5880 Highway 74 West | Indian Trail, NC  28079

Instructor of the Year

Below is a Letter from Mr. Steve Snyder to Sensei Sparks and his students. Enjoy!

“Sensei Sparks and Students:

This past weekend marked an enormous milestone for you and the academy as Sensei Sparks was awarded the Joe Lewis Fighting Systems Instructor of the Year award. This is one of the most prestigious awards presented by the association. Mr. Joe Lewis was the most accomplished martial artist in the world. His foresight and teachings have brought learning martial arts to where they are today and the future.

Mr. Lewis was a teacher of teachers who regularly said, “fighters come and go, but teachers will be around forever.” His thought, teachers are the people who will carry on his legacy on fighting methodologies; they are the continued future. The Instructor of the Year award recipient is understood to be the best teacher from the best instructor.

The Joe Lewis Fighting Systems is comprised of the best instructors and fighters around the globe. Many of them have produced numerous legitimate world champions in boxing, kickboxing, and martial arts. Additionally, an abundant amount of members have won legitimate world championships and fought on the most recognized stages. Regardless of their martial arts background, each black belt comprehends Mr. Lewis’ teachings and has the ability to execute them. Sensei Sparks is not only one of their peers; he is now considered one of the best within the group. Mr. Joe Lewis regularly talked about people being the “first” to accomplish certain things; people always remember the “first” to do something.

When I personally received this award, it had a larger significance, as my fight instructor, Mr. Danny Dring, had previously been a recipient. This meant Mr. Dring was not only a great instructor for students; he was now considered a trainer of well- accomplished teachers. It also made Mr. Dring the first instructor to have a student receive this award.

As Sensei Sparks received Instructor of the Year, he set another “first” for the Joe Lewis legacy. Sensei Sparks made me the second instructor to have a student receive this award, but the first to have a lineage of three to mark this accomplishment. lewisaward3 Instructors are satisfied of their accomplishments and awards, but honored when their students reach large achievements in their career. Sensei Sparks receiving Instructor of the Year is one of the proudest moments in my martial arts career.

I am overwhelmed with pride for Sensei Sparks and his students on this recognition. The students, at Sparks Martial Arts, should share the pride in this award as your efforts help make this possible. I want to thank Sensei Sparks for entrusting and honoring me to be his instructor.

Gratitude also goes to all of his students who do the same with him every day. There are simply not enough words to truly explain how thrilled I am for Sensei Sparks and his academy. I am confident and look forward to seeing more great things accomplished from everyone at Sparks Martial Arts.

Steve Snyder
5th Degree – Joe Lewis Fighting Systems
3rd Degree – Superfoot Wallace Systems
1st Degree – Robson Moura Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Published on Mar 10, 2012

In Celebration of National Joe Lewis Day, I would like to share this video I presented at the Je Lewis research Conference last October In Tampa Florida. It features rare footage of the first Knockout in full contact fighting in North America. This historic video tells the story of how Joe Lewis, who was training with Bruce Lee at the time, bucked convention and moved the sport into the future by fighting in the first full contact fight in north america against Greg Baines. The year was 1970 the event was the first US pro Team championships promoted by Lee Faulkner.
This historic event forever shaped the future of martial arts sports by, for the first time, allowing the fighters to fight to a knockout.

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