Keith Pascal’s Credentials and Rank

Keith Pascal’s Credentials and Rank

by … Keith Pascal

Keith PascalI feel a little strange tooting my own horn, but occasionally a subscriber writes in asking about my martial-arts rank or my martial-arts teaching credentials. (To think that I would dare teach martial artists how to be better teachers.)

So, let’s take a little time to discuss my martial-arts background, a little of my philosophy about ranks, my teaching credentials, and my blending of martial arts with teaching.

May this answer a few questions about my qualifications.

Keith Pascal in Martial Arts

My martial arts background began when I was six years old. I took Judo, but the lessons were short-lived. When I was seven, the teacher moved to Japan.

Still, I had the martial arts bug, but was unable to afford lessons until I was 14. I enrolled in a Tae Kwon Do class, and poured my heart into it for a little under a year.

With some peer pressure and counsel from a Karate black belt, I switched to Shotokan Karate.

Then I met Steve Golden, an original Bruce Lee and Ed Parker student. I started with him when I was 16, but had to quit, when my parents wouldn’t sign the insurance release forms. (We were getting into carotid holds and more.)

I continued to practice, take a few private lessons from people, and research what kind of martial arts would best fit me. The path led back to Steve Golden.

So, when I was 20, I was finally able to move off the waiting list and into the JKD (Twin Dragons) class, full time. (He only taught 8 – 10 students twice a week.)

I stayed with him from 1980 through 1988. Then Steve moved North, and I moved to the South. Continuing lessons became impossible. Besides, Steve felt I was ready to learn on my own.

To this day, I still get together with Steve Golden a few times a year, to make sure that I am continuing on the right track. It’s also a good opportunity to get humbled by my peers.

So, let’s talk a little about rank: The highest rank I had ever achieved before Steve Golden was green belt. With Steve, I earned teacher’s certifications in both Twin Dragons and Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s style).

I am teacher-certified to promote first-degree black belts, but for a higher promotion, I have to go to one of my seniors. (That’s the way it works in our system.)

Even though I worked very hard for my certification, I am never awed (or influenced) by rank. I have met many a black belt who couldn’t fight their way out of a box, or who were lousy martial-arts teachers.

On the flip side, my two most senior students have never earned black belts from me. I could award them one, at any time, but to them the rank is not important. (True to the Bruce Lee philosophy.)

One has been my student for over 23 years and the other for over 15. Both are great teachers and great at using their art … in practical application, if you know what I mean.

There have been several seminars where my students where slightly snubbed as lesser martial artists because of this lack of rank … until they touched hands with the person … or helped teach a principal. (Where are you going to compare someone who studied maybe 3-4 years for a black belt with 23 years of serious martial practice?)

So, while I do have a couple of impressive credentials, I hope you judge me based on my books and what they can do for you.

Keith Pascal, Teacher

I think I was born to be a teacher in some way, shape, or form. I started teaching a magic class through the parks and recreation department when I was only 14 years old. (Maybe their youngest teacher ever?)

I continued teaching magic out of the back of our family magic shop, when I turned 17.

And in my early and mid 20s, I taught martial arts out of the back of a bookstore.

Then I went back to school for a Master’s Degree that emphasized teaching methodology. I loved to figure out the best ways for people to learn something.

I taught Italian, Italian for Architects, First-Year Spanish, and Second-Year Spanish on a Graduate Teaching Fellowship while earning my degree.

I have a Bachelor’s in Italian, a Master’s in Spanish, and have earned both Basic Teaching Certification and Standard Teaching Certification for K – 12.

For the next twelve years, I taught in two high schools … seven years on the Oregon Coast and five years in Eugene.

As to my success … let me be judged by my students:

When I taught Italian, some of my students went on to become Italian majors. When I taught Spanish, some of my students continued on to become high school and college Spanish teachers, and when I taught magic, I started a few who went on to become professional magicians.

The same is true for the martial arts … some of my martial arts students went on to become magicians! Just kidding.

I have coached many to lifelong martial-arts pursuits.

Teaching Martial Arts

Over the years, I have taught martial arts out of a bookstore, recreation centers, high schools, a community college, garages, and down at parks.

I have never run a big martial arts school, nor do I ever intend to. (Famous last words.)

Years ago, I wrote an ebook (with 3 bonuses) on how to teach martial arts more effectively. That ebook still receives positive testimonials. And even though I sell it directly from my web site, Secrets of Teaching Martial Arts More Effectively is also available on a CD-ROM from

Note: When I left high school teaching, I stayed in “teaching mode” over the years by writing five books, a dozen + ebooks, and over 2,000 martial-arts articles.

Last, but not least, I run a web site to help martial arts teachers, (Sign up for the FREE newsletter.)

And that about wraps it up.

If you have any questions, maybe I could update this post?

Thank you for your time,

Keith Pascal

PS I hope none of this seemed like I was bragging. I tried to remove all accolades and awards that my students and I have received. And I also didn’t talk about “our” various accomplishments in our fields.

When all is said and done, I am just a guy writing about martial arts.

Tags: , , , ,