Growing up in a small farming community in northern Illinois, Ben Pratt’s only connection to the martial arts was his uncle Tim Golby, who had a karate studio in St. Louis.
Like Tim, Ben acquired a strong work ethic and sense of family and community that are the cornerstones of farm life.
Ben graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in agricultural finance, but in 1994, he moved to St. Louis, specifically to train in the martial arts.
In 1997, he began teaching karate at Tracy’s, and in 1998 he earned his 1st degree Black Belt.
In addition to being a talented teacher, Ben is a highly ranked competitor. A First place finish in his first outing as a Black Belt fighter was quickly followed by more triumphs:
1st in the Battle of Chicago, 3rd in the US Open in Florida, 3rd in Kansas City.
Ben also earned rank and was a seated fighter in the Grand Nationals in Niagara Falls.
Like his cousin Dan Golby, Ben has won the Hofer Classic twice.
Ben proudly wears the coveted Checkered Gi, awarded only to the top fighters at Tracy’s.
Formerly rated #2 in the world by NASKA, Ben continues to hone his fighting skills, but his proudest achievements are not in the ring. They are in the positive changes he sees in his students as they gain confidence in themselves.
He teaches students at all ability levels and ages, and he provides instruction based upon the needs of the individual.
Many of his students have been rated #1 locally in their divisions, and he trains the #1 woman fighter in the world, Anne Kovac.
But karate is by no means all physical. Ben teaches students to use their minds to triumph in difficult situations. In one instance, a school teacher who was fearful of being assaulted by undisciplined students came to Tracy’s, and Ben taught the teacher how to develop and use a mental skill set to allow for establishment of a safe and productive learning environment.
“We are not ‘lovey-dovey’ here, but we are realistic and we teach everyone to be the best, in martial arts, in school, in life. All students can learn. I want my students to have fun and an enjoyable experience at Tracy’s, where we are like family.”
Being family friendly is something Ben feels very strongly about here at Tracy’s. He certainly should know – his uncle Tim Golby and cousin Dan Golby work with him, and his wife Katie Pratt was ranked #2 in the World.
In June of 2013 Ben was inducted into the International Kenpo Hall of Fame.