Who is Denny Strecker?
I did a Facebook Live Video being interviewed by one of my parents and we discussed a variety of things about my kids karate classes and how they have helped hundreds of children become the best version of themselves possible. You can watch the video below or read the transcript if you prefer to learn about some of my background, history and mindset when it comes to working with children. Click the link below to watch the video.
Andy: Let’s see, see if my… Bring the sensei on here and see how to do it. Let’s see here [inaudible 00:00:20]. Boo boo boo.
Group: Hey. Hey.
Andy: What’s going on? Let’s get my man. The man, the myth, the legend here, on here. Hold on. Denny, yup. Jump on instead of [inaudible 00:00:45] did you see that? Hey! Look how official you look!
Denny: Like that.
Andy: Let me see, let me try to get both of us in there. At least get the pretty one in there, right?
Denny: You go on behind screen then.
Andy: [inaudible 00:00:56] Well, I’m super excited let me get my questions pulled up here and we’ll kick it off, alright?
Andy: Let me see what I got here. Brittany’s going to try to keep track of all the questions and stuff so at the end of this we’re going to open it up for question and answers, right?
Andy: Alright. So, I’m super super excited. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. I know we had to do this after classes, because you’re a man of the people, right?
Andy: So, just real quick. Everybody, this is, if you don’t know, [inaudible 00:01:35] this is Denny Strecker. I’ll let him talk a little bit about his story, but I just wanna kinda briefly talk about how we got to this point. Everybody knows I’m a social media guy. I put something on Facebook a couple months ago. Tristan is at the age, he’s seven, in August [inaudible 00:01:54] eight years old. Tristan has come to the age where he needs to start being active and doing something.
Denny: He’s quiet, he’s a quiet kid. He’s never been involved in any sort of activities because I started out as a single mom and I was busy so I never really had time to do all that at the same time. So he was never really involved in a lot of social stuff other than school. So we asked him what he wanted to do. We said, “If you have to choose something, what do you want to do?” And originally he said nothing.
Andy: I said that’s not an option, you’re doing something.
Denny: We said you have to pick an activity. We listed a couple options and he’s always kind of been into martial arts. So we said alright, you’re gonna try Karate and we’ll give it a shot and see how it goes and so Andy posted something on Facebook asking for recommendations and we had multiple people bring up Denny. And that’s how it went.
Andy: That was the thing. Everybody’s always like I’m not a researcher and Brittany’s Dad’s a researcher. Brittany’s Dad’s always like … and sent me links and stuff and I was like I’ll just ask Facebook. They’ll… Facebook will say anything. So anyways, now relying on Facebook because after seeing Denny’s name pop up over and over and over and over again in my comments, I said “Brittany..
Denny: Denny must be good.
Andy: There’s the winner. So we enrolled Tristan. Got him up for some free stuff. He was scared at first, he started to go after sitting through several classes and seeing what it’s done for Tristan, I’m like wow. Like this is some stuff that I wish I was taught when I was like … I’m like always kinda like acting like I’m on my phone when I’m listening a little bit. And I’m like seriously, and I’m not blowing smoke, like I’m seriously like wow I wish somebody would have taught me this stuff when I was eight years old right?
Denny: Yeah, I mean, right away with the first class, I remember I already felt like everybody that was recommending him to him. I just thought I loved watching Denny with the kids. I loved watching Tristan be involved and just great … You know it comes with morals and all sorts of stuff. So, with that being said.
Andy: Yeah, so I mean, it’s been crazy. I appreciate… because I said you know what, the world’s gotta hear from this guy and I think everybody should know more about you and a lot of my following I think should kind of realize that there’s all kinds of walks of life and you can start at any age. So let’s start off a little bit about your background and how you got started in the whole martial arts.
Denny: That’s the long long story. I’ll write the short version is that I have a older brother, about five years older than me, and he started learning it when he went off to college and when he came home on the weekends, he would demonstrate on me. So, wouldn’t help, wouldn’t teach. He’d just say hey, look at this new move, and then throw me or pin me or something, so that was the first introduction. And then of course, my generation growing up was martial arts theater. Saturday nights at 11p.m. and learning all about Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee and seeing all the really cool movies and just instantly fell in love with the strength and the body protection and movements that they would do in the movies. So from that stage it was pretty much the art and the love. Parents basically said nope, we’re not signing you up for martial arts because back then you’re talking early to mid 80’s so it was certainly a very mysterious thing back then.
