Blog Martial Arts Our Community

Alberto’s Dream

Alberto is one of our newest students. He’s thirteen and doesn’t speak English. He was born in California but his dad had to take him back to Mexico when he was 6 months old. He’s back in California now and will probably be here for a couple of years before returning to Mexico.

When we sat down to get him enrolled it was his dad, who understood most of what I said, his cousin Jonathan, who translated, Alberto and myself. I told them our story as Jonathan translated and then I asked them to tell me their story. I wanted to know why Alberto, at age thirteen, couldn’t speak English, and why he wanted to take karate.

Up to this point Alberto had sat in the meeting quietly, not saying a word. I asked Jonathan to ask him why he wanted to learn karate. At first he gave a perfunctory answer, he liked the movements. Okay, but I wanted to know more, I wanted to know why he wanted to learn the movements and what he intended to do with his knowledge and skill once he got it.

That’s when Alberto told me his dream. He wanted to learn karate so that he could go back to Mexico, open a karate school, and teach other kids. He didn’t know the movements but he did know that karate’s secrets empower those who practiced the art and he wanted to help other kids.

As I listened to Alberto through Jonathan’s translation I started wanting to help him. In a bigger sense Alberto was showing me the power of a dream and how a dream can move others to take action. Alberto is no different than any of the other students we have here at Shotokan Karate Leadership School. All of them have dreams. But dreams can get lost, trampled on and pushed aside if we don’t make them real through goals, and have a strong commitment to achieve them. This is how we make the world a better place… one small dream from one soon-to-be young man inspires others to dream their own dreams, set their own goals, and develop a strong commitment to achieve those goals.


Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981 with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.