Teaching karate and seeing his students succeed is rewarding for Master Brian Sackett.
Having spent nearly 30 years studying and teaching Tang Soo Do, he is recognized for his accomplishments.
Sackett recently accepted his induction into the International Tang Soo Do Federation Hall of Fame.
“The real reward is helping people succeed, watching them enjoy their lives, and seeing the obstacles they overcome,” Sackett said. “Even adults. I have adults who come here who have a lot of different difficulties, and I’m here to help them, just like the children. Adults realize that they can do so much more than they ever thought possible.
Sackett, 41, is the sole instructor at CS Kim Karate in Sarver. His dedication to karate is what earned Sackett the prestigious honor. Nonetheless, Sackett didn’t become a Hall of Famer overnight.
He started karate at the age of 12, inspired by films such as “Karate Kid” and “Rocky”.
Grandmaster CS Kim and Zak Szabo were Sackett’s rookie instructors in 1994. Sackett learned a lot from both of them, and he considers them great instructors.
“You walk out of there with confidence knowing you’ve learned something that’s going to be effective,” Sackett said. “There were times when I had to sit on the bench and wait a bit because my arms and legs were so tired. They taught tough classes, very tough classes, but that’s why a lot of people went there.
In 2000, just before graduating from Pittsburgh East high school, Sackett earned a black belt and said he put his blood, sweat and tears into the accomplishment.
After graduating, Sackett joined the Marines and served as a combat deputy for six years, training soldiers in close combat techniques and hand-to-hand combat. He was also in combat and made two tours in Iraq.
“They’re (the Marines) at the top of their game, and that’s what elite is,” Sackett said. “To trust someone with your life is on another level, so being with the Marines in combat was a great experience. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be in combat with anyone other than the Marines.
Sackett enjoyed the educational aspect in the Marines and how eager everyone was to learn.
“Whenever Marines teach other Marines, it’s like brothers teaching brothers,” he said. “You are a family, and what you teach them may help save their lives, so it’s more than just passing on information. We are always here to help each other. »
In 2006 Sackett returned to the United States and the first thing he wanted to do was start his own karate school.
“When I came back from overseas, I wanted and wanted to help people. I’ve always wanted to help people,” Sackett said. “With those overseas combat experiences, you realize how short life is, and that was one way I could definitely help people, teaching them how to protect themselves.”
In May 2008, Sackett took over CS Kim Karate in Natrona Heights and was guided by CS Kim through the process. Sackett also earned his 4th Dan Master’s belt in 2008.
He said his teaching helped him become more and more humble. Tang Soo Do leads to humility and is a selfless form of martial arts. It’s what drives Sackett to keep teaching. He said he enjoyed teaching others, but most importantly, he enjoyed learning and being taught by others.
“With all the lessons, I learned how to be a better person by interacting with people and teaching them, but also learning from them,” Sackett said. “Here, we help each other. We help each other grow in Tang Soo Do and in life. We are always here to help each other.
In 2014, Sackett moved the school from Natrona Heights to Sarver. In 2020, he received his 5th Dan Master belt with the help of CS Kim.
All of his hard work has paid off and he is honored in the upper echelon of Tang Soo Do.
“It’s quite an achievement, and I’m so honored to be one of the many wonderful Hall of Famers who have gone before me,” Sackett said. “It’s truly an honor.”
Many have motivated Sackett throughout his career. Despite his efforts to improve, he is grateful to those who have helped him throughout his career.
“Master Kim, Zak Szabo, my friends, my family, everyone had a helping hand,” Sackett said. “It takes a whole village, and everyone has contributed to this success where I am, and I’m continually grateful for that and I never forget those people.”
Sackett said his No. 1 supporter is his mother, Elsie. He said she instilled a mentality to always improve and do better.
His father, William, passed away in January, but he will be forever grateful. Sackett was motivated by his father because he served in the US military and was an inspiration to him.
Sackett continues to instruct, teaching four to five classes a day and plans to continue pushing himself.
Teaching may be Sackett’s top priority, but he also enjoys participating in practice tournaments. He and his team recently won a Grand Champion Cup in sparring.
Sackett wants to continue making an impact in Tang Soo Do and in life in general.
“What people remember is how you treat them,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you have a grand champion trophy or a third place trophy or if you haven’t been ranked at all, are you a good person? That’s really what it’s all about. My friends, they are not my friends because I have a cup of grand champion.They are my friends because of the way I treat them, and that is the most important thing.