All In Podcast

18: From Serving Aces to Combating Life with a Black Belt Experience, Ken Smith Teaches with Excellence in Mind and Body

Daniel Giordano

About Master Ken Smith

Master Ken Smith was born and raised in Massachusetts. He is a former USPTA tennis professional and originally began martial arts training to improve his tennis game. He quickly realized that the value and benefits of the martial arts went far beyond tennis. He immediately became a serious martial arts student, even though he still plays tennis in his spare time. By the time he received his 1st degree Black Belt, he knew he wanted to teach the martial arts full time and make it his personal and professional work. He opened his first school in Massachusetts in 1994. His dislike of snow shoveling and cold weather brought him to sunny Florida in 1998 where he opened his Royal Palm Beach school.

Master Ken is a 7th degree Black Belt, a T’ai Chi Master, a Chi Kung Master, and a Master Instructor. He is a consummate teacher who loves his students and who loves to teach!

Master Ken strives for excellence and promotes a healthy and balanced internal and external life. He is also a super fun guy who loves what he does and it shows.

Ken’s Story:

Ken Smith is a former tennis pro turned Martial Arts Master. He originally became involved in martial arts as a way to train himself in focus and concentration for his tennis game but it quickly became his passion. Ken quickly realized, after just a very short time, that martial arts offered value in all aspects of his life, not just the training for his tennis game.

After Ken became a 3rd Level Black Belt, an opportunity presented itself for him to open his own school. This endeavor has continued to open doors for him, both professionally and personally.

One of his earliest ‘flashpoints’ came early on when he had a female student who had been sexually assaulted by a previous partner. He started contacting other schools to find out how best to work with people in her situation. What he found was that many schools only offered a 1-2 day self-defense class. He knew that he wanted to do something more comprehensive and spent time with law enforcement and sexual abuse counselors formulating a special program for women.

Today, he does special seminars on that topic, as well as many others and his school offers programs for all ages, abilities and interests. He is now entering his 30th year of being a Martial Arts professional and has his own school in Palm Beach, Florida.

Ken is all-in about martial arts being the path to empowerment and self-confidence for his students, every age and level from child to adult. His special interests are women’s self-defense as well as advancing the truth of martial arts being a holistic approach to the whole person-the body and the mind, the physical and the mental.

Most Influential Person:

  • That would definitely be his cousin Lynda. When he achieved his 1st level Black Belt, she sent him a book about developing himself as a human being, now that he had been developing himself in physical training. This book put him more on the spiritual path of martial arts-she was a major impetus for him to become developed in both the external and internal arts.
  • One thing that he pursued on this path was attending a program in MA about Chinese medicine and other complementary ways of healing the mind and body.

Biggest Challenges:

  • For Ken, it’s a fools’ errand to look back on mistakes with regret. We should look back without judgment and remember to have patience with and have forgiveness for ourselves.
  • The mistakes we make decide who we become-everything is a part of our learning curve.

Life’s Lowest Point:

  • His lowest points were emotional and came with both the death of his sister and his maternal grandmother.
  • He realizes now that he was young and just did not have the emotional tools to deal with their deaths and his loss.
  • These experiences really taught him how to treat people with more kindness.

Defining Success?:

  • Success is not about the accumulation of money and physical things-it’s about living from moment to moment in awareness. When you live for the moment, you are living life to the fullest and that is of paramount importance.
  • For people who think they’ve ‘arrived’ when they reach a certain goal point, that is not really success because they stop learning.
  • Life is not static-it is dynamic and it changes. Therefore, your definitions of success have to be flexible to come with those changes.

Defining living in your Purpose:

  • He is a role model, not just in business, but for his family. That means doing the best that he can every day and leaving nothing on the table.
  • Professionally, it means helping people live up to “Black Belt Excellence” in all aspects of their life. It’s fun, it’s liberating, and you learn to live a life of no regrets.

Advice on how to be All-In:

  • Do your best. Take out the excuses.
  • Stop waiting for the stars to align perfectly-that doesn’t happen.
  • Just begin. It’s that simple. Have a clearly defined intent and purpose and pursue something that is passionate to you.
  • Divinity and providence will assist you as long as you’re in. If you never start something, then higher forces don’t get an opportunity to help you along.

Favorite Quote:

  • “We must be the change we want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

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About the Instructor