Mike Stephens - Vice President
Mike Stephens began his journey in Kenpo in 2000 in New Bedford, Massachusetts under 6th Degree black belt Leo Lacerte, a pioneer in the art of Kenpo in New England.
At the end of the third year of training, Mike and his family moved to Colorado and continued his training with Mr. Lacerte with in-person training, as well as video training. During the next three years, Mr. Stephens helped Mr. Lacerte produce the "Ed Parker's Basic Fundamentals" book, which was published in 2010.
In 2006, Mr. Stephens began supplementing his training locally under one of Master Mohammad Tabatabai's students, 5th-degree black belt Sifu Ken Lindorff, ultimately earning his 2nd Degree Brown belt. Mr. Lindorff also trained in the art of Chin-Na, which began Mike's interest in joint locks, manipulation, and ground fighting.
In 2007, Ken Lindorff moved to Utah, so Mr. Stephens continued his training solely through Mr. Lacerte's guidance, who had awarded him his apprentice black belt in May of 2008, and his first-degree black belt on April 29th, 2009.
In the fall of 2010, Mr. Stephens began training under Mr. Joe Ellerin, a 4th-degree black belt under the lineage of Joe Polonzo and Gabe Valez. Mr. Stephens trained extensively under Mr. Ellerin and eventually opened the first commercial Kenpo Karate school in western Colorado.
In 2012, Mr. Stephens and his school joined the Ohana Kenpo Karate Association under Mr. Rich Hale, who would become an important part of Mr. Stephens' Kenpo journey moving forward. Under the guidance of Mr. Ellerin, Mr, Lacerte, and Mr. Hale, together, Mr. Stephens was awarded his 2nd Degree Black Belt on November 24th, 2012.
Shortly after earning his second degree Black Belt, Mr. Stephens began a new journey into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Gracie Barra school in Grand Junction, Colorado. In April of 2016, Mike Stephens earned his blue belt under Kevin Lewis.
In 2013, directly after the untimely passing of Mr. Leo Lacerte, Mr. Hale had transitioned into Mr. Stephens' full time personal instructor and mentor. Over the next few years, Mr. Hale designated Mr. Stephens as the Ohana Kenpo Karate Association's Vice President. During this time, Mr. Stephens and the Ohana board traveled to locations around the nation, teaching seminars on the art of Kenpo.
On March 18, 2017, Mr. Hale awarded Mike Stephens with his 3rd degree Black Belt in front of his students and peers. Currently Mr. Stephens is on his 9th year of running a successful commercial school in the art of Kenpo and continues to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.