In 1984, when I was 9, I took my first lessons in Tae Kwon Do. I later met a guy named Charles Loudermilk who became my first teacher as far as I am concerned as he began to introduce me to Jeet Kune Do. Charles introduced me to his Instructor Vic Payne. I began taking lessons with Vic at his home in Brasstown, NC (right down the road from me).

Well, it just so happened that Vic put on this little martial arts camp, called the Great Smoky Mountain Martial Arts Camp. There were these guys from other places around the country, who were instructors and peers of Vic Payne that taught at this camp. Some of them were: Tim Tackett, Danny Inosanto, Bert Poe, Larry Hartsell, Francis Fong, Chai Sirisute, Paul DeThours, Cliff Lenderman, Cliff Stewart, Joe Lewis, Fred Deggerberg, and some others. I went to the camp during its last 4 years. I cut my teeth there.

That is where I met Tim Tackett of course and I was a little pre teenager following him around trying to sit next to him during the lunch time and breakfast time breaks. Asking probably some goofy questions about a lop sao or something. Tim was the most friendly to me and also Bert Poe and Chai Sirisute. Bert scared me sometimes as he would sneak up and grab me by the back of my neck and say "Don't move."

I began fighting in the ring in a toughman type contest that Vic Payne put on, in 1990. In 1990 and 1991, I finished 1st or 2nd place in almost every event I fought in. I also did some amateur boxing and kickboxing, and even a little professional boxing. At best count, I have had around 74 Ring fights total. I know I lost 13 times in all. Making my "unsanctioned" ring record somewhere around 61-13.

I became one of Vic Payne's instructors in 1993 at the age of 19. I began to teach a small group with Charles Loudermilk. I continued to teach and eventually was reunited with Tim Tackett, under whom I am also a JKD instructor. I continue to learn from Tim Tackett, Bob Bremer, and all of his students and peers that are part of the WNG.

Brent Lance can be reached at sifubrentlance@yahoo.com