Thundercloud employee spotlight: black belt karate master Aaron Alt
ThunderCloud Subs is a local treasure not only for its tasty subs, but for its wealth of talented, creative, and passionate employees. Many regular customers of the Burnet Road and Anderson Lane store are familiar with manager Aaron Alt, but most probably don’t know he has a second-degree black belt in karate.
Aaron has managed his ThunderCloud for more than a decade and has worked for the company for more than 18 years. Starting out as a part-time sub maker while attending college, Aaron says he never imagined he’d be where he is now. The relationships he’s built with his ThunderCloud team and customers, and his respect and gratitude for co-owners Andy, John, Mike and Patty, continue to fuel his passion for his work at ThunderCloud Subs.
Aaron discovered another of his passions while working at ThunderCloud—a style of karate called Uechi-Ryu, based on the movements of the tiger, dragon, and crane that was introduced in the United States in 1958.
Aaron grew up watching the movie Karate Kid and practiced taekwondo when he was younger, but hadn’t been practicing when a former ThunderCloud employee introduced him to Uechi-Ryu and encouraged him to try it. The two worked together learning new techniques and training, and after six years of hard work and patience, Aaron recently received his second-degree black belt. He flew to Connecticut in July where he and 40 other people from across the country spent five days testing for different belt degrees. Out of the 40, eight people came from the Uechi-Rye Austin, the local dojo (much like a studio), where Aaron trains.
Aaron hopes to one day open his own dojo to teach people the art of karate like he learned from his Sensei (or teacher), and he also hopes to visit Japan in the future.
Until then, Aaron practices at his dojo several days a week and fills in as a teacher occasionally. (You’ll likely catch him there on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.) Another Austin hot spot where you might find Aaron when he’s not working at ThunderCloud is Waterloo Records, where he goes to expand his extensive vinyl collection. Some of his other favorite Austin haunts are the Greenbelt, Barton Springs, and the Drag area of Guadalupe St.
If you haven’t already met Aaron, be sure to stop by the Burnet Road and Anderson Lane store to say hello and try out his favorite sub: Egg Salad with avocado and jalapeno added, which he calls the “Dojo Delight”.