Erika Potter, a Native American from the Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico, has been involved in martial arts since 1987. At age 15, she started training in the art of Chinese Kenpo under the direction of Mr. Larry Hamilton. When she started her martial arts journey, she was simply the “big sister” driving her little brother to his karate class. She would sit and wait until finally, one day she decided to join in on the fun. She trained until she graduated from high school and began working two jobs to help her mother with the bills while going to college to obtain her Criminal Justice Associates Degree. She had the desire to join the State Police Academy alongside her childhood friend, but life happened, and she had to switch gears.
For some years, she needed to redirect her energy to focus on being a good mom for her son, Markus. One day, though, she took Markus for a run and found that her instructor had relocated his Kenpo studio near her neighborhood. She got back to training and eventually met her future husband, Tony Potter. Not long after they married, they were driving in the nearby town of Albuquerque and happened to make a wrong turn. This wrong term led them to a Jeff Speakman Kenpo 4.0 School. They quickly went in to chat with the school owner and learned about a seminar that weekend. They haven’t looked back since.
Erika is a mom to three wonderful children – Markus, D’Kota, and Skye – and she considers her children to be one of her greatest accomplishments. She tells everyone, though, that she has at least 100+ children, and even though she can be tough on her students, she cares dearly for each and every one of them.
Erika is the office manager for both of the family businesses: Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0 Santa Fe which opened in 2003 and TurboTek, LLC – a restaurant hood exhaust cleaning business that her husband established in 1994.
Erika has been nominated and accepted into the FBI Citizens Academy. Though Erika wasn’t able to pursue and fulfill her dream of becoming a police officer, she was able to help her best friend, who was a major in the State Police department, with the training of cadets. Erika also assists her husband Tony with seminars for the local corrections department, public school P.E. programs, community health fairs, and church events.
Erika has had the opportunity to teach at a few seminars for The Annual Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0 World Cup Training Camp in Las Vegas, Nevada. She has also traveled alongside Master Speakman and many other instructors to teach seminars throughout Australia, New Zealand, and several places in Europe.
Her mission is to help students of all ages believe in themselves by building their self-esteem, confidence, and self-defense skills. Along with being an instructor of Kenpo 5.0, she is also certified in the exercise format – TRX – which she loves. Fitness is very important to her, and she strives not only to be proficient in the martial arts, but also to maintain a healthy wellbeing. Erika says this quote describes exactly how she feels: I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, “Because of you I didn’t give up.”