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Politically Incorrect

December 23, 2016 Leave a comment

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I took about half of my students from the dojo to The Progressive Care Center Wednesday night to sing Christmas carols for the elderly residents there. We stopped in the dining room and sang for the ladies and gentlemen still eating their dinner. Then we walked down the hallways singing a nice variety of songs. There were many greetings, salutations, and best wishes passed on. The words “Merry Christmas” were exchanged several times. These people said that freely with no guilt or regret. Why? Because that is the way they were raised. They were, for the most part, brought up being taught that Christmas was a special day that was meant to bring people together and bring out the best in them.

Today, at work, I wished a co-worker Merry Christmas. She said the words back almost as a natural reaction. Then a very strange look came over her face and she told me that she hoped that didn’t offend me (this after I initiated the greeting). I looked at her and smiled. I asked her why she thought being wished a Merry Christmas would offend me. In the same vein, why would celebrating a day that emphasizes peace, love, and good will to all people be considered offensive?

 

I am 54 years old. I, too, grew up holding Christmas as a special time of the year where we shared love and joy with each other. I remember those years as being happy and learning that this was a time of the year we look to our fellow men with love and compassion. We go out of our way to do special things for each other out of love.

 

Have we come so politically correct that we snub our noses at those sentiments? Are we so worried that we will offend someone that we forsake good will? And by the way, what the hell is so offensive about wishing someone peace and happiness?

“It offends me that you said that because I am (fill in the religion or non-religion of your choice)”

 

So you’re telling me that because you do not believe what I believe that my honest and sincere wishes for your prosperity and good fortune are offensive? You’re saying that because you worship differently, or don’t worship at all, that my holiday greeting to you is bad? I’m a bad person because I wish you and your family the best during this season. That is one of the most insane things I have ever heard.

People stand up on a soap box and speak about their Constitutional rights. Let me give you a lesson in the Constitution. The First Amendment gives you freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.  The founding fathers of our country realized that the Church of England had been ruled and directed by the government for many, many years. In those days practically everyone, and I mean everyone, went to church. The monarchy controlled the church. They knew that if they controlled the pulpit, they controlled the citizens. The fathers wanted nothing like that happening in the new country they had fought so hard to establish. So they wrote the First Amendment so that the government could never have that kind of control.

I know that I am going to take a lot of flack over publishing this. I know there will probably be some people who leave nasty responses to it. The thing is I’m going to read those comments and smile. Why? Because I’m not a Christian. I have been a practicing Wiccan for 20 years. I have no problem with “Merry Christmas”, nativity scenes, Silent Night, Joy to the World, or any of the other things associated with Christmas. So, that being said, I have one thing to say to those who just might be offended,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. May the peace and love of the season be yours and your family’s.   

 

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Visitors in a Traditional Dojo

October 25, 2016 Leave a comment

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Early evening on any Monday and class is in session at a local karate dojo. There are eight to ten students in the room. Sweat is pouring and occasionally a shout cuts through the air. To the passerby the studio may look almost empty. Surely there are more students than this? The Sensei and his Senior Students (Sempai) walk through the group correcting a technique here, offering advise there. Sensei is happy. To him, this is a medium sized class. If there were very many more students he might miss something in one’s training.

 

The average on-looker judges by what they see. There is a karate school around the corner and down the street that has a class going with at least twenty students. There are a lot of children in it. They are playing games and laughing. Earlier one of the instructors was holding a hula hoop and all the kids were taking turns diving through it and landing on an over-stuffed mat. The two or three younger students in this dojo are punching and kicking a hand mitt that one of the Sempai is holding for them. Then on his command, they break away and begin working on kata (open hand forms). As they diligently work on their kata the Sensei will stop one of them every so often and make a correction on a technique. “Make your kick stronger!” “Punch to the solar plexus!” and several other commands can be heard often as the session continues.

 

After a bit Sensei shouts “Yame!” and the students cease whatever they are doing and come to attention. The teacher lines them up and calls one of his Sempai up. He then breaks one of the kata down by sets of movements and demonstrates the “bunkai” or practical applications of what they have been doing. He then tells the students to get a partner and do what he has just done. Even the children are taught the techniques and taught to use them on a partner much larger than themselves. After a bit of this he nods to his most senior student who shouts another word in Japanese and the students fall into line facing the front of the dojo. They bow. They kneel. They close their eyes and sit perfectly still for a couple of minutes. Then they do a kneeling bow to the Shomen. Sensei turns and they then perform a kneeling bow to him. They then stand coming to attention and bow to Sensei who then dismisses the class. As they head for the changing area, they pause before leaving the training floor and once again bow facing the work out area.

 

Most people who witness a traditional karate class for the first time are a little confused. They do not understand much of what they have just watched. They have come to the dojo with a preconceived idea of what is going to happen and in most cases are shocked that this school that professes to be a traditional dojo doesn’t play a lot of games with the children. They are surprised to see that the smaller students work right alongside the older, larger, stronger ones. There is a lot of bowing and a lot of words being spoken that they do not even understand. Most of them will never come back. There is no flash or glam here. There are no wildly colored uniforms. There are no hoops or bouncy balls for the children. There is only…karate.

