Maj. Michael Griffin

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Maj. Michael Griffin is a B-1 Lancer pilot with the 10th Flight Test Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. As a B-1 pilot, he flies and tests the aircraft after scheduled heavy maintenance is completed.

While attending the University of Texas as a college student, Griffin was a martial arts enthusiast who studied many disciplines. But after he began his Air Force career nearly 16 years ago and started a family, he had to reprioritize things and sideline his martial arts training.

However, after moving to Oklahoma, his now 11-year-old son, Hayden, started showing interest in martial arts. They eventually found a nearby Taekwondo gym and practiced together for about three years, and last September, the father and son earned their Taekwondo black belts alongside each other.

“That was pretty powerful—just having that experience with my oldest son,” he said. “The shared hardships, the shared struggles—for about four months, every Saturday, we’d go in and do the black belt prep class.”

Griffin also recalled the moments after completing the black belt test, which he said was a very special moment for him.

“The test is about four hours,” he said. “Once you get done, and you’re sitting there, and you’re tired and sweating, and then your son comes up to you and hugs you, you’re just like ‘This is awesome!’”

Griffin and Hayden are currently training for their second-degree black belt and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. In fact, Griffin said they’ve jokingly talked about eventually opening their own gym one day, but only time will tell if that comes to fruition.