Meet Master Nick Bradley
Nick Bradley was born in 1975 to Carol and John Bradley in the state of New Jersey. Soon after, the Bradley family moved to Lawtey, Florida where he grew up on his grandparents’ farm. At the age of 12, the Bradley family ventured out on their own and moved to a small town in Florida called Keystone Heights. Here in this small one light town of lakes is where his adventures truly begin.
While Nick spent much of his free time outside, he was not very athletic nor was he really into sports. Fishing, Hunting, and Camping were relatively common activities, but he also spent a great deal of time reading, drawing, and watching martial arts movies. The challenge here is, this did contribute much to keeping in shape. Nick was given directions by his father that he needed to find some more active extracurricular activities to get involved in and since he respects his parents’ wishes, Nick joins the football team and the marching band. Of course, at this point its junior varsity, so the two do not conflict with each other. Sadly, Nick and the football team were just not meant to mix. It didn’t take long before he realized that he just did not belong in that circle and quit the team.
Not too long after, while riding through town with his father, Nick noticed a little dance studio with a sign on it for a newly opening martial arts school. Later that night while eating dinner with the family, he asks if he can take Karate lessons. His father agrees with one condition; you can’t just quit like you did the football team. Nick quickly agrees and that very week his father takes him back to that school and gets him signed up. This is where he first meets, master at the time, Jae Jeannotte. Nick had no idea why, but it just felt right. This unknown master of a martial art that he had never heard of in a tiny school in this middle of nowhere town was the beginning of something amazing that would be with him for the rest of his life.
From that day on, Nick trained with Master Jae as much as possible. At first it was once a week and then twice, then eventually training at home as well whenever time allowed. Eventually that little school closed shop and training moved to wherever they could plant their feet. Sometimes it was the Keystone Beach pier, the park, Master Jae’s back yard and/or living room until they finally had a new school in Gainesville, Florida. This went on for many years spanning high school and even college. By the age of 18, Nick had finally earned his black belt and eventually went on to help teach for the next couple years, even managing to put a few stripes on that belt. More important than any belt or rank, however, was the relationship the two had built through both good times and the hard ones.
Eventually, that day came when Nick had to walk his own path. He was soon to be married and enlisted in the U.S. Army joining the Military Police Corps. While trying his best to keep in touch, what felt like only a few years flew by lightning fast and eventually Nick and the man that he considered his second father lost touch. After 5 years in the U.S. Army, Nick took on a new career getting in on the cusp of the beginning of the world of cyber security while becoming a rather hard-core weightlifter in his spare time, all the while raising a family with his wife and twin daughters. Amidst all this, martial arts training never stopped. Nick even trained his wife and daughters over the years.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, specifically social media, Nick and now Grandmaster Jae have been reunited. It was an amazing rekindling of companionship and while it has been approximately 35 years since Nick first walked into that little school, it seems like it was only yesterday. Training continues and life soldiers on. That, however, is another story.
Note: On April 18, 2023, Master Bradley received the appointment to the position of USA Hapkido Union Georgia State Director.