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What Is Your Turning Point? 

What is your turning point? What was your turning point? 


A little background on me... Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyer and their book "Charlie's Victory" left a lasting impression on me. I was 15. At age 19, I wanted to be a public speaker to impact multitudes. As an introvert, I desired to overcome "stage fright." A fear of being on stage impacted me for nearly my whole life.

 

When I caught Asian American beatboxer Elaine Chao's Showtime at the Apollo show stopper, that was it for me. It would be a matter of time, I mustered the courage to bring out my hidden beatbox talent and skills to the world.

I began beatboxing at the tender age of four, as a Kauluwela Tiger Cub kindergartner, to the song Michael Jackson Bad. By age six, as a Liholiho Warrior first grader, a family member recorded my beatboxing of Bad on analog music cassette tape. I returned to Kauluwela and continued to beatbox, behind closed doors, through my years as a Tiger Cub, Kawananakoa Aliʻi Warrior, and McKinley Tiger. 

 

My collision with a minivan that knocked me unconscious and left me with a concussion, head trauma, and recurring memory issues was the turning point of my life. At 21, I hit the stage as a beatboxer.

 

I went from being a Chinese school drop out who stuttered on the mic to becoming a Freeman Scholar at Beijing Foreign Studies University, to placing in four consecutive University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani Talent Shows.

Conquering fear, I've presented and spoken at TEDx Talks, KS EdTech Disrupt, Chevron Speech Festival, universities, community colleges, and conferences. I've performed and spoken on the "Music With A Message," "Say Yes to Purpose," "Not Even Once," and "Real and Powerful" school assembly tours.

I've opened shows for Michael Winslow, Jabbawockeez, Quest Crew, Blue Scholars, Reeps One, and performed live with Tom Thum, John Cruz, Jake Shimabukuro, Makana, Taimane Gardner, and Honoka.

As a fourth-generation American of Chinese descent, I've performed in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese for the ReThink Conference, Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, Chinese New Year Festival, Night in Chinatown Block Party, Moon Festival, International Hawaiʻi Chinese Cultural Arts Festival, and China Beatbox Tour. 

My Chinese name, in traditional form 譚志豪 and 谭志豪 in simplified form, means "will," "many aspirations" and "a person of outstanding talent." 

What is your turning point? What was your turning point? 

For me, my turning point was that minivan collision 16 years ago, a wake up call.

I am grateful for that turning point in my life.

I am grateful to God, for family, friends, health, beatbox, and memories.

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree 

Welcome to my online birthday party themed "the Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree" hosted by the Jason Tom dot com nearest you with exclusive action-packed photos and content.

November 21st is my birthday, save the date! And Jason Tom dot com's dance floor is now open for you to leave a comment.

Where do I start? Wow has the past 16 years of my life been a journey.

I've got plenty of folks in life to be grateful to. And much in life to be thankful for.

Meanwhile, I want to wish you an early Happy Thanksgiving! Now come join me on God's great dance floor.

"Let's dance, let's shout, and shake your body to the ground." -Michael Jackson, Shake Your Body
 

As I've grown, I realized that, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is more than an "on point" saying.

Veterans Day was this past Wednesday. I honor all who served including those on both ends of my family.

I dedicate "the Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree" blog based on a true story to my paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother. They've helped me indirectly to process the complexity of "grief," "loss" and "trauma." I went in "shock" when I attended my first funeral at age 7 in the loss of my maternal grandmother. And I recall how my entire body got unexpectedly weak and I collapsed to the ground during her burial. At that time, I understood not how that happened to me.

I haven't met my paternal grandfather. He was my father's tremendous loss. My father had to grow up fast.

For me, I was not able to comprehend nor process such emotions. I was 7 going on 8. Following her funeral, I experienced my first indication of asthma wheezing and asthma attacks.

As a high schooler, I witnessed my paternal grandmother's last breath at her bedside. I was unaware that I went in "shock." I didn't know how to express my emotions. She was one of the most significant women in my life. When I lost her, I felt that a huge chuck of my life left me. To this day, I miss her very much. We spent a significant amount of time together, her and I. I recall everything she's ever taught and instilled in me. I still hold onto and apply what she's ever taught me in life.

This year marked the 16th year anniversary of my collision with a minivan near Shobukan Judo Club, Pizza Hut, and Liliha Bakery. Walgreens was not built there then.  

That "collision" is the "turning point" of my life. 

I was knocked unconscious. Driver rendered help. She called first responders and prayed over me. To date, I've not met the driver nor got to personally thank her. I am so grateful she did what she did for me.

By God's grace, I left the ER room assisted by my family with no broken bones, but a concussion and head trauma.

Not my first concussion.

