Erika and Tony Potter – some say it was destiny, some say part of God‘s plan. They both met at a Kenpo school in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early part of 2000. Tony would like to say it was love at first sight. Erika, not so much! Ironically, they both had trained under the same instructor off and on for a few years, but had never met. One day while Tony was training at the dojo, the door opens, and in walks Erika and her little baby, Markus. She was out for a jog and had noticed that her instructor had a new location. Tony asked his training partner who it was that was talking to Mr. Hamilton. “That’s my big sister,” says Jay Toya. He also added “Stay away!” Tony didn’t listen.
Tony had moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1989, trying to find his way after losing his football scholarship at McPherson College due to an injury.
Tony always seemed to have that desire to do some form of martial arts. Fighting seemed to be something he always got himself into. From the time he was in grade school, Tony always had a problem with kids picking on other kids, but he had no problem sticking up for them. That never changed as Tony got older. After work one night, his manager suggested he come by his Kenpo dojo. He had no idea what Kenpo was. It had something to do with fighting, so it sounded like a good idea, since fighting seemed to be something he did often.
Erika Potter is a Native American from the Pueblos of Jemez and San Juan, New Mexico. She has been involved in martial arts since 1987. At 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 a goal of joining the State Police force, but after the birth of her son Markus her path took a different turn.
After getting married, Tony and Erika, along with their instructor and a few students, attended a Jeff Speakman Kenpo 5.0 seminar. After that day, their future in Kenpo would take a turn for the better and they have not looked back. Both Mr. and Mrs. Potter travel the world with their instructor Mr. Speakman teaching seminars and sharing their love for Kenpo.
Mrs. Potter keeps herself very busy not only running a school, but also raising three children. Mr. and Mrs. Potter love traveling together, teaching Kenpo throughout the country. They both love donating their time to their church and the public schools, giving motivational talks, and helping with the PE classes. Tony is a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus. Both Tony and Erika make their service to God a priority.
Mr. Potter is the certified tactical instructor for the Santa Fe County Detention. He loves working with law enforcement, helping them sharpen their skills. In 2014, Mr. Potter started teaching at a high school for a program called Kiva. This is a special class for high school students who have special needs with different challenges. A few years later, Mr. Potter realized the importance of consistency in their lives and in their training. He created a class at their dojo, which has now grown exponentially. It now takes Mr. Potter, Mrs. Potter, and their son Markus to teach this very unique and uplifting class. This is their passion: helping people change their lives for the better, helping people help themselves, and leading by example so others can follow by choice. Along with their three children, Mr. and Mrs. Potter are doing what they love, teaching and changing lives “one kick at a time.” As Tony says, “It all matters; they all matter.”