I believe that every person has a "Killer instinct" within them and that instinct will manifest itself if given the right set of circumstances.

I believe that every person has a "Killer instinct" within them and that instinct will manifest itself if given the right set of circumstances.

When I was a kid, I was able to avoid fights for the most part because of my height and size when compared to the stature of my school's bullies. I was taught as a child the fundamentals of boxing but I admit my heart wasn't into it and I was a very poor student.

One day in grade school I was involved in a fight with a very tough kid half my size and I came home with that awful badge of shame, the notorious black eye! 

Around this very same time I was visiting my father in New York City and this time I was beaten up by an older girl and had to face him with my second black eye!

 My father said to me, "Eric you just don't have that killer instinct, and that's not necessarily a bad thing."

From that moment on I determined I was going to gain the edge by obtaining that killer instinct.

I began by martial arts training, first studying Japanese Judo, then boxing and eventually the Chinese martial art of Chuan Fa. I had absolutely no natural talent or skills for the martial arts. I basically became a punching bag for all of my fellow students.

Everyone in the class advanced in rank except me and gradually I fell behind every one of my classmates. My instructor was incredibly mean and bordered on Sadistic.

There were no young children in the class and he was free to be as brutal as he liked. It took me eleven years to obtain my first degree black belt ranking (the average student earns their black belt in three or four years) and my instructor knocked me out cold (for good measure) at the conclusion of my black belt test!

 To test my new skills (and my courage) I began to participate in karate tournaments, first point tournaments then full contact kickboxing tournaments.

I had unbelievable success in the ring winning eleven straight matches and one day seeing my name in a karate magazine which ranked me third middle heavy weight in the Midwest!

My unbelievable accomplishment didn't last long and shortly after my ranking I was defeated, had my nose broken, both of my sinus cavities broken. My kickboxing days were over.

In 1989, I was involved in a terrible automobile accident permanently injuring my back and requiring three separate back surgeries.

After a long recovery I had to know for myself if I was still a martial artist and did I still have that hard earned Killer instinct?

I had no money for Christmas for my children in 1991 since I had been unable to work since the injury. I decided to take a job as a bouncer at the all black nightclub, "Jam City" in East St. Louis, Ill.

The pay was great and this was the meanest, most dangerous place I could have gone to test whether or not I still had that Killer instinct.

I worked there for three months and I am still here able to write these columns.  

 I was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame three times 2008, 2009 and 2011.

After all my hard work in obtaining my very own Killer instinct, I have spent the last 36 years teaching young children the martial art of Chinese Chuan Fa.

My students rush to me with hugs when I enter their class, they say I am funny, kind and a caring instructor. I say that after all these years that my father was right, "Not having a killer instinct isn't necessarily a bad thing."

I can tell you from experience that the killer instinct is inside everyone and there is absolutely no need to try developing it.

It will be there if you ever need it and it will come naturally without you even thinking about it. A life spent trying to be mean and tough is a wasted life. For what has been the joy of my life is making children happy, making them smile and laugh. Having a Killer instinct doesn't compare to the joy of being kind, considerate and loved by children.