I've had multiple concussions from my various injuries growing up and sport injuries before adulthood. God's hand of protection over my life, that driver who rendered help, and my judo miraculously kicked in that night.
 

 

Next morning, I woke up, and I noticed my memory was affected. I had trouble remembering things I used to be able to recall with ease. Then I thought to myself, wow, I near lost my life and yet, I haven't accomplished much in my life that I would like to accomplish. I was 21 going on 22.

I had unfinished business.

Number one, I decided to retire from judo.

Number two, start my beatbox music, entertainment, and performing arts career.

Number three, return to college and earn my general degree.
Then my sibling called and we caught "the Passion of the Christ" on the big screen. After the movie, I felt uncomfortably startled by incoming cars and parked cars. I had an "irrational" fear toward cars and parked cars. I was surprised that I could not control my bodily trigger, response and reaction. My faith in God would really pull through as time went on in years to come.
 

For my faith in God, I am thankful to my maternal grandfather, mother, sibling, and family on both ends who advocated an importance of having our faith rooted in Jesus. I recall how my maternal grandfather read the Holy Bible in Chinese every time I visited. He read it daily. I am grateful to my mother who brought my sibling and I to church regularly growing up.

I am thankful to God answering my prayer when I brought my Dad to church with me. Dad, I am glad I brought you to church with me before it was your time. I know you are smiling up above in heaven embraced by God's eternal grace, tender kindness, endless mercy, and undying love. I love you, Dad!

I enrolled at Kapiʻolani Community College, and I judo flipped my college transcript from a 1.0 to 4.0 grade point average. Then I got hired on campus as a Math Supplemental Instructor in algebra. At this time, I chose not to join social media platforms like Facebook and MySpace so that I would focus on my academic studies with diligence, work ethic and discipline. 

I am grateful my father instilled in me math foundation early in life. My father was a disciplinarian and my greatest teacher in life. I miss you Dad!
 

I then competed and placed 3rd at the Spring 2006 KCC Talent Contest.
 

Camera shy. My first YouTube video, "Beatbox Lobby."
 

I went from being a Chinese school drop out to becoming a Freeman Scholar at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

I am grateful to my paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather and father for being advocates of Chinese literacy and fluency in my life.

Jake Shimabukuro and I rocking an in store live concert.
 

I placed in my fourth consecutive KCC Talent Contest. I dedicated my performance that spring to my relative's recent passing that was very difficult for me. My grades, motivation and concentration in school were at a low point following my relative's passing.
 

I nearly did not finish, but I earned my general college degree at the University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani.
 

I did that while I simultaneously enrolled in music business and audio engineering courses on live feed through the MELE program with Belmont University and Honolulu Community College.

Years into the MELE program, I experienced a noticeable decline in my academic performance in my overall focus, grades and health as I received news of another relative's passing. Two in a row was difficult.
 

Makana and I tore it up at RumFire Waikiki.
 

I knew I needed and wanted to get my life right with God. I rededicated my life to Jesus and I prayed that God would send me to a home church to be planted at. Following my prayer, days later, my music business classmates Lei and Cherry-Anne invited me to attend Word of Life Christian Center. There I got planted. Then my audio engineering professor Jim Hearon invited me to teach a human beatbox workshop for his recording technology class at Word of Life Academy.

I became the Word of Life Emerge Talent Show Semi-Final Champion and Top 2 winner at the Grand Finals.
 

School wise, I missed many class days due to severe asthma attacks. I dropped out as I did not have the strength to continue. I focused on my walk with God... health gradually got better. I developed and grew into my devotional life, and read the Holy Bible daily like my maternal grandfather.

MC Jin and I at his "SOLD OUT" concert in San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts.
 

I opened for America's Best Dance Crew season 2 champion Quest Crew.
 

I opened for America's Best Dance Crew season 1 champion the Jabbawockeez.
 

I became the Pipeline Hawaii's Got Talent Semi-Final Champion and Top 4 winner in the Grand Final.
 

Video shoot with Andrew Shimabuku for the Honolulu Advertiser.
 

I opened for the Man of 10,000 Sound Effects Michael Winslow.
 

Rocking the mic in Waikiki.
 

My beatbox career took off...
 

Hanging out with Ronald McDonald in the Big Apple.
 

ReThink Conference and Hawaii International Film Festival.

Boys and Girls Club of Honolulu charity event.
 

I performed three gigs per day per week regionally, performed for public and private neighbor Hawaiian island events, coast to coast in the United States, and overseas for beatboxing.
 

Biggie Gz and I beatboxing in a Mixed Martial Arts octagon.

Kamueala Kahoano and I on the news about Blood Bank of Hawaii charity event with Dan Cooke and Ryan Ozawa.
 

