Math instructor Thomas Blamey has a different belt for each day of the workweek and one for the weekend.
They are all black.
Blamey can lick any equation and most folks he runs up against. He holds black belts in six forms of martial arts and is a Tae Kwon Do master. This semester he is splitting time between the math lab and the dojang, a formal training hall.
“I have always been fascinated by martial arts, it is a great medium to give back,” he said.
SWC has not had martial arts classes since the retirement of Professor Art Stone. Blamey has changed that.
Blamey graduated from Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Central Washington University. He said he planned on teaching math, but instead went to work for Science Applications International Corporation, a leading scientific engineering systems firm. Even decades later, teaching still beckoned.
“After many years in corporate life I semi-retired and started teaching for fun, which turned into more of a full-time venture after the Great Recession,” he said.
He took a Tae Kwon Do class while attending SDSU for his Master’s degree in statistics in 1994.
“After getting involved in Tae Kwon Do in my mid-20s, I sort of got addicted to the rush of the sport and the benefits that came from it, like safety,” he said.
Blamey said he is not the most accomplished fighter at home. Blamey’s fiancée, Christi Robells, made the 1980 and 1984 Tae Kwon Do Olympic teams. He was helping her to train for the 2008 Olympics, but she had to abandon the quest.
“She was not able to compete in sparring,” he said. “She was on a full-ride scholarship at Point Loma Nazarene University and needed to attend the nationals for cross country the same weekend as the Tae Kwon Do competition.”
In addition to six black belts, Blamey said he has taught math at seven colleges.
Alexander Contreras, a film and art major, said he liked Blamey’s Math 35 and 45 courses. “Whenever we have a problem he’s always there to help us,” Contreras said. “He’s great with his students.”
Blamey teaches martial arts at Point Loma Nazarene University and Mira Costa College. He serves as chief actuary at several insurance companies and is the founder and vice chair of Chung Do Kwan Martial Arts, Inc.
“As you get older, you gain much skill in time management,” he said. “Certainly we all have 24 hours in a day.”
Blamey recently became chief instructor at the Ocean Beach Martial Arts School.
“This fall semester I will be teaching two Tae Kwon Do classes, beginning and intermediate,” he said. “They will be offered as one class on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Eighty percent of the time in the classes will focus on the fundamentals of striking and what to do after you’ve been hit.”
Blamey said he will also teach Tae Kwon Do techniques, endurance, strength, flexibility and safety. He can also review the quadratic formula after class.