In preparation for our upcoming workshop Lifehack: Live Inspired we interviewed some Bay Area professionals who inspire us to go beyond the daily grind and use our time to make a difference in the community.
Monday through Friday, he works in Silicon Valley tech – but on the weekends, he’s a taekwondo master. David Meyers and his family co-founded E-Karate in San Jose, a non-profit inclusive community organization that teaches and strengthens kids through taekwondo. Our interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is E-Karate?
E-Karate is an inclusive program for people with and without special needs. We partner with Victory Martial Arts so that the kids are official when they get belts.
What motivated you and your family to start a program in San Jose?
We heard there was a program in Redwood City, so we went to be a part of it and when we got there we found out that almost half the class was from San Jose and even had a waiting list to start a whole other class. So we said we can help run a new program in San Jose. Then I started taking classes in how to teach martial arts … so in the beginning I was leading every class. Then my dad started taking classes in how to lead martial arts. Now we have about five instructors.
What makes E-Karate special?
Unlike any other program, we can have patience with kids who cannot sit still or pay attention as long.
Why do you do E-Karate?
Personally because I can. If I can do something, why shouldn’t I? If I am able to do something that would help someone do something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, why shouldn’t I? It is very gratifying to be able to see kids who have a hard time standing on one foot be able to break boards and do a lot of things they didn’t believe they could do, and seeing their confidence go up.
Can you give us a few steps on how to do what you did?
Step 1: Identify what you can do
We were learning martial arts, so we knew how to do some. That’s where we started.
Step 2: Find the need
For us we realized they needed a second class since there wasn’t enough room in Redwood City.
Step 3: Seek help
I needed to seek help figuring out how to teach. I had no clue what I was doing, I would just stand up there and mumble things.
Step 4: Try and get other people involved
You can’t do things by yourself all the time. My dad has been doing finances. I’m in charge of rosters. We split up who teaches.
The biggest requirement through all this is just having a heart to serve and a heart to care for people. If you don’t want to care for anyone then you’re not going to want to start step one.
For more inspiration about how to use your life to make an impact, don’t miss our upcoming workshop Lifehack: Live Inspired.