Japan Tsunami Disaster Relief Concert for Japan Red Cross.
 

Then, tragedy struck. I got unexpected news about a passing of a veteran, one of my relatives I cared so much about and loved so much. He'd often ask me about my beatbox career and that he's often read about me in the local newspaper. He was an avid reader. I was so hurt when I got the news. I did not have the courage nor the strength to attend his funeral. I could not bare another loss of a significant loved one.


I then experienced my breaking point. Overworked. I took time off from teaching and performing beatboxing. I declined proposals to perform at Massachusetts' Tufts University, and New York's Skidmore College. I was not well enough to travel. I canceled travel plans to the 3rd Beatbox Battle World Championships in Berlin, Germany. I did shows sparingly on a local level. A struggle at best. My stage fright came back that season. Gradually, I near lost my ability, memory, rhythm, and coordination in how to dance. I also lost a lot of my memory, coordination, rhythm, and ability to beatbox. At that point, I did not think I would live to see my 30th birthday. 

For two years up to that point, I intentionally made zero travel plans so I could work on my health and build on my health from the ground up. Though no longer able to dance.. I was able to muster enough to be able to gradually get back into performing beatbox shows, but it was a major struggle to remember how to beatbox and to be able to muster the groove.
 

Island Scene Magazine story on my uphill battle with severe asthma attacks.
 

Honolulu Night Market: Artrageous


Jason Tom rocks the mic at Honolulu Night Market photo by Joe Marquez.
 

Jill Kuramoto and I on KITV morning news.
 

I was challenged spiritually, mentally and physically. I diligently worked on my relationship and intimacy with God.
 

I began to do shows again beatboxing, sparingly, gradually growing..... still not able to dance at this point. Did not have the coordination for it.


The stage is where I can be my truest self and express deeper emotions through music and beatboxing. 

Hitting the stage allows me to confront and conquer my fears in life, like stage fright.


Headlined Beatroot presented by Lightsleepers at Easy Music Center.
 

Headlined Art After Dark at Honolulu Museum of Art.
 

My beatbox student Yogibeats and I.


White Dove in Full Flight by Dorian Stretton.Within these rough years, I got water baptized, enrolled in bible classes called pre-encounter, encounter, post encounter, school of leaders 1, 2, and 3, and Destiny Training at Word of Life. The Holy Spirit equipped me on how to pray "spiritual warfare" prayers and intercede on behalf of my nation, state, family, friends, and church. I also brought my father to church with me for the first time this season.
 

I am grateful to be featured on Beatbox Battle TV.

At that point, I still struggled health wise. I continued to work on it, off camera. Off stage.
 

I began to travel again, coast to coast to do beatbox performances in California's Los Angeles and Anaheim, and New York's Brooklyn, and Manhattan. My beatbox groove and coordination was in a flux. My dance coordination, still not there.
 

Performed for a children's cancer charity benefit concert.
 

Rahzel the Godfather of Noise and I at Webster Hall New York.


Ellise Kakazu interviews Jason Tom for HNL Flow Magazine.


Jamming with Madd Rabbit at my birthday party in Kakaako.
 

During the worst of these tumultuous years of my life, I would have memory issues like how I would not be able to recall the day of the week. Even when reminded. Even all through this, as challenged and oppressed as I had become, Jesus remained faithful, continued to not leave me nor forsake me. He brought brothers and sisters in Christ to intercede in prayer and cover me with their prayers. The Holy Spirit became the one "tangible" person I can trust all the time, hold onto all the time, depend and rely on all the time even when I could no longer hold onto my "memory" of the day of the week. Jesus is no imaginary friend, and not a fairy tale in my life. Jesus is my friend.
 

I spoke and performed at elementary schools, colleges, universities, and appeared on television as I prepared to compete as the top 12 performance poet for HawaiiSlam's 14th First Thursdays' Grand Slam Final and the top 150 male beatboxer as Hawaii's all star in the men's solo competition at the 4th Beatbox Battle World Championship. This the season I tried to work on getting back my dance groove and coordination, It was difficult.


I was unable to appear at both competitions due to severe asthma attacks. My prescribed medicine and cough medicine did not stop nor slow my severe asthma attacks. I discontinued the rest of my appearances of an anti-bullying school tour I performed and spoke on. I took a much needed break. For the rest of that year I traveled and performed not. At this point, I lost all my coordination and ability to beatbox. Even my coordination to dance. I also had an irrational fear of being out in general public or be around big crowds of strangers. The only place I felt the safest was to be with God and to be at church. A safe haven. Jesus is my refuge, fortress, and strong tower.

It was then I was at my lowest of lows. I could not even practice my beatboxing nor dance. I felt spiritually broken and decapitated. In the depths of despair, I called out, "Jesus! Help me!" At this point, I felt I was "Job" of the Old Testament. Literally.