So I grew up here and Troy and one of the big events is the Troy Days Fair. So we went to that every single fall. When it came up in … after I graduated high school, there was, at the fair, a Karate demonstration and they handed out a flyer. Signed up the next weekend and then often running and martial arts 25 years later and still going strong.
Andy: [inaudible 00:05:40] That’s crazy right, 25 years.
Andy: I’m not gonna tell you how old I was when you were at the fair that day.
Denny: That’s right.
Andy: So, I mean, I guess real quick, I just want to touch base, you know, I don’t want to make you say your accomplishments, but touch base on you didn’t start when you were three. It’s not like your mom Anne, lovely lady, also in case anybody’s wondering, Anne told him “No” at first and now Anne has been to almost every one of his kid’s belt testings. She’s only missed one, correct?
Denny: Yes, just when she was sick. But for about 15 to 20 years she has hit every single, so has my father, every single belt testing that the school has.
Andy: So, quick, just a quick thing, before the day [inaudible 00:06:23] Karate and Troy and after that day at the fair, what sort of accomplishments and stuff have you racked up on your belt? No pun intended.
Denny: Basically the short history would be, I started training and got my first black belt about two years after. So from 87 to about 89. So my first black belt was in Tae Kwon Do. Didn’t really like the system after that, they didn’t really have a real clear path, so I jumped to another system. Went ahead two years, got my black belt in that. Same idea, again, people at the time, back in the 80s and 90s didn’t really have a plan after black belt. So I did that a couple more times. So, at this point, I now have six … I’m a six degree black belt. I have black belts in Tae Kwon Do, Tun Su Do, Shoringiru, and American Karate, so four or five different systems.
I competed on the national circuit for about six to seven years. I got to third in the world in weapons competition, fifth in the world in forms, and fifth in the world in sparring. That was a whole lifetime ago and seems like a very distant memory. Ended up writing a book, I have a best selling book on Amazon of how to double your child’s confidence in just 30 days. Worked for an organization, so after I got my first black belt I was going to Wayne State and finished my degree there in Criminal Justice. But while I was going to college I was looking for a part time job. Found an ad for the local Karate school and started teaching and just kept growing into a bigger program.
Andy: So, I think that it’s crazy because I didn’t even realize about the book. I know you kind of plugged that a few times when you started Karate but I don’t pay attention to anything. So, how did you go from Karate to doing the book? I mean, did you always know you wanted to work with kids? I mean, what kind of [inaudible 00:08:11].
Denny: No, actually the many funny stories that it’s the polar opposite. So, if you talk to any of my students from 20, 25 years ago, I was dead set against teaching kids. So I was always handing off the kids classes to whatever instructors or whoever whatever teachers I could find because I really didn’t enjoy it when I was much younger. So it pretty much has become a love as I’ve grown and mostly just because of the education so I didn’t teach the classes because I was unconsciously was afraid of it because I didn’t really have a curriculum for kids. And now we specialize in kids and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Andy: That’s crazy, what was the name of that book again?
Denny: How to Double Your Child’s Confidence in Just 30 Days.
Andy: And I see, like seven people already said I need that book. Where do they get that book at?
Denny: It’s number one best seller on Amazon. So, if they go to amazon and they put in Denny Strecker, they can find it right there and you can order it in a e-book for 99 cents on kindle. You don’t have to have a kindle, you can use their free e-reader if you just want to pay 99 cents or you can get a hard copy for $6.95 or come by the Karate school and see me in person and we’ll get you one.
Andy: Oh and autograph it, right?
Andy: Okay, so what, I mean I guess, [inaudible 00:09:29] How did you go, I know you saw the ad about the Karate School. How did you go from that to realizing that you, this is what you were meant to do? I know you’ve got the criminal justice degree. I didn’t know that until about 30 seconds ago, but that’s unreal like … so I guess, what made you make the leap and realize this was your love and this is what you wanted to do and have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur or was it more of, you kind of found your path and exploded?
