My name is Norman Wrigley and I am currently a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I began studying martial arts in 1993 for 4 months then my instructor had to stop teaching due to his regular job. I looked around for months trying to find another school that I liked but did not find anything similar to how I had studied.
In the spring of 1995 I did find a school in East Greenwich RI, ran by a gentleman named Dan Zarbo who got his rank of first degree back in 1972.. He explained how classes went and what was expected and I signed up right away. He was “an old school” teacher, not believing in the “no student left behind” method of teaching. You worked hard, learned your material, tested in front of a board, then if you passed you got your next rank, and I have seen people fail in my time.
I studied with him for 3 ½ years until his retirement in 1998. I had begun helping to teach the kids classes with him after a few months of instruction, and soon began instructing the adult classes, though always in his presence. In the 3 ½ years of studying with him, he missed 2 classes, he was always there.
After passing my brown belt test I began to study Aikido on and off with an instructor and continued as much as possible in my limited time. When my instructor decided to retired I helped open a school with another student and ran that with him for about 18 months.
Due to job schedule reasons for myself and the other teacher was planning to move to Florida in the future I transferred and began to study with David Arundel. Mr. Arundel had achieved his black belt from Mr. Zarbo back in 1975 and currently is a 5th degree in Tae Kwon Do and 5th degree in Nick Cereo’s Kenpo. I began taking private lessons with him in 1999 and soon began instructing regular classes at night as well as attending private lessons. Mr. Arundel and Mr. Zarbo are 2 of the 4 most respected, admired, and feared martial artist in RI. Training with him led me to my 1st and 2nd degree belts plus training in Kenpo, Judo, Jujitsu, and American Karate. Mr. Arundel is also a yellow belt in Ed Parkers American Karate.
During this time I also continued with my Aikido training on and off, took lessons and seminars in Brazilian Gracie Jujitsu and Krav Maga. My family and I decided to move to Iowa in May 2008, and I was able to study and complete a Jujitsu Police Officer self defense tactics class.
Once settled in Iowa, I did lots of looking and attending classes in the surrounding areas and met up with Mr. Ed Brown in Bondurant. Mr. Brown is currently a 5th degree and through him I had gained my 3rd degree. Though time is very limited I do attend class when possible.
To try to begin to get back into teaching I put together a self defense program that I offered through t he Altoona Campus which I was able to do three separate sessions. Following that I planned a session through SEP Central Place for one session. Though not a popular topic in such a safe community, with the smaller classes, we were all able to work on more material and have more one-on-one instruction.
August 2010 I began instructing my first student in Iowa in East Coast Tae Kwon Do just out of my home garage. I soon pick up another student in September and two more students in October. Worried about training in the winter and tired of “talking” about having a school, I was able to put a plan into place and got Iowa’s first East Coast Tae Kwon Do school opened in January 2011.