Then I experienced a major health crisis with severe asthma attacks that unknowingly triggered me to relive that minivan collision that near cost my life.

I needed fresh air.

Then my "nightmare" became a reality.

I lost my ability to cross a green light. I'd become irrationally fearful of incoming traffic. Not knowing how come. Fear paralyzed me. I relived my collision.

Thankfully a morning walker assisted me. I asked her, "please, could you help me to cross. I am too afraid to cross the green light on my own." She helped me to cross and assured I would not get hit by a car. She asked if she could call first responders to assist me. I said, "yes, please do." Firefighters and an officer chief checked on me. The firefighters were patient, kind, compassionate, and helpful.

I got asked if I knew the day of the week. I responded, "no, I do not recall the day of the week. That's not important to me right now. I am fighting to get rest and stay alive. Please help me. I need your help."

I was brought to a hospital where I could have complete privacy so that I could get my rest, peace, and quiet. I requested "no visitors." I granted exclusive visiting access for my case manager, a born again Christian. I took as much time I needed to recuperate, regain my health, and strength. This was much needed. The nurses were so helpful.

During that time, I had personal and deep conversations with God. That was one of the best times I got to be with God. God downloaded plans for me, direction for my steps years in advance. For the record, many of which have been fulfilled and are still being fulfilled.

Once I felt I was strong enough to be discharged from the hospital... I established firm boundaries with an abusive phone caller. I discontinued my mobile phone service. Then I was able to focus on being productive in music, rehearsals, tech rehearsals, performances, and productions.

From that day, I've not had an issue with rest. My overall health improved. It was like as night and day.

My case manager was helpful during my time of crisis. I trust him with my life. I am grateful God blessed me with a wonderful, understanding, patient, kind, and compassionate case manager.

 

It was in great despair, I grew into the things of God. I no longer had my talent in beatbox nor dance. It was then the Holy Spirit ministered words of wisdom to me. That the Holy Spirit counseled, taught, pruned, corrected, disciplined, guided, restored, resurrected, and edified me to complete life. God began to form, shape and mold my character in Him. My devotional life.... my prayer life... my meditation in the Word of God.... renewing of my mind with the Word of God.... my relationship and intimacy with Jesus grew... over time. I would say this was the best process, though not the easiest process, of my entire life.

God brought me back to thrive in life.
 

My greatest decision in life, is when I dedicated my life to God and stayed connected to my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, the church. Attending church, bible classes, weekly Life Groups, prayer were most helpful to the restoration of my complete health. God miraculously reversed the process of my trauma. God is not done and he continues to do a daily and lifetime work in me. I am not a "religious" man. I am a faithful man in God. 
 

Then one of my sisters in Christ blessed me with Joan Hunter's CD teachings on trauma. I learned so much.
 

My beatbox ability and coordination began to come back.



I entered, competed, and became McDonald's of Hawaii's statewide Top 3 NextNext Music Competition Champion.
 

God answered my prayer when I got through my crisis so that I could perform the live music I had diligently composed and worked on for Prisma Dance's Creation production.

It was my dream come true and an honor to be part of the Creation production cast.

Then I got flown out to Sydney, Australia to work on a beatbox project for independent and major companies.

Then I collaborated with Sesame Street's Elmo on the Christmas song "Jingle Bells" at Kaimuki High School Auditorium.


The following year, Holy Spirit helped me to identify my "trauma" triggers and helped me to uproot each one. During my devotional and journal time with God, the Holy Spirit prompted me to look up, "trauma prayer" on YouTube. I did.
 

Jim and Pat Banks' "trauma prayer" is the "game changer" in my life. The Holy Spirit then used that anointed prayer to minister to me. Noticeable improvement in my overall health. Then I listened to it a second time. Third time and so forth. The trauma prayer has allowed the Holy Spirit to help me in layers. I've listened to it multiple of times all the way through. My memory as well as my recall and health improved exponentially. Supernaturally. Prayer does work. God does answer prayers. Even while at church, I've noticed I will have a memory lapse week after week that before I did not realize were memory lapses. The Holy Spirit helped me to catch it the moment it happens. The Holy Spirit has been so kind, gentle, patient, and helpful.

At this point, the Holy Spirit revealed to me the root of my asthma, nightmares and night terrors I've been tormented by during my childhood, adolescent and adult years. For the longest, I did not know how to articulate my "night terrors." The Holy Spirit prompted me look up one of my reoccurring and distinctive nightmares. I discovered, after the fact, that specific nightmare is consistently linked to individuals with "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." Unfortunately, the doctors nor counselors I saw previously were able to identify that. What they thought? They were way off the mark and their advice caused me more harm than help. The Holy Spirit though? He hit the bullseye and nailed it on the cross of Calvary. The Holy Spirit's counsel led to my breakthrough in my health and benefitted my well being, and peace of mind.