Denny: A combination of both, so the entrepreneur aspect, there’s always been that type of bug. I’ve had a job every day of my life since 5th or 6th grade. I started off with mowing yards in the subdivision and literally had people a half mile away, so I would be walking my push mower all the way across to their yard, mow it, and then push it all the way back. So that, you know that started. And then doing odd jobs for the subdivisions until I could drive. Started delivering pizzas, so I’ve just had a whole host of jobs that way.
As I got older, just found that working for people didn’t really work so well for me. Being … if things don’t make sense I have a hard time following the rule when it doesn’t make sense, so I found that I would probably be better to be my own boss and the martial arts just kind of fell in line with that. I started teaching at an elementary school after school program. I did well on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so they gave me another one so then I was doing that four nights a week, which then, the organization then promoted me into a what we call a professional school. Once I started there, I pretty much knew there wasn’t going to be any other path for me. So that was, that was probably like 1993, 92, so since then I knew that this was going to be everything I wanted.
Andy: That’s awesome. It’s an honor. I lost track of my notes, I was getting so sucked in. I mean that’s it. I mean its always been, whether he’s pushing the mower or pushing kids to find their inner strength. I mean, that’s the biggest thing. And I don’t want to go too far off the grid here, but, I mean what do you get the most joy out of the kids side of it? You know, because I know you said at first [inaudible 00:11:45] there’s no way in heck I’m gonna do this. I don’t want to deal with all these kids. And now, Brittany and I are in there two, three nights a week and there’s 80 kids crawling off the ceiling in there. So how do you make that leap, and what do you find the most joy in doing that?
Denny: I think the … there’s so many possibilities. I don’t think there’s just any one thing because it’s a whole menagerie of awesomeness. But I would, I think probably the biggest thing is showing a child that they can. The whole society, for kids and adults, there’s what we call, and you guys may have heard me talk about it in classes a coupe times, about the glass ceiling, and society as a whole and people are always so negative and they don’t want others to be successful. And so, at a young age, kids are basically taught, “Don’t do well, don’t strive for better, don’t stand out.” And so, I do the exact opposite, and so when a child realizes, “Wow, I can do this.” And you see that light bulb go on and just that smile on their face, I think that’s priceless.
Andy: I love and you know what’s funny, that’s one of my … I Tell everybody I come in contact with, that’s one of my favorite things. I remember one of the first classes you told one of the kids, you want to see how high they could kick. You know what I mean?
Andy: And you held your hand right there, and like, “Oh this is as high as I can go,” and then you like stopped them and talked to them for a second and then you stretched your leg out even higher and then you had your hand at the same spot, then they’re kicking way up here. I can, like you said, you can literally see their mind just blow and I love that you stop and compare that to life, I mean that’s like real. That’s when I’m like [inaudible 00:13:25] “You should see,” … Because I was always the one taking a trip and crying like “You should see this guy, it’s crazy, it’s like”
Denny: You know, it’s funny when you look at what you teach for kids and like our business that we run. It’s … We’ll come home after class where we took him like “Oh my gosh, they’re talking about the same stuff we talk to our team about.” Like, the goals, and the positivity, and it’s just everything you want your kids to be taught. Like at school they don’t do.
Andy: At 8 years old.
Denny: Yes, but it’s what they need.
Andy: Sitting down and talking about what is trustworthy and kindness and all that stuff. You make them give you a description and then everyone can kind of hear. I just love all that stuff. So, that is a nonstop grind. We’re in your funnel now, your information funnel. For me, when I’m off on an island, it’s easy to kind of get down on myself and stuff like that. How do you, after 25 years, in 1996, or whenever it was, these kids, like, I mean, how do you find yourself staying motivated and driven on a daily basis?
Denny: I think that’s certainly the challenge everybody has, on the planet, and even actually we all have our off days and our bad days, but I think the main focus is being able to minimize those and when you have them, take a breath, step back, acknowledge it, and then just get back to it the next day. So for myself, it’s a balance of a lot of things. I find making sure that I get my work outs in, so it’s easy when I start teaching classes, there’s probably 8 to 10 years after.
