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"Making Partner at Morgenstein & Jubelirer Easier Than Earning Kung Fu Black Belt"
The Recorder -- Renee Deger -- 2/24/03
Litigator John Worden gets to kick butt - no matter what happens in the courtroom. When he isn't wrangling with insurance companies for his corporate clients at San Francisco's Morgenstein & Jubelirer, Worden is a practicing black belt in Kung Fu.
What began as a bonding exercise with his 5-year-old daughter has become a way of life for the 38-year-old Worden. He devotes about 20 hours a week to practicing his Kung Fu skills, teaching and mentoring newcomers and other instructors.
"It's the very opposite from my normal life of sitting in conference rooms," Worden said.
He has won national Kung Fu championships and is an expert with a spear, sword, staff and nunchaku, the whirling martial arts weapon.
Five years ago, he started teaching and now also helps train other instructors. Worden is also close to Richard Lee, a Grand Master who is well known in Kung Fu circles, and he hopes to carry on many of Lee's teachings.
While he loved Bruce Lee movies as a kid, Worden didn't study martial arts until he and his daughter signed up for a class at Richard Lee's East-West Kung Fu in Alamo in 1991. After a few years of taking classes, he was hooked.
"It's really fun to fight," Worden said. "We do learn how to beat each other up - but we also learn other things."
The deeper lessons Worden explores with his martial arts include discipline and self-motivation. Earning his black belt, he said, was one of the most difficult things he's done because of the mental and physical demands over so long a period of time. In fact, it took him nine years to graduate to a black belt, compared to just seven to make partner at Morgenstein.
"Having succeeded at this, I think there is no one who could be tougher than me at litigating," Worden said. "I've had tougher challenges."