The Holy Spirit then encouraged me to pull from my "math background" so that God will do more than get to the square root of the issue with me. That He would work alongside me and help me. God went above and beyond to help me get to the seventh root of my complex trauma. Tenth root. Eleventh root. And so forth. The Holy Ghost counseled me to assist me how to identify the root causes of my asthma attacks, memory lapses, complex trauma triggers, nightmares, and night terrors. He instructed me to "journal." To explore. Go there. Go deep. Learning about complex trauma has brought insight, clarity and answers to unanswered questions I've had for nearly my entire life. Thank you Jesus for sending your Holy Spirit!
 

Then, I learned about my daily chronic stressors. When the Holy Spirit unraveled it... that was the breakthrough I needed. God answered the toughest questions. There was not a question that were "off limits" for God nor too difficult for Him to answer. The Holy Spirit counseled and guided me daily how to not hesitate to ask him anything and everything, at any time. How to hear His voice in alignment with His Word and how to yield to His words of wisdom. And not yield to my own accord nor yield to what is contrary to the Word of God. And that the voice of a stranger I shall not follow. The application to the Word of God in my life has paid dividends in my overall health, memory and recall. I also got back into exercise, another "game changer." God continues to do a real work in me today.
 

Having stepped aside from math teaching and coaching for six years... God wanted me to get back into it. I did and began to math coach students throughout Kapolei, Mililani, Kaneohe, Honolulu, and Aiea.

In one of my final conversation with my father.... I found out that it would be one of my father's final wishes for me to continue and honor. God answered my father's prayer in advance. At my father's bedside, I assured my father that I've fulfilled it and I've got the math covered. At that point, I was working with just two students, one in Aiea... one in Honolulu.

Then my Dad asked about my beatbox career... I assured him that he would be happy.

Then my Dad asked if I've found my wife and gotten married.

I responded, "Dad, I am in no hurry nor haste. I am working with God to be the man that God has called me to be. Dad, it's all in God's timing. Not mine. Not ours.

I love you Dad! Jesus loves you, Dad. Jesus loves our family."

My father smiled. Weeks went by... I will not forget when my father went to be with the Lord on Father's Day. Not a day goes by that I do not, not miss my Dad.

I will fulfill your wishes Dad! I promise. I love you. I miss you.
 

Following my father's passing, I honored my Dad in this performance. My beatbox and dance reunited together with me on stage in honor of my father. God first restored me to full health. In God's timing, He restored my health, family, beatboxing, math, and dance. In that order. Restoration in my family was my biggest prayer I interceded for on behalf of our family for many years. I continue that prayer today.
 

Prisma Dance and I volunteering at US Veterans Barber's Point.
 

Violin and beatbox collaboration at US Veterans Barber's Point.
 

Prisma Dance and I volunteering at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
 

Angela Keen and I with Prisma Dance at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
 

Rocking a free beatbox concert for Shriners Hospitals for Children patients.
 

Prisma Dance at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
 

Collaborating with Henry for Prisma Dance presents Creation.

Performed and spoke at my Alma mater Kauluwela Elementary with their principal, vice principal, and my former teachers.
 

I advanced in my fourth HawaiiSlam's First Thursdays Poetry Slam and Open Mic Grand Competition as a Top 12 finalist.

Leigh Dooley, my college writing and composition mentor, and her family were in attendance.

I still apply what she's taught and instilled in me, today.
 

Here I performed and spoke a keynote message at Aliiolani Elementary's Parent Night. My birthday, last year.
 

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
 

During my tumultuous years, I've fallen so many times.....
 

but not far from the Tree of Life.
 

The Tree of Life is Jesus.
 

Thank you Jesus for healing me and returning everything that the devil stolen, killed and destroyed from my family and I, sevenfold.
 

Thank you Jesus...

for your restoration,

eternal grace,

endless mercy,

and

loving kindness.

I love you God the Father,
God the Son,
and God the Holy Spirit! -Jason

Overwhelmed By Stage Fright 

What are some hurdles in life you currently face, have faced? What are some of your fears or fears you've had? Drop them in the comments, I want to hear from you. For me, some of my biggest fears were writing, public speaking and stage fright. Can you relate?

As an entertainer and in so many ways, I am a late bloomer. My fear of public speaking and being on stage was one of the hardest fears for me to shake. Stage fright. Today, I am a Human Beatbox adventurer in the music, entertainment, and performing arts industry. And I love it. But what was it like for me to go through my hurdles and journey from being overwhelmed and frozen by fear of being on stage and public speaking to loving it today?

