BEAUFORT COUNTY, NC (WITN) - An Eastern Carolina native is now touring the country to talk about the importance of martial arts.
Grand Master Jessie Bowen, originally from Pantego, first got into martial arts as a child after being picked on in school.
"Mentors told me I had potential and that I could do this," said Bowen.
From there, he went on to have a 30-year martial arts competitive career, winning several world titles and earning 2,000 trophies. He is currently the Executive Director for the American Martial Arts Alliance Institute.
He says martial arts is “a powerful tool if you have a great teacher because it's self discipline, focus and creativity. All of those things go into building that person."
To highlight its importance, he recently published a book called Martial Arts Master & Pioneers. The 380-page book shares the stories of 200 martial artists from all over their world who contribute to their community.
"It's an educational tool to let parents and students know what the martial arts is about, who the people are that can actually help them improve the quality of their lives, to educate in self defense and find who's qualified to teach your child," said Bowen.
Bowen released the book at The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in conjunction with the AMAA Legends Awards Banquet.
You can purchase a copy at Barnes and Noble.