By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
A local Portales man was honored earlier this month in California for dedication to his sport, as well as dedication to making his community a better place to live.
Shannon Schaefer, 32, teaches karate at the Kenmoitsu Dojo on the square in Portales, and has been involved in the sport for over 26 years.
Schaefer was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Los Angeles on June 2 — the highest honor a martial artist can receive. He says he’s not sure who nominated him for the honor, but he’s humbled.
He also received the Diamond Life award, recognizing his 25 years of dedicated service to the sport and to his community, and was named most powerful role model of 2007.
“It means that what I’ve been doing is not in vain,” Schaefer said. “And that I clearly know what I’ve been anointed to do in my life and for that, I feel the most honored.”
“I think we go halfway through our lives (and say), ‘What am I doing here? What should I be doing? I was entertained with that for awhile and I think I want to try this,’ I know what I’m here to do.”
Schaefer also said his dedicated service to his martial arts community and his involvement in helping his community grow also played a part in his Hall of Fame induction.
“It’s not just having a school and saying, ‘great, you’re there.’ You are helping Karate live.”
The Martial Arts Hall of Fame was established in 1976 and contains approximately 900 inductees across the world. Schaefer is only the third inductee in the state of New Mexico.
In addition to teaching locals about the sport of Karate, Schaefer has been a partner in education with the city of Portales as well as doing work with St. Jude’s children with cancer.
“Teaching the kids these values and giving them this structure — it truly helps them become a more efficient person and a better man or woman,” Schaefer said.
Jonathan Tanner Pettite, 23, has been studying with Schaefer for about nine years.
“Since day one, it has definitely built my self confidence up. When I was a young man I couldn’t look somebody in the eye and say my name,” Pettite said. “From that aspect definitely the self confidence is probably the best thing it has given me.”
Davey Close, 27, has been practicing Karate for nearly 14 years and assists Schaefer with teaching kids.
“You can see the kids change and become more respectful,” Close said. “It’s just enough to make me very proud of what we do, knowing that we are helping people become better.”
“I’m here to raise champions,” Schaefer said. “To make those children have a little discipline and respect and teach them some integrity, honor and truth and make them better than what they ever thought they were.”
Schaefer also said how he believes Karate has helped him.
“(Karate) has made me a much better man,” Schaefer said. “It’s instilled patience and values that I believe are thrown out in America.”
“The biggest reward to me is being able to teach somebody that you are much stronger than you ever thought you could be — And it has nothing to do with breaking a board.”