I know I did not love it in the beginning. I feared it. I hated being on stage. I feared speaking in front of an audience. I hated the spotlight. How did that all change? I was determined to break through my fears, anxieties, and to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. To grow in confidence in what was not comfortable for me.

I am a fourth- and third- generation Chinese American. Born, raised, and based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, USA. My early years were also in East Bay California. My adult years in Beijing, New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

My first experience of stage fright was during my academic journey. I failed the first grade at Liholiho Elementary. Who does that, right? Well, I did. That season, I did not know my ABC's, and I did not know how to spell, read or write. I also experienced stage fright and failed the first grade at Sui Wah Chinese School, not once, not twice, but multiple times. I dropped out of Sui Wah Chinese School after multiple failures. My years at Sui Wah Chinese School were my earliest of stage frights speaking Cantonese into a microphone, on a podium, on stage, and in front of the whole school in a gymnasium. Stage fright, anxiety and fear of public speaking took me a long time to shake.

From the 1980s through 1990s, I taped myself doing podcasts of me talking, reading books, and beatboxing on an audio cassette for fun. 

I thought I'd be Stan Lee. During the late 1980s to the early 2000s, my years at Kauluwela Elementary, Kawananakoa Middle, and McKinley High School, I self-published home made comic books. That was the start of my publishing and story telling through illustration and words. I also wrote scripts for my comic books at Kauluwela Elementary for fun. I did this so I could practice my drawing, writing, spelling, and story telling.
At Kawananakoa Middle School, I froze in cold sweat when I read from paper or did a speech presentation in front of class.

1999 was the year I got my first computer. It was also my first year experience with the Internet. I got into web publishing and I built my first website. 

Prior to 1999, I typed out my school paper reports with a typewriter. I had met Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyer, and they signed my copy of "Charlie's Victory" with reference to Philippians chapter 4 verse 19. It was that encounter with them that I knew I wanted to be a public speaker and author.
I then shattered an Asian American stereotype of not being on an honor roll. In high school, I hustled by doing summer school, correspondence, and sports to keep my grades up.
My athletic journey, I was a two-year letterman in soccer and judo at McKinley High School. I was nominated as "Mr. Aloha" at my senior prom, and I was recipient of McKinley Tigers' Soccer "Mr. Hustle" Award. 

Post high school, I won gold medals at judo tournaments hosted by San Jose State University, and City College of San Francisco.

My final judo win was a Third Place Trophy at the Salt Lake District Park Judo Tournament. The end of that same month, I collided with a SUV as a pedestrian at a crosswalk near Shobukan Judo Club, Pizza Hut, Walgreens, and Liliha Bakery. I was knocked unconscious. Driver rendered help. She called first responders and prayed over me. 

By God's grace, no broken bones, but a serious concussion and trauma. God's hand of protection over my life, that driver who rendered help, and my judo kicked in that night. The next morning, a family member took me to see the Passion of the Christ. Following the movie, I noticed I got startled by parked and incoming cars at the movie theatre parking lot. That was the turning point of my life.

I took care of unfinished business. 

I shattered doubt and failure. I went back to college, pursued my beatboxing career, and I judo flipped my college transcript from a 1.0 to a 4.0 grade point average. My first live performance? I experienced stage fright. It was that one fear I could not break.

I overcame my academic hurdles when I completed my Freeman Foundation scholarship program at Beijing Foreign Studies University. At the University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani Community College, I got inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, was on the student Dean's List, and earned my general degree. Then I took some music business and audio engineering courses through the partnership of Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, and Honolulu Community College.
Within those years, I confronted my stage fright by hitting up open mics throughout the state of Hawaiʻi, took voice and music classes taught by professor Lina Doo. I took private voice lessons from Cat Wong of Cat Wong Studios.

I pursued my beatboxing career, overcame stage fright, worked as a Supplemental Math Instructor, college peer-mentor in mathematics, math tutor, and math note taker. In recent years, I got back into helping math students while beatboxing throughout the state of Hawaiʻi prior to Covid-19. 

Beatboxing wise, I've done performances in cities of the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Hilo of Hawaiʻi Island, China, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Australia. I've also been proposed for appearances in Lānaʻi Island, Kona of Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Israel, India, Philippines, Costa Rica, Peru, Columbia, Canada, Nevada, Texas, Boston, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, and China.

Today, I am fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. For Mandarin, I converse in Pǔtōnghuà, and for fun Běijīnghuà of Guóyǔ. For Cantonese, I converse in Hēunggóng wá and Jūngsāan wá of Gwóngdūng wá. I was fluent in my reading and writing in Chinese characters at one point, but still strong in my writing. Reading is rusty. 