 

Sadly, what has been forgotten (or never realized) by most people outside of the martial arts is that karate is not a game.

 

Karate is training. It is learning how to defend yourself and learning to defend yourself from attackers that are larger and stronger than you are. If Little Suzy spends her class time bouncing tennis balls off a huge round piece of brightly colored tarp with ten of her BFFs, she will never learn how to defend herself. Likewise, if Little Johnny spends his class playing Red Rover he will never grasp the concept of bunkai. If the student is never encouraged to do better, work harder, and try their best at the art they are learning, they will never grow. They will never become stronger.

 

Karate is dedication. Like the person who was checking out the class for the first time, a staggering percentage of students will take classes for a while and then become bored with the constant repetition of techniques. Every class starts the same. Bow in and do basics. Basics, basics, basics. They never comprehend that they are trying to perfect a technique. They never truly understand that they are building muscle memory. They get bored. They get burnt out. They leave. It’s a sad thing. It’s sad for the student and it’s even more so for the instructor if “growing a business” is the only thing he is there for. The student must be willing, no the student must be strong enough, to endure boredom, repetition, and constant criticism. That said, the traditional Sensei is not heartless. The traditional Sensei knows what limits are. He or she also knows what kindness and compassion are. Sensei will take the student to the edge of what they think they can do and help the student break the barriers and limitations of their beliefs. In doing this, there is growth.

 

Most people ask, “What about team building?” That’s one of a huge number of New Age politically correct terms that we have adopted in our society today. By training with each other and working hard towards a goal the student learns valuable lessons that will last them an entire lifetime. Once they have accomplished a task or reached a goal, they have something to look back on and be proud of. When they reach this state and they see another student struggling with the same obstacle they overcame, they reach out to that student and help them overcome it as well. You see, it’s not team building. It’s not a team. It becomes a family. Families help each other. I’m not sure about you but I would much rather that my family had my back than my team. Most business professionals today would have you believe that team and family are the same thing. They are not and they never will be.

 

The traditional dojo is struggling these days. We live in a society of instant gratification. We see something. We want it. We get it We do this sometimes regardless of the situation. I can’t pay my mortgage this month but I sure do have a fine new truck. Some people walk into a martial arts school these days and they want it all and they want it now. They want to be a black belt in six months. They want to run their own school in a year. They want to have the most popular self- defense course out there in a matter of months. The sad fact is that there are many martial arts schools and martial artists out there that are willing to give someone that…for the right amount of money.

 

Yet people on average take things at face value. They believe whatever hype that someone tells them simply because they don’t know any better. Those who are actually willing to do some research on something often read a huge steaming pile of bull on the internet and take it as gospel because a website said it was true.

 

So here’s some advice for any of you instructors out there that want to take it. If you have a sign on your building that states that you are a traditional stylist, be a traditional stylist. Teach your art for what it is, your art. If you have someone who walks into your dojo wanting to watch because they are interested in perhaps taking your classes, send one of your adult senior students over to sit with them. Instruct them to be there to answer questions the prospective student may have. Don’t preach to them, simply be a source of information. Be proud of your style, your lineage, and the rich history of your art.

 

What Are We Doing To Ourselves?

