My First Day in the Martial Arts

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Good morning my fellow Americans and those listeners throughout the world. Welcome to another edition of Today, I’m going to kind of tell you a little bit about myself. I know a lot of people like talking about themselves but this is kind of important.

As I’ve shared with you previously, I’ve been a martial artist for fifty two years. Let me tell you about my first day as a martial artist. As a young boy, I was taken to Japan by my grandparents I grew up with and we moved to Narita, Japan when I was three months old. At four and a half, almost five years of age. My grandfather asked me if I would want to go to Judo classes. I was a little kid and all I did was play with my friends in the neighborhood, Japanese kids and other American dependence of military people like my grandfather was. I said, ‘Yes, sure’. So, that morning, it was cold, it was a brisk in November day. When I actually began my martial arts classes just before Thanksgiving in 1958 and I walked hand and hand with my grandfather that morning and we were going to a building that was very close to where we live. Probably, within four-five hundred feet if I would even recall as a little child but maybe trek, they were probably in the next seven years. It was okay.

We never had a set judo instructor teaching the American dependence on base. Usually, first to fifth degree black belts, and these guys were really good and they were all Japanese instructors. Once in a while, we had a European or American instructor who would be there to work with my grandfather who had been a martial arts practitioner in 1958 for almost forty years. He was pretty good and he was a Judo practitioner, too. Knowing his rank, I had no clue though relatives that I would be able to ask were also been deceased, for the last dozen years or so. But I’m assuming that he was at third, fourth degree, somewhere there. But this building that we walked in was a concrete floored building that had Tatami mats that were spread out on the floor for Judo practice. The adults would gather at one end of the room and the children at the other end. Yes, there were other kids and this was one of the things that I think my grandfather brought me here for was to participate in the learning and apprehension of the philosophical things that I understand before about Judo and of the physical aspects of Judo that would help me in the martial arts. For years to come and fully it did. We had gathered at the other of the room and my grandfather instructed the young man that we were working out with, who was a black belt student, a bald-headed man. Very shiny forehead, it was kind of odd. His name was Iyushi. Iyushi was very kind and what he did was he proceeded that first day with me. He asked me if I’d ever studied before and he spoke excellent in English, most of the Japanese instructors did. He asked me if I ever done Judo and I said ‘No, I never had’. He asked me if I know anything about it and I said ‘Yes, my grandfather does it’ and he just kind of laughed. What he did was he took the children who were there, there were four of us, my age at four, almost five years old, the next month I was going to be five. The oldest was nine, what he did was he taught us how to break ball and he would just tell us, ‘Just fall backward’. Well after a couple of very jarring impact, he said ‘Look, here is how you do it’. He taught me how to bring my lower body down and to slap my hand down to absorb the impact and after several jarring incidents I actually did do it. It was fun. Then what he did was he taught us how to do tumbling, forward rolls, how to just roll at first and then how to come up on our feet until we can grab. Then he taught us take downs. The practice lasted about an hour and a half, the day was really incredible. I had a wonderful time and it was like I folded time.

By the time I began, by the time I mended was an instant and when you are five years old you have an attention span of maybe two minutes or something like that. My attentions span was captivated for the whole hour and a half and it was great, I enjoyed it very much. This was my first day and I learned to break ball, I learned rolls and I learned some tumbling things, I kind of learn how to trick people, actually take downs. But for me it was just gripping people. I had a wonderful time. I walked back home with my grandfather that day and he asked me, ‘What did you think about it?’ and I said ‘It was a lot of fun’ and he asked me if I wanted to go back. Well, going back was great and it was something that I shared with my grandfather for the next several years, up until the age of ten.

We were in Narita, up until I was eight years old. Then, we went to Okinawa, to Naha City, Okinawa and then to Subic base in the Philippines and then back to Conway Marine Cornivalers Station in Hawaii at a vacant field. We lived on and off base over the years and we went back to Florida. When I went back to Florida, it was kind of almost of an ending to come with things that I did but I did get to participate for some of my grandfather’s friends there. But my first day was the best day and it’s still memorable, fifty plus years later.

Thank you for your time and I hope that you enjoyed the story. Good day.

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