Currently, I am working on the rough draft of my book. I also have goals to get more involved in music, entertainment, performing arts, public speaking, voice over work, productions, commercial work, film, and publishing. 

For my references of influence and inspiration... 
Song and dance in film: Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Michael Jackson 

Voice over work: Fred Newman, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Winslow, Rahzel, Jim & Pat Banks, Cindy Trimm, John Eckhart 

Music: MC Jin, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Jackson, Rahzel, John Tussey, Cheryl Salem, Two Steps From Hell, Jake Shimabukuro 

Books from: Stan Lee, Charlie & Lucy Wedemeyer, Jim & Pat Banks, Harry & Cheryl Salem, Art Sepulveda, Wally Matanza, Casey Treat, Tim Storey, Nick Vujicic, Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond, Dale Keown, Peter David

Public speakers: Charlie & Lucy Wedemeyer, Art & Kuna Sepulveda, Wally & Patti Matanza, Branson & Nicole Silva, Chauncey & Donalee Pang, Terry & Vicky Wong, Malcolm & Deneen Quartero, Shawn & Desaree Kurihara, Devin & Cindy Lau, Marques & Nicole Farmer, Allan Silva, John Bevere, Jentezen Franklin, Tim Storey, Nick Vujicic, Marc Mero 

More sources of inspiration: you, my blog readers, my family and friends, my Word of Life ohana, my former teachers, Asian Hustle Network, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Nicole Lam, Kelly Cooper, Adolph Samuels, Clinton Sunada, Emilio Agustine, Dan Augustine, Gayle Oura, Leigh Dooley, Mark Alexander, Lina Doo, Cat Wong, Elaine Chao, BloomingGales, Joe Marquez, Akiane Kramarik, Paulskeee, Jimmy Pedro, Taylor Tanaka, Duke & Kiki King, Angela Keen, Traci Toguchi, Lyanne Brooks, Kavet the Catalyst, Devon Marlink, Olivia Thai, Fat Boys, Doug E. Fresh, Far East Movement, Kari Jobe, Kim Walker-Smith, Big Daddy Weave, Chris Tomlin, Michael Jordan, Brandi Chastain, Kiana Tom, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Todd McFarlane, Tony Hawk, Kutmaster Spaz, East 3, Beak, Tom Thum, Afra, and this ever evolving list.

I want to close with this: what are some hurdles in life you currently face, have faced? What are some of your fears or fears you've had? Drop them in the comments, I want to hear from you.

Math Was My Worst Subject 

Math was my worst school subject. Say what? But math was still my favorite school subject to not give up on.

During my spring cleaning I found my high school and early college report cards.

I was a C, D, and F high school math student. True story.

I was far from the A math student that I would later become.

I was a late bloomer in my math success.

I had my math "kryptonite." Yes, I may be the Superman of math today, but at one point I in fact had my kryptonite.

I found a letter from a family member snail mailed to me, then 14-year-old Jason Tom. I've kept it in my "capstone" that contains important memories.

This family member acknowledged in her letter that she heard that I did not pass my 8th grade Kawananakoa middle school math class and found out that for me to advance to high school I have to make it up in summer school. She encouraged me to do my best and to not fall behind.

I made up for my 8th grade math class in summer school. I advanced to the 9th grade for high school.

Fast forward, I earned my McKinley High School diploma on time. I did not give up on math. My discipline for math required effort, encouragement, and to overcome odds. I had this "I am not going give up" attitude.


My first semester in college, I earned a D in math and poor grades for my other classes during the September 11th attacks season. My highest grade was a B for my philosophy class. Then I messed up in my elective class the following semester. Academically suspended, I took a college break to re-focus my life and soul search.

I left Honolulu.

I moved to California. I packed my luggage with my clothes, soccer gear, judo uniforms, music CD and music DVD collection.

I earned wages doing clerical work for a furniture warehouse. I focused on competitive judo and judo training.

I earned gold medals at judo tournaments hosted at San Jose State University and the City College of San Francisco.


I moved back to Honolulu to further pursue my competitive judo journey, and I won my final judo trophy before I collided with a SUV in 2004.

I judo broke my fall post impact prior to my unconsciousness.

The female driver prayed for me as she called for an ambulance to bring me to the emergency room.

I Thank God for the miracle that I had no broken bones and serious injury other than brain trauma.

The trauma affected my memory. I've recovered lost memories through meditation in the Word of God, prayer, exercise, rest, reflection, mathematics, hydration, music, and journaling.

Much healing.

I am grateful to the LORD that He has healed and delivered me of complex trauma.

Then, on the next day that family member who wrote me that letter took me to see the Passion of the Christ on the big screen.

The Passion of the Christ is my favorite film.

That same year, I left competitive judo to pursue my professional career as a beatboxer.

