Vail Valley’s Inyodo endorses a way of life |

Vail Valley’s Inyodo endorses a way of life

Derek Franz
Vail, CO Colorado
Eagle Valley EnterpriseBlack belt students train at the new Inyodo branch dojo in downtown Eagle last week.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Jason Field is slow to talk at first. He slips off his shoes and starts walking around on the mat inside the unfinished dojo – Inyodo Martial Art’s new branch in Eagle. Only then do the words start to come.

His bare feet begin springing, sliding, kicking around on the blue floor. His brown eyes go somewhere else and his stories begin to unfurl like roundhouse kicks: captivating, flowing, full of belief. It almost doesn’t seem to matter if anyone is there to see or listen.

“Your mind and emotions do the same thing your body does,” he says. “Your body gets sick, hurt – everything – and your mind does, too, but it’s not as easy to notice. Martial arts helps you to understand it; your body reflects your mind and emotions.”

Inyodo teaches taekwondo, kickboxing, aerobic kickboxing and Brazilian jiujitsu. The school has expanded to Eagle from popular demand. Class age groups range from pee wees (3 1/2 years old) to adults. It’s not uncommon for someone to grow up in the dojo. Field did.

He punches the air in a quick one-two and rolls around to kick in the opposite direction as he speaks. He’s not even thinking, just doing. His foot lands and his sequence flows into a forward kick, which he halts mid-air at the edge of the mat, perfectly controlled. He relaxes.

“Everything I’ve learned is through martial arts. Everything I have is from martial arts,” he says in a deep breath.

Field met his wife, Kim, in a Los Angeles dojo. She moved to Eagle County with him in 2002 and they started Inyodo Martial Arts in Avon, which quickly grew and had to relocate to Edwards in 2004. Now, they’ve started another branch in Eagle – at 217 Broadway – and they have two sons, ages 2 years and 9 months, who Field said train with him.

“Well, the 9-month-old crawls around on the mat, but that’s where it starts,” Field said with a laugh.

Kim and her father are also Inyodo instructors.

“We say, families who kick together stay together,” Field said.

In fact, Kim, 34, grew up in a dojo as well – her dad started one in Rhode Island in the early 1980s.

Jason Field, 40, was pulled into taekwondo when he was 16, living in Virginia Beach. He grew up with Bruce Lee movies, but it was a black guy with dreadlocks that really got Field into martial arts. Three years older than Field, Taekwon was a good friend.

“What drew me to him was his ability and humility,” Field said. “He wasn’t the biggest, but he was the strongest and could do things no one else could.”

Taekwon’s dad took Field under his wing and began teaching him in his garage.

“I meddled in garage taekwondo until I was 18,” Field said with a chuckle. “I picked it up again when I moved to L.A.”

That’s when he began training under Grandmaster Jun Chong, who is now 68 and still in close touch with Field. Field calls that time his “formative years.”

Since then he has starred in a movie – “Maximum Cage Fighting” which won a best-action award when it debuted in 2007. He had to do some acting as “the principle character” but he said it came naturally.

“For me, I did it for the experience,” he said. “I got to go to Brazil and see legendary gyms.”

Besides his tutelage of kids and adults, Field has also coached and trained with world-class fighters, such as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who was awarded “best fight of 2009” in all mixed martial arts. Cerrone is ranked the No. 1 lightweight in World Extreme Cagefighting and will be fighting for a belt this April.

Other renowned martial artists make regular appearances at Inyodo, too, such as Duane Ludwig. Ludwig has the fastest knockout in Ultimate Fighting Championship history.

“Those guys come here for the discipline and camaraderie our school provides,” Field said.

He is obviously proud of what his pro affiliates are doing, but he also expresses the same enthusiasm for his pee-wee classes. There is a subtle but strong sort of family value demonstrated among Inyodo participants.

Paul Massei is an instructor for Inyodo and has been with the program eight years. His kids, 10 and 17, participate, too.

“We consider Mr. Field and Ms. Kim family,” said Massei. “Sometimes, after a testing, we’ll go for dinner afterwards.”

Field mentions several times the core values of martial arts: hard work, discipline, perseverance and respect – the necessity to get along.

“If you do it right, it teaches you the common denominator for success in life,” he said.

A dad with a couple boys walks through the door later in the night. They’re just dropping in for a look. Field shakes their hands equally, looking each in the eye.

Everything about his demeanor suggests he is sensitive to others. In fact, the biggest challenge is getting him to discuss himself. He is quick to talk sincerely about everyone else.

“That new person that walks in, you have to teach them.” he said. “They are as important as anyone else. You have to teach them and teach them well so that you can have a partner to train with.”

According to Field, life is all about the mental state in which it’s approached.

“Kicking and punching is the most infantile thing you can do,” he said. “With focus and discipline, though, a punch becomes more. It’s about the attitude you take while practicing it.”

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