I come from a troubled and sometimes turbulent upbringing. My father was in the U.S. Navy, so we lived in various places, like Guam, in my youth. I was raised as the youngest and smallest of two boys and experienced bullying early in elementary school. Throughout my adolescent years, I struggled with my home life. My father was often away for work, but both were emotionally distant and my mother suffered from mental health issues. I eventually dropped out of high school before finishing my junior year and left home when I was 18, working various minimum wage jobs and barely making ends meet. I was very poor. There were times when I had to sleep at a park because I couldn’t afford a home. There were times I felt hopeless, and felt like my life was going nowhere. In my darkest moments, I even contemplated suicide. I struggled through and decided to take charge of my life, to make some positive changes.
One of the first things I did for myself was to enroll in a GED program. After passing the test, I took extra classes to earn my high school diploma. Eventually, I enrolled at a community college. While working during the day, I took evening classes to learn how to work as an EMT1-A. I continued studying and eventually became a Paramedic, earning an associate degree as an EMT-Paramedic. As I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, a friend introduced me to real estate, and so I began studying real estate and enrolled in a real estate education program. With the help of an investor, I successfully “flipped” my first property. Since then, I successfully started and developed my own real estate company, earned an MBA, M.S.Ed., and graduated from The University of Pennsylvania. I’ve overcome many challenges in my life and hope that I’ve developed some wisdom that I may share with you. I’ve been with the same beautiful soul for over thirty years, and we have lovely teenage children.
I began practicing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) in 1996 under Jean Jacques Machado in Los Angeles, CA. After moving in 1999, I began studying under Relson Gracie, and after 12 years of diligent practice and competition, I earned a blackbelt in 2008 directly from Relson Gracie. Subsequently, I also earned a blackbelt in Judo in 2013 from sixth-degree blackbelt Fritz Goss and John Saylor. Although I don’t train as I used to for personal health reasons, I am still very fond of martial arts and follow BJJ closely, guiding my son in his journey and staying in touch with high-level practitioners around the country.
David is a trauma-informed professional mental health counselor in Grand Rapids, MI, area with experience in helping his clients with psychoeducation and psychotherapy. He believes in the power of the human mind to overcome life’s adversities and challenges; he thinks everyone can change their perspectives and learn to live their best life! With the right coaching, he believes we all can reprogram our thought processes to successfully overcome the adverse effects of long-term stress and anxiety, becoming more resilient to everyday stresses of life. David is an EMDRIA certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) practitioner specializing in working with those suffering from psychological trauma. David is deeply passionate about working with people who suffer from anxiety, depression, relationship issues, social anxiety, and other psychological ailments.