John Wallace was born in Portsmouth, Virginia on May 14th, 1951. The son of a shipyard worker and a housewife, he began the study of martial arts at age seventeen when he joined the Tidewater Judo Club of (then) Norfolk, Virginia in1968. His main Sensei during his several years there was the legendary Hanshi and US Olympian Don Schneider, a judoka famous during that era for his mastery of mat technique and for his signature throw, tomoe-nage (somersault throw).
Hanshi Schneider worked with young John Wallace often for hours before regular classes began, as well as during the many twice-a-week classes then taking place in the old Central YMCA on Norfolk’s West Butte Street.
After a stint in the US Army, when John Wallace worked as a journalist, he attended Christopher Newport College in Newport News, Virginia, majoring in English and History. Afterwards, he spent many years in retail, first as a commissioned salesman, later as a department manager and finally as a retail store manager and Downtown Business Association President in Franklin, Virginia. Other jobs he held at various times included being the operator of a forklift on a lumber yard near Roanoke, Virginia and construction worker in Suffolk, Virginia. John Wallace has also published a small amount of poetry over the years and has written a number of freelance newspaper articles as well. In more recent years, John entered the ministry in the Free Methodist Church of North America and has served as an assistant Pastor at Phoenix Light and Life Free Methodist Church in Phoenix, Arizona and at Tucson First Free Methodist Church in Tucson, Arizona.
About 8 years ago, Hanshi Donald Miskel moved to Tucson, Arizona where John Wallace lives and went to work in security at a local hospital where John Wallace was already serving as head of security. Though John Wallace became Hanshi Miskel’s supervisor, Hanshi Miskel soon realized that John Wallace had some martial arts training in his past and offered to take him under his wing as a student if he would like. John Wallace had already learned from his talks with Hanshi Miskel that Hanshi’s knowledge of the martial arts was vast. And from working closely with Hanshi Miskel, he had occasion to observe Hanshi’s level of expertise. Based on these things, John Wallace quickly decided to resume his study of martial arts under Hanshi Miskel’s tutelage.
Currently ranked a Shodan in Dante Ryu, Goju Te Ai Kai Jitsu, John is Hanshi Miskel’s Ushi Deschi and the Regional Vice-president of the Black Lotus Martial Ats Association, Southwest USA.