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Japanese Karate

During the 1960's, I joined a Karate class near the SMU campus. The teacher, Alan Steen was a student of Jhoon Rhee, who had taught at the University of Texas. Alan later went on to open and control a large franchise of karate dojos throughout Texas. He also was well known in the fighting and did well at the Long Beach International Championships, fighting people like Chuck Norris. This was at the beginning of the karate boom in the US. The class was an old-style Tae Kwon Do school that was conducted much like the current Japanese hard styles being taught today.

I later joined Mr. Oshima's International Shotokan school in Manhattan Beach CA, where Paul Morgan and Bob Fonse taught. Later, my three daughters and young son began to workout there, along with Lou. There was a joke at the school about us -- "the family that fights together, stays together."

After we moved to Lompoc CA, I worked out with Bushin-Kai karate, taught by sensei Alan Bush. Bush was a tough teacher and a master tactician at kata (forms) as well as kumite (sparring). The Bushin-Kai workouts were two hours long, conducted mostly with all students in a low kiba dache (horse riding) stance. We dreaded when new students came in, because there was always an initiation of trying to get them to quit (if they were able to make the first workout, they were more likely to continue and not waste the teacher's and other's time). After promotion to black belt, I had the opportunity of going to Japan to study with the Busin-Kai master, Kaicho Kanda (Kaicho means president). During this time, I slept on the floor in the Southern Japan dojo. One Saturday morning about 4AM, I was awakened to see the entire school's black belt population coming in the door. A few minutes later, two other black belt students came in. I recognized them because they were introduced to me as being wealthy owners of a glass factory. They were about 30 years old and that morning they looked like they had been at a party all night. Because they were two minutes late, they had to go through the gauntlet of being slapped in the face by all black belts that were of higher rank. Ironically, they showed appreciation for being slapped, and asked for forgiveness. Later, in the children's class, any error by a child was rewarded by a slap in the face from the instructor. If the child did not cry, the parents sitting around the room would applaud their child. All this discipline and harse workouts seem to be brutal in retrospect. However, I am very appreciative that I was able to get my karate foundation in this style.

On my job, I traveled a lot and would always stop in and workout with different styles. One of these places was Maracaibo, Veneuesla, where I mat a Shurin Ryu master from Japan. While there, he taught me some white crane katas which impathized mixed slow and fast moves, with internixed dynamic tension. Back in the states, I used these katas in some open style tournaments with great success. Later, I spent a lot of time in Washington DC and met Steve "Nasty" Anderson, who had been the World Karate Fighting champion for several years. What impressed me about Nasty was his workout schedules. He claimed that he hand "no natural talent" and had to overcome this with work and practice. Whether this was true or not, the end result was the same - he would either win by superior capability, or would outsmart his opponent. I began to learn fighting techniques from Nasty and was able to use them to win some significant tournaments (in the Master's Division).

At this time, I decided to start an eclectic organization, the Bushido-Te Karate Association, which was represented in Lompoc CA, Atascadero CA (Sensei Gracie), Ft. Worth TX (Sensei Steve Woods), Hisperia CA (Sensei Steve Woods), Cocoa FL (Sensei Steve Woods),   and Washington DC (sensei Craig McPherson). Sensei Woods is a frequent contributor to Kung Fu Magazine.  He is one of the most eclectic practioners in the U.S., with many years of Japanese karate, Kung Fu, weapons, kick boxing, Jeet Kune Do and dirty street fighting.  Sensei Woods works at Boeing Corp. in Southern California and teaches several eclectic classes.

During this time, I actively sought to get outside masters to come share their "wares." These experts included Fumio Demura (of the Karate Kid fame), Kenneth Funaloshi (relative of the founder of Japanese karate), World champion Nasty Anderson, California champion fighter Johnny Gyro, Soke Harris Warren (jiu jitsu), Sifu Jan Ford (Kung Fu), sensei John Sells (Shito-ryu), sensei Frank Landers (Kenpo) sensei Roger Hart (Okinawa-te)t, and Sensei Ray Villador (Shito-Ryu). One of the most impressive visiting instructors was Master Oyata, who taught Tuite. Oyata had developed the one punch knockout strike and the demonstration was attended by people from all over California. Oyata had developed his style by killing people with his bare hands during World War II on Okinawa. Friday nights at my dojo in Lompoc CA were always open to all styles and many instructors and students from other styles attended.

That's me on the left fighting for the grand championship in San Diego -- I lost

 

 

 

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