Aside from his daily routine of interacting with architects and contractors, Ray Snyder spends a fair amount of his evenings each week presenting building plans and explaining development projects to the planning commission and St. George City Council but it’s not his night job. In Addition to his role as a City planner, this second degree black belt spends his spare nights teaching community youth life enhancing principals through one of his passions, martial arts.
His passion for the martial arts began as a child as when he was introduced to Judo. “As a teenager I got involved in Chinese Kung-Fu. And as a parent I wanted activities for my children to be involved in and together with my sons joined the United States Karate Organization.” Ray recalled, “For daddy-daughter dates we would practice Japanese Shotokan.” As a family they learned and practiced multiple styles of self-defense and participated in a number of tournaments across California.
In weekly classes held at the St. George Rec Center Ray instructs his students in traditional Japanese Shotokan and select techniques in judo, jujitsu, sho-rin-ryu, ninjitsu and weapons. “It’s an opportunity for youth to learn personal self-defense, confidence and respect of others and is designed for those who might not have the opportunity to be involved or afford a program otherwise,” Ray said. “The student learns to be defensive and not offensive and hopefully that carries over in to life.”
I’m interested in improving myself so I can make a difference for those around me.
The lessons Ray shares with his students also influences his professional life. “Martial arts can become a philosophy, something that you apply to everything… and I try to apply it to work,” Ray said. “I’m interested in improving myself so I can make a difference for those around me.”