John “Underdog” Salter

Born in Detroit in a previous century (1947). Misspent youth- for additional thrills during college and afterwards, raced motorcycles on half-mile dirt tracks in Michigan and Ohio. No brakes and 140 mph down the straight-away. Talk about mind over wrist/throttle! Those turns could get hairy and I missed a few. Moved to Los Angeles in 1992- couldn’t cope with Detroit winters anymore.

Started martial arts with my son in the mid-90s. Achieved rank in Tae Kwon Do under Master K.S. Choi, Korean champion for over 10 years and US Olympic Coach. Talked to a friend about finding a trainer since I wasn’t getting any younger and was referred to Marc Denny. Didn’t know about his martial arts prowess, the Dog Brothers, or Filipino Stickfighting. Marc, in his inimitable way, introduced me to REAL martial arts (unlike the “sport” aspect of TKD), REAL good people, and REAL CONTACT STICKFIGHTING! Marc also introduced me to the Machado brothers and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to help my ground skills and overall fighting capabilities.

Learned the true meaning of the Dog Brothers’ credo from Marc, in the park in Hermosa Beach, and in Santa Fe (from Arlan “Salty Dog” Sanford and his students). Was extremely honored to become “Underdog”!! (For those of a younger era, Underdog, the “has-been hound” was actually a superhero, disguised as a shoeshine boy. “Have no fear, Underdog is here” was part of the theme song for the TV show.)

My thanks to Crafty Dog, Salty Dog, Top Dog, and all those I’ve had the pleasure of training and fighting with! My goal is simple: become a better stickfighter and improve my ground game. I plan on training with the Dog Brothers for the duration, and competing as long as my body permits. There are few things in life that can match the thrill of doing “battle” with the caliber of people who compete at the Gatherings and the people that practice this type of all-encompassing martial art. Its truly adaptable to every type of person, if they possess the proper spirit.

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