do Studio in Fort Myers, Florida. We had very few students, but we had just put a big bright sign out front with "Tae Kwon Do" written on it. The sign was white and our letters were blue! It had great visibility much to the landlord's chagrin--we were breaking the building code. I had no classes scheduled that evening but was working in the studio when in walked a small, scholarly-looking man inquiring about classes. I told him we had a class scheduled for the next night but he said that would not work for him. I did what any enterprising martial arts instructor would do and offered him a private lesson on the spot. To my surprise he agreed and as I worked with him he told me a little bit about his back ground. He was a department head at a very prestigious private school. He was nervous but he tried very hard to do the lesson and was soaked with sweat at the end of class. I gave him information about classes and as he left he shook my hand and thanked me for fulfilling a dream as a martial arts class was something he always want to attempt.

I started a regular schedule of classes the following week and was very pleased to see my first private lesson student come back for regular classes. He had been training with me for several years when he told me he had stopped a much larger man trying to mug him and his five year old daughter. I am a Master level Instructor and teach Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido and my student had been training in both arts. I thought things could not get much better but I was so wrong. We were getting ready to start a class when another student walked in and thanked me for saving his life in front of the other students. He had been struggling with a drug addiction and the class gave him the structure he needed to beat his addiction. I was very surprised and pleased but really did not feel like I could take credit for anything.

In a small very quiet voice after everyone was gone my scholarly student said, "I know how that guy feels". Confused, I ask him what he meant. Do you remember my first lesson, he asked? "I remember it very well," I replied. He looked away for what seemed like a very long time and finally said, "I was going home to kill myself when I saw your TKD sign. I always wanted to take a martial arts class so I decided to treat myself and take a lesson and then go home and kill myself. I had the gun and the bullet; I had researched how to do it with one shot and that was my plan." I was astounded and ask him, "Why?"

"I was going through a divorce, missed my daughter and my wife, my best friend had just committed suicide and I thought if it worked for him it will work for me." "What stopped you", I asked? "You did", he again replied! "You were so kind and it had been a very long time since anyone had been kind to me that I forgot what it was like. I am not blaming anyone, I just felt so alone. I loved the lesson and it became a lifeline for me. Had you been a jerk I would not be alive today and the funny thing is I do not even know who that guy is anymore-- the one that wanted to kill himself." After a long silence he said,"Thank You!"

In the end only kindness matters!

Dangerous Night in Birmingham

It was a hot miserable night in Birmingham Alabama in the late 1970’s! The temperature was still above 100 degrees and I was in a very bad part of town. I stopped into a Church’s Fried Chicken to place an order and waited, as there were a half dozen people ahead of me waiting in line. Suddenly the door opened and in walked a young man in his late 20's dressed in a long heavy coat with his hands in his pockets. Thirty seconds later in walked another man dressed in the same fashion. Within two minutes there were four men in the room placing themselves in each corner of the room. They never spoke a word or looked at each other and I knew things were going to get bad very soon.

As if on cue I walked up to the first man, stood very close and stared eye to eye for 5 seconds. Five seconds is a very long time. I then moved on to the next man. I then walked to the center of the very small room and waited... staring ahead... never looking at any of them. Every time my turn came to order I would motion someone else to go in front of me. Having decided who I was going to take out first I waited... we were standing very close just as I wanted it to be. Fighting multiple attackers in an enclosed area has its advantages if one is well trained, and I had been trained very well in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido thanks to Master Yong Hill. We five stood there for five full minutes, motionless. Five minutes is a very long time to remain still. Finally looking at each other they made their move. As if an unspoken command was given they all took their hands out of their pockets, looked at me and walked out the door. They got into a car and drove off.

Logic would dictate that I should have left but sometimes training and instinct takes over. The following week they were all arrested after having robbed another place and injuring some of the employees. I was asked why they left with no words spoken and my answer was, "I was an unknown element. Predators look for easy victims and they were aware that I was something unexpected, not taken into consideration and therefore outside the parameters of what they expected could or would happen."

Sometimes in life what does not happen can be just as powerful as what happens!