My journey on the path of martial arts started when I was six years old. I took judo classes from Sensei Maley once a week. After achieving mastery and advancing to yellow belt, I pretty much knew I was ready to take on the world. I remember at the end of one class when Sensei said, “Next time, I’m gonna make you sweat so much, it’s gonna look like you just got out of the shower!” I never went back. I think at that point I realized that I was above and beyond what he had to teach me.
My next formal training, some ten years later, was in Shorin Ryu, where I studied intently in Giddings, Texas for a few weeks. The lessons I took away sharpened my instincts and set the stage for my next level of practice…
Aikido. About 20 years later, I underwent brutal and intense training in Austin, Texas. The four months of suffering and sacrifice was worth it, though. I got a girlfriend and realized that I pretty much had learned all that my senseis had to teach me. It’s crazy how much I know!
Now, almost 40 years after my journey began, I’ve come full circle, and I’m studying karate and kung-fu. Before you say to yourself, “That sounds cool! I think I’ll do it, too!”, be warned: this training is NOT for the faint of heart. When I decided that I was REALLY dedicated, I went out and got myself a copy of “Dynamic Kung Fu and Karate” (Copyright 1974, Demaru, Inc.). This LP is worth its weight in gold! Even though my Sensei on the album gives clear instructions, I find that the black and white photos in the accompanying instructional booklet give me the edge I need to win.
Sometimes I’ll put this record on and listen to it while I’m washing dishes, or dusting, and I know that my training is taking me even further along the path! Occasionally, my Sensei will speak with a directness that borders on harshness; I’m learning that this helps me to develop exactly the kind of toughness I need to survive in the dojo, and on the streets. Plus, I know that I’m getting the depth and breadth of training that I truly need; my Sensei requires me to feel like I’ve fully mastered each technique before advancing to the next one. After just a few days, I feel like I really, truly understand every technique on Side One! I can’t wait to receive my black belt in the mail!