So, when I was competing on the national circuit, it was literally 3 to 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, practicing my craft in order to be able to compete. So, going to that extreme, when I stopped competing, I fell to the other extreme and just stopped doing everything. Probably gained 60 to 70 pounds. Was truly out of shape. And so then that made me feel lethargic, and unhappy, and bad, so now I found that middle ground. So, 2 to 3 days a week, 5:00-6:00am, I’m at the gym. And if I want to go is irrelevant, because I need to get my workout time in because when I feel better inside and about my body, then my mind feels better. When my mind feels better, then my spirit feels better, and you just keep the ball rolling that way. Sometimes it’s crank up your favorite song and dance like nobody’s watching even if somebody is.
Andy: I’ll watch.
Denny: Other times it’s just a sit down. You’ll watch? And sometimes it’s literally just find what your motivation is. Find what your happy places is and it can be something different for everybody. It might just be sitting quietly on the couch for ten minutes and just reflecting. Talking to a good friend, and being able to have a support, and I think that’s another huge thing. My parents are phenomenal and have been a huge support system for me through every good and every bad time. So being able to find what works for you, and if something’s not working, being able to change it to find what does now.
Andy: Slowing down a little bit there.
Andy: Whoah. Alright, well we’ll give Denny a second to buffer back up.
Denny: Uh oh.
Andy: You back? There he is. Hey, How are you?
Denny: Hey man, sorry. Man, I gave my best piece of advice right there, too. That was worse.
Andy: I know [inaudible 00:17:04] you’re cutting out again. Hold on one second. Alright, what was … I’ll let you off and tell you what I asked you for your best piece of advice again in a second. We’ll let it buffer back up. I just want to touch base on your mom real quick and let everybody know. I see a couple people dropped off because of that little skip there, but we’re gonna open up for a question and answer at the end of this. I see a lot of good comments. Erin’s on here, I see Caroline’s on here, Jen’s on here asking questions. Guys, we’re gonna open up for a question and answer so drop your questions if you wanted to ask Denny anything before I end this video. Drop your questions now in the comments. But, I’m gonna go back to your mom telling you “No,” and then being a huge support system because when I met your mom, it was at a belt testing, and next thing I know, I had major surgery, and I look up and there’s some woman with her face pressed against the glass in my hospital room.
Denny: That’s right.
Andy: And I said, “Where do I know that woman from?” And she came in, it was your mom, she came in to check on me in the hospital and she said, “Denny told me you were here, and wanted me to check on you,” and everything else. How clutch is that then to you to have this amazing support system like your mom and your parents?
Denny: Absolutely phenomenal and I think everybody needs it. Nobody can be successful as an island. Everybody has to have a team. So I’ve been blessed to still enjoy my parents extremely. If you don’t have that luxury, if you don’t have the relationship with your parents, then hopefully it’s a significant other, or a sibling, or a friend. Everybody needs somebody.
Andy: Yeah, and touching on that, if you could offer, I think parenting is a big struggle, I missed you the one night at parent’s night. I was going to ask you some questions because my thing is I have a short fuse, a short attention span.
Denny: What? No.
Andy: And I see real quick with, Yeah Yeah, so I see real quick [inaudible 00:19:00] And I tell everybody, I’m new to being a parent too, and I just want, like any other parent in the world, I want the absolute best for my kid. I mean, if you could offer one piece of advice to parents trying to not only develop their kids, but develop themselves at the same time, what would that be?
Denny: Oh boy, I have lots of number ones. So, probably off the top of my head I think the biggest thing would be consistency, that a lot of times parents aren’t consistent in their parenting skill or parenting style and it’s going to confuse the child. More than that, I think it would be, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Everybody is doing the best that they can. So, there’s no such thing really as a bad parent if they’re trying the best for their kids.
Andy: Why is… I don’t know why it’s breaking up [inaudible 00:20:09]. He’s back. I can hear him. Yeah, it’s like …
Denny: You can hear me now?
Andy: It’s, you know what it is, the cliff hanger, the commercial? Right before the guy drives off the cliff, the cut to a commercial, that’s what we’re doing right now, just making sure everybody’s watching.
