A first-generation martial artist from the great Northeast follows in a proud trainer's footsteps.
Other than that, he says, there were few expectations riding on the experiment. Back in kindergarten, he says, he thought maybe he’d grow up to be a scientist, but once he took up fighting, he was certain: He wanted to be a martial-arts student, Ibrahim wanted to teach him, and his father loved that the sport helped Diaz stay both disciplined and off the streets.
He didn’t, however, imagine he’d be teaching his own classes this quickly. But the idea appealed to him. “When [Ibrahim] told me I was going to be able to start teaching, I thought it would be a chance to give back,” he says. “You don’t want to keep everything for yourself. You should want to give back just so you can have other kids experience what you experienced, you know?”
At this point, Danny isn’t just teaching here at Ibrahim’s gym: He’s gathering kids from his Juniata neighborhood, bringing them down to his home gym and training them there. He says some neighborhood kids come and go—and he makes sure to invite the “good kids” at school. “Some kids can be troublemakers, but the kids who I invite are good kids,” he says. “They behave.”