Last month I transitioned from the realm of middle age to senior citizen. I still feel middle aged but society and numbers say differently. As I turned 60 I began to look back at my martial arts training and the journey that I am still on. I have met some wonderful people along the way and have learned quite a bit about life and myself.
I remember the first time I had seen anything about karate. I was in elementary school and my oldest brother had a magazine about karate and to this day I cannot remember the name of it. I do remember that it was all on the Japanese arts and I do remember some of the names as well one was Hidetaka Nishiyama. I saw pictures of, what to me was remarkable, of people doing these amazing kicks and breaking boards. I so wanted to learn karate at that time.
When I got to college I started to study Tae Kwon Do and my first instructor was master Sang Oh Moon at Cleveland State University. I loved every minute of my classes and training. I met so many people there and wish that I had stayed in touch with them. I also realized, at least for me, that no matter what style of martial art I study I always seem to drift back to the one I started with.
Having to leave school before finishing I studied with other teachers until finally obtaining my black belt and then going on to obtain my third degree through the World Martial Arts College founded by Grand Master Ibraham Ahmed.
I also studied various other arts such as Goshinjusu with Robert Peto and obtained the rank of yonkyu. I also studied Kajukenpo at the Karate Institute of Cleveand with Dennis Janes who studied under AlGene Caraulia winner of the first World Karate Championships in 1963. Of course there were the many videos and training manuals that I poured over. I did get to go to a Bill Wallace seminar held in Cleveland which was amazing.
I competed in several small local tournaments and did not do too bad. One of the big ones that I remember was the Canadian American open tournament held at Baldwin Wallace College. I remember watching Cynthia Rothrock compete in forms and if I had known she was going to be a popular movie actress I would have gotten her autograph.
The martial arts have taught me a great deal about dealing with adversity. It gave me confidence and taught me how to persevere. The martial arts have made me who I am today. Not perfect but continuing to strive to not only make myself better but those around me as well.
Now my passion is studying Tai Chi and Qigong. I teach and write but I still practice my Tae Kwon Do as it is in my blood. I hope that my teaching helps those who learn from me and I hope that my books are able to provide an interest for people to want to learn Tai Chi and Qigong and even perhaps start a journey much like the one that I am on.