Andy: I can see your hand.
Denny: Well, what we can do is we will make sure, yep.
Andy: There we go.
Denny: [inaudible 00:20:31] You got me back now?
Denny: I plugged back in, I plugged my phone it, but maybe that will help. Anything anybody misses, we’ll certainly, I will type out in the comments and or follow. So, I think the biggest thing for parents, if you missed it, was “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” That, you’re not a bad parent, as long as you’re trying to do your best.
Andy: That’s it, and consistency.
Andy: I love that too because I’m all over the map, so, for me I guess I’m trying consistently not to be a jerk. So that’s what I’ll try to do. Let me see if there’s any, do we have any stuff in the comments. I don’t know if anybody’s really done any question and answer. You know what, we can, the comment feed will continue to go for a while.
Andy: Just check out dennystrecker.com. I’ll put the link in the comments too, before the event page goes away tonight, but if you guys have any comments for Denny, just jump on. But, I’m not just saying this live, because we’re live on Facebook today, but you’re doing an awesome job with the kids and I am truly grateful, yeah.
Denny: I mean I’m grateful. And thank you yeah. I mean, just seeing Tristan … It’s funny we went to conferences with his teacher and it was the same stuff that we try to work on at school, but one of the big things was he doesn’t like to be wrong, he doesn’t like to participate because he’s afraid of trying, he doesn’t like to raise his hand. And now, a couple months into Karate, he’s raising his hand to do the student creed in front of 20 people and I…
Denny: That was awesome.
Andy: It’s been a while.
Denny: So I mean, it’s only been a couple months and it’s a huge difference already. He’s practicing, and it’s something he enjoys. I don’t even have to tell him to practice. Before, 5 minutes before we were setting up for this live, and he says, “Mom I want to practice stage one four, can we do it real quick?” And he just enjoys doing it, and as a parent, it’s great to see your kid not only excel at something, but enjoy practicing and want to be better at something and have goals and just becoming an all around better person in life and seeing him learn and grow and be successful.
Andy: Just like you talked about too, Denny, with consistency, I mean if those are some of the same practices we’re trying to instill at home, it’s just, it’s great. I love it.
Denny: Me too.
Andy: Yeah, I mean, the Karate School has moved from a activity to a necessity as far as we’re concerned. I honestly appreciate it, I love it, I tell everybody constantly, I plug it all the time. I got people on here that are all the way out in St. Claire. I tell them, bring your kids, sleepover at my house, I don’t care what it is, so. Anyways, we’re gonna cut it off here. Denny, you got any last minute words of wisdom or any kind of a Kung Fu spell you can put on us before you go?
Denny: I do not have any Kung Fu spell, but definitely appreciate your input and I am blessed to have you guys as part of our Karate family. And I think what you just mentioned is the perfect example, that Tristan is a perfectionist, and a lot of kids fall into that same category, so you’re not alone with that struggle, and that’s what we try to teach parents is that everybody feels frustrated because they think it’s their kid. And it’s not their kid, it’s lots of kids, and people don’t see my program yet as a solution because they just think it’s Karate, so doing things like this and having help from you guys to spread the word, I think will be able to help a whole lot more kids in the community. I just got hired by Royal Oak School District to come in and start working with their kids in the next couple months, so I’m really excited to get that rolling.
Denny: Tristan’s super excited. He said if [inaudible 00:24:05] to my school, I’m gonna tell everybody I know.
Andy: Like “That’s my man! I know him!”
Andy: No, that’s it. Yeah, you crushed it. We honestly appreciate everything, Tristan is, we can see a change in a couple of months and that’s priceless in my mind, right?
Denny: Awesome, and we’re just getting started.
Andy: Oh, that’s my line, you stole my line. Alright, I’m gonna drop the mic on that note. Thanks Denny. I’m gonna have everybody, if you have any questions for Denny, ask him in the comments and he’ll be watching them tonight.
Andy: After tonight, the event will go away, but feel free to add Denny on Facebook, like his page, and everything else. Alright? Thanks guys.
Denny: Have a good night.