I re-enrolled in college to take care of unfinished business. Finishing and persevering over the odd is the character I developed through my high school years of soccer.

How I scored a soccer goal in the final 15 seconds of a game of my high school senior season.

I retook my college math class.

In judo fashion I identified my math kryptonite and I conquered it. I went to math professor Mark Alexander's office and he was helped me tackle my kryptonite. I earned an A in math and my first straight A semester.

My math mentor Mark Alexander referred me for the math supplemental instructor campus job position. I also applied to be a campus math tutor and math note taker. The math supplemental instructor position was the highest paid student position throughout the University of Hawaii system at the time.

All the while I performed beatboxing at competitions, school assemblies, after school programs, classrooms, poetry slams, open mics, events, and private parties.

I treated my academics like it were judo practices, meets, and tournaments with the soccer mentality to finish.

For me to earn a good grade is as though how I would prepare to win a judo medal.

I studied my math notes and I practiced my math daily.

I started and finished all of my math homework on the exact day it is assigned.

I prioritized.

I gave myself no way to procrastinate.

I gave myself no way to get distracted when I studied... no Internet. No television.

I transferred my judo champion work ethic into the classroom setting.

To this family member, you know who you are. I want to Thank You!

I wished you a Happy Mother's Day on Mother's Day, because I want you to know you are a very important person in my life.

I know you are not not my mother, but you are indeed a great mother for you and your husband's family.

If it weren't for your encouragement in my early years to do my best and not fall behind then I might not be where I am today.

It is because you encouraged me then, that helps me to continue to help the families and students I work with to succeed in math.

Thank You for telling me to do my best and to not fall behind.

I am grateful to you for all you've done in my life.

I cannot thank you enough.

Words alone do no justice.

But still, I Thank You from the depths of my heart.

Love and kindness,
Jason Tom

Grateful for the Goodness of God 

White dove in full flight by Dorian Stretton.

Difficulty is a great opportunity for growth. As for me, due to the quarantine, my music performances and math tutoring sessions can be quite creative at this time. I am grateful that President Donald Trump signed the Cares Act stimulus bill. I worry not and I am not alarmed as I trust in the Lord that He provides. 

I am endeavoring to move out of my current environment. A great opportunity. 

The other day, I thought about the Cantonese, my first language, spoken to me, and I translated to English, my second language. The English equivalents the Holy Spirit helped me to discern are more than enough to be the deal breaker. Though English is my second language, it is also my dominant language to discover the Cantonese, my first language, spoken to me are destructive, ill-willed, hurtful, and derogatory. I am grateful for the goodness of God!


It’s unfortunate when we’re exasperated by someone we live with. It’s either destructive words, slander, false accusations, or complete silent treatment on a daily. Yet, it’s in my second language that it is revealed to me, that’s it, that’s more than the deal breaker. I’ve done my part to mend the relationship, but it’s time to move forward where God wants me to go, and not remain. I won’t cease from praying.

It makes perfect sense how I’ve endured.

 

I know that if it were not for the Holy Spirit and His church, the body of Christ, helping me through this, that I would not be alive today.

I am fortunate that the Holy Spirit continues to form, shape, and mold my character in Him, that I’ve not snapped into the violent monster that I am grateful to GOD the Father that His son Jesus has delivered me of.


That destruction that was sown unto me that I once was, I am no more. The old me is dead. I am a new man, a new creation in Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit lives on the inside of me. I live today with the fruit of the spirit that is love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Words Can Be Destructive 

Can anyone relate to this? I was quite often told for most of my life that...

One. I've achieved nothing in my life.

Two. I've accomplished nothing in my life.

And three. I've amounted to nothing in life.

True story.


I knew not how destructive those words were.

It came from those who I am supposed to be able to count on most in my life.

I was not once told from them, "I am proud of you." Not once. And as weird as it may sound, I feel super weird today when people write me or tell me offline, "I am proud of you."

I was so conditioned to believe that whatever I did in life was not good enough that to this day, I don't understand why it feels super awkward when someone tells me, "I'm proud of you." Sometimes I think to myself, is he or she insulting or disrespecting me? It's an awkward feeling that I've wrestled with.

It caught up to me.

It was so destructive.

It tormented me.

Then it hit me, no matter what I did, it would never be good enough to even those who mattered, even though that was what hurt the most. It seems as though they do not want me healthy. They do not want me thriving. They do not want me happy.

But I later learned that GOD's words matter so much more than their words. The Holy Spirit then edified me in ways no man could. Jesus the Son healed and delivered me of torment, trauma, and pain.

If it were not for my faith in GOD, I am certain I would not be alive.

I am grateful that GOD exposed the lies, unraveled the truth.

GOD is ALMIGHTY!