View Full Version : Jonathan Metcalf inducted into U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame

6/08/2007 2:24pm,
Jonathan Metcalf inducted into U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame

By Tracy Hudak
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2007 1:39 PM EDT

ENFIELD- For 10 years, Jonathan Metcalf has been teaching children and adults of all ages martial art skills including self-defense, leadership, discipline, and respect, at a dojo in Enfield.

In recognition of his work, Metcalf, the owner and chief instructor of Integrity Martial Arts, has again been inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame as the Multi-Disciplined Instructor of the Year in 2007. In 2006, he was inducted into the hall of fame as the Instructor of the Year.

Metcalf, 33, is a fourth-degree Yodan black belt who is certified by the Instructors Academy of Martial Arts and the Goshin Kempo Jujutsu Kai. He has additional certifications from the Tai Chi Instructor’s Academy and the U.S. Chanbara Federation. He also became certified martial arts instructor through the Instructor Academy of the Martial Arts, the first program to be certified by a board of higher education to teach martial arts.

Metcalf was been recognized as a Hometown Hero on Fox 61’s “News at Ten” for Integrity Martial Arts’ efforts teaching disadvantaged youth in Enfield, and for several years, Integrity Martial Arts has donated its services to schools Enfield, Somers and Suffield in Connecticut as well as Longmeadow, Mass.

While outsiders may look at the martial arts world solely as an avenue to learn self defense - or even worse, to hurt someone - Metcalf says learning how to protect oneself is the most useless aspect of martial arts.

Metcalf compares learning self defense to learning CPR - you hope you never have to use those skills, but you want to know them just in case.
“If you learn self defense in a martial arts school, you’re also going to learn about respect and self control, and your chances of needing self defense is less and less,” he said. “You study really hard to develop your self defense skills in the hopes you never have to use them. The better you get at them, the less likely you will ever have to use them.”

He added, “The most useful aspect of martial arts is the respect and the discipline.”

An interest in Asian philosophy

Metcalf, who grew up in Stony Brook, N.Y., started taking martial arts classes when he was about 15 and began training formally about a year later. He was drawn to martial arts because he missed having a sport in his life, and he had an interest in Asian philosophy, and by the time he was a junior at Ward Melville High School, he had read 150 books on Indian history and mythology.

He became an East Asian studies major with a concentration in Buddhism at Wesleyan University, graduating in 1996. During his freshman year at Wesleyan, he met the people with whom he continues to study martial arts today - Ken Warner and Ben Thomas, who now run their own schools, Evolution Karate in Glastonbury, and Kempokan in Newington, respectively.

While in college, he spent a year studying abroad in Asia, particularly in Nepal and Taiwan. In addition to researching martial arts in Nepal and living with Tibetan refugees, he studied and lived with his Kung Fu teacher’s teacher in Taiwan.

Ironically, while living in towns and cities without Jewish communities, he felt his Jewish identity grow stronger.

“It sort of cemented some Jewish feelings I’ve had, being the only Jew,” he said.

He finds connections between Judaism and the values one learns through martial arts.

“It’s important to be scholarly and study, and it’s important to keep yourself safe and not depend on others for your safety,” Metcalf said. “It’s about preserving the traditions and values that are important to you. I think my school does that.”

After college, Metcalf started working as the instructor/manager for a martial arts school in Enfield. When the owner dissolved the business, Metcalf started Integrity Martial Arts in 2001. That same year, Integrity Martial Arts moved into its current location in Scitico Plaza at 585 Hazard Ave. Integrity Martial Arts also offers classes at the Springfield Jewish Community Center in Springfield, Mass.

Metcalf, who lives in Suffield with his wife, Dawn, an educational consultant, and their two children, 3-year-old Sarah and 1-year-old Avi, says the 300 students and 17 staff members at Integrity Martial Arts are all part of his family.

Breakthrough Martial Arts

Integrity Martial Arts doesn’t focus on one style of martial arts but draws on many styles, including karate, kung fu, tai kwan do and kempo, in the curriculum.

“Primarily what I do is called Breakthrough Martial Arts,” Metcalf explained. “It’s a collection of movements and exercises that are designed for health and effective self defense.”

“Its called Breakthrough Martial Arts because people experience this major transformation as they train from white to black belt. As they develop personal power, the fears that hold us all back, the fears of really expressing ourselves, dissolve.”

The school recently celebrated the second anniversary of its Leadership Academy Program and graduated the first three students in the program.

The Leadership Academy Program is one of the many programs offered by and unique to Integrity Martial Arts. Other programs include the Character Development Curriculum that focuses on a new character trait each month such as sportsmanship and perseverance; the Youth Leadership Program; Powerplay Martial Arts for Children; Ninja Pagoda anti-bullying curriculum; as well as Small Samurai and First Kick programs for the youngest students.

Metcalf has also brought in experts from whom his students can learn, including a police officer on de-escalation, a national expert on bullying, and a social worker on communication.

Many students at Integrity Martial Arts become senseis and teach at the dojo. Metcalf realized that in order to offer his students high quality teachers, he needed to provide training.

In fact, all of the staff members at Integrity Martial Arts were once students there. Some have become professional senseis and made teaching martial arts their career.

“It’s one of the few apprentice-based businesses,” Metcalf said. “The best instructors - better than I’ll ever be - are the people who grew up in this.”

For more information about Integrity Martial Arts, call (860) 698-9226 or visit the Web site www.integritymartialarts.com.


6/08/2007 2:49pm,
This is like inducting someone into the Baseball Hall of Fame because he figured out a way to use the skills in baseball to teach life lessons.