Who would have thought you can go from sleeping on a park bench, to becoming a world renowned modern martial artist, super successful entrepreneur and author?

rodney-king-karate-black-belt-90s-300x219Until my late 20s, I felt like I had been fighting my whole life. Brought up on the south side of Johannesburg, in South African government housing (similar to “the projects” in the USA), I learned early on that what really mattered was not how smart you were, but whether you were tough enough. Growing up, I often felt trapped in a really bad nightmare — and I wanted to wake up.

But tough times build strong character, and I was determined to survive the school bullies and the mean streets of my neighbourhood. Things turned rough in my teens. My abusive, alcoholic mother kicked me out of the house at 17 and, as a result, I never finished high school. I found myself sleeping on the very same park bench I played in as a kid, with less than $20 in my pocket. I decided then and there, to change the trajectory of my life. I turned things around, realising that success comes down to what you do on the inside, no matter what is happening on the outside. Today I now find myself coaching leaders of industry, training top security forces, and running my own international businesses.

Martial arts taught me to be resilient, to embrace my fears, to develop laser-like focus, and to never give up. Having developed those qualities (I had to!), I went back to school, put myself through college, and currently completing my Ph.D. Over the years, I have taught special-force military operators and law enforcement officers how to develop an unstoppable mind needed for success and how to survive when all else fails on the battlefield, or on the city street.

You see, I did wake up from that nightmare. What I learned on the mat as a martial artist, helped me not only take on those tough, mean streets of Johannesburg, but it empowered me to take on life, full throttle, and to succeed. I started martial arts first as a way to survive, and then as a method to achieve personal mastery. If I hadn’t started training in karate and boxing, I wouldn’t be coaching business leaders, entrepreneurs, and success-minded people in the very same inner game tools I had developed to become a success in my own life. The Full Contact Living experience, this website, my blog, is inspired both by my personal story, and the inner game lessons I learned.

“As a positive psychology researcher I am impressed with Rodney King’s intuitive grasp of people’s strengths and hopes. Rather than building a martial art around fear of attack, testosterone-based competition, or external rewards King introduces the best aspects of performance psychology to help people achieve their own goals. In a field steeped in tradition, King artfully reimagines both the dojo and the martial arts business mentality. At long last, we have a perfect union of proven martial arts techniques with cutting edge approaches to teaching and personal development. As a martial artist myself, King’s methods are a breath of fresh air.”

Dr. Robert Biswas Diener – The Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology and Author of Happiness