September 6, 2016 Leave a comment

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Some time ago I read an article about a 10 year old martial arts student who had just earned her THIRD Black Belt…her THIRD. I had to sit back and ask myself “How does this happen?”
Have you ever walked into a martial arts school and saw all the black belts roaming around? They are everywhere and they range in age from 6 up (at least I hope they are at least 6). I was in a dojo one time and a very polite, very well mannered young man walked up to me and asked if he could help me. Around his waist was a black belt with several stripes on it of various colors. I smiled and bowed slightly. I told him that I was only there to watch. He smiled courteously at me and said if I had any questions to please feel free to ask. He then added that he was one of the Assistant Instructors. He might have been 12.
Perhaps you are reading this and know very little about the martial arts. Perhaps you are a parent and your child has been going to the same studio with the same instructor in the same art for a couple of years. All you know of what your child is studying is what you have been told by her instructor. Basically all you know about the martial arts is what you have learned from your child’s training. I’m going to pass on some information to you that you may not know.
In the vast majority of martial arts it takes at least four years of constant, hard, repetitive training to master the basics in order to even be considered for testing for a First Degree Black Belt, or Shodan in Japanese. Four years is being very generous. Some people train for up to six years to test. The four years would be someone who literally lives their art and train every time the dojo door is open. When it’s not, they train at home.
That’s the physical part of the process. However any teacher who is worth their merit knows that the physical aspects are only the surface. A student has to have a certain mental and emotional maturity as well. It’s not enough to be able to execute a nearly flawless side thrust kick one has to know when, why, and why not to throw that kick. What most people seem to have forgotten is the “martial” part of martial arts. Karate, Jujitsu, Kung Fu, and the majority of other styles were created for self defense purposes in times when a conflict could very easily turn into a live or die situation. Warriors trained to make war. Warriors trained to defend themselves from an attacker who had the sole intention of killing them. There is great power and great responsibility in the art that we teach. In feudal Japan a person well skilled in a form of martial art was as powerful (and dangerous) as a person with a firearm in modern times. The training was deadly serious and the skills were deadly serious. Yet, with seemingly no regard for any of that, there are schools out there that award six year olds with the rank of black belt. Would you give a six year old a firearm?
Why are we doing this?
In America the answer is blatantly and painfully obvious:  money. Trust me, there is big money in it. For example I know a school right now that charges $600 for the opportunity to test for a black belt. The under black belt tests are pretty costly as well.
But Little Johnny has trained for two years and has promoted all the way up through the ranks.
And that is the way you, as good paying customers, have been conditioned to think. It seems like every month there is another test. There are only eight belt colors in the system your child is studying yet she went through 32 rank tests to get to black belt. Every time you turned around you were shelling out $100.00, sometimes for a piece of different colored tape on your child’s belt. Here’s some info for you: Martial Arts didn’t even have a belt ranking system until Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo created one.
An instructor promotes an eight year old to black belt. It’s great for self esteem. He has made a ton of money off this kid. But come on, what does it tell the public? It tell them that this is The Best you have. Or even worse, the training being offered there is kids stuff. A certain level of maturity and competence is expected with a black belt. A level that no eight year old could possibly have. I have a couple of rather large men in my dojo and my first question is: Does this kid really have the training, skill, and mental discipline to fight off an attacker of that size?
We are what the public sees us as. In my system, here in America, the youngest one can be awarded the rank of Shodan is 16. The rule varies slightly in Japan. It pains me sometimes to see a six year old child walk into the dojo and want to take classes because I know the odds of that child training under me for ten years are next to impossible. I will take students as young as 6 and I will do my best. Most of them burn out or move on to other things well before they are ready to test for a black belt. When they leave, it is my hope that I have instilled in them some of the basic lessons that karate has to offer.
Don’t misunderstand me. Martial Arts are great for kids. It does teach them valuable skills which makes it easier for them to be better student, better athletes, and better people in general. But have we so badly lost sight of what a black belt means that we promote children to that high of a level of proficiency when in our hearts we know it isn’t right? And it’s not right. If you believe it is then your training was flawed somewhere down the line. Or perhaps you look at it from the point of view that it’s your business and that’s the way you run it. It being a “business” to you is part of the problem. We need to bring back some of the pride that has been lost in what we do. We need to bring back some of the honor that has been lost in the never ending quest to have a successful business. If you make your black belt ranks mean something, it makes your style mean something. If your style means something, you mean something. So by all means, teach kids. Have kids classes. Have a kids program. But let’s not take the very thing that should have the most meaning and the most honor in our systems and make it a children’s game.

When Evil Invades Your Home

April 16, 2015 5 comments

Over the years I have posted a great deal on the subject of Domestic Violence in this blog. I have tried to inform and educate people as much as I could. Admittedly I have been away for a while and have not blogged very much at all. In my time off I have expanded my Defeat the Darkness Self Defense Program to include everyone, not just women. I have also became a member of the Board of Directors for Family Crisis Services Inc here in Canon City. All of that on top of running a martial arts school and working at my “retirement job” at Home Depot.

In that time something very dark and evil crept into my life and my home. It festered and grew right under my nose and the nose of my oldest daughter and we were clueless to the evil that I had fought so hard against all of my life growing stronger and more malignant under our own roof. Ifr

Two years ago (and it hardly seems that long ago) when my wife was taken from us by cancer, my youngest daughter was left vulnerable and hurting deep inside of her spirit as we all were. She had a “friend” who was several years older than her. He and his mom gave her solace and support that somehow her family could not. He had entered my family’s life years earlier from contacts and friends of my other, older, daughter and even though his past was questionable I allowed people to convince me that he was reformed and trying to make a new life for himself. I got a call one night from my youngest daughter with a sound of desperation in her voice. He had been arrested and one of the conditions of his being bonded out was that he had a stable home to which he could be released to. After a few minutes of deliberation I reluctantly agreed.

It’s funny how things slowly evolve. It took them months to actually convince me to allow him to move into her room. The age gap bothered me. Yet, I was basically walking a tight rope. My daughter was 17 and her 18th birthday wasn’t far away. I didn’t want to take the chance of pushing her away or risking her moving out and away on her own. I foolishly thought that if I kept her close, I could guard her.

For those of you who don’t know, here are some of the things an abuser does to their victim.

Firstly they instill a sense of “us against the world” in their victim.

Secondly comes isolation. Isolating takes all manner of forms. They will do their best to cut their victim off from all of their friends and even family. “No one will understand our relationship or what we have”. He started slowly at first. He began to make her cut off all of her friends, either in the real world or on social media. He would approve or disapprove of who she could talk to or associate with.

Control is the goal of an abuser. Ultimate and undisputable control. They will even go to the point of saying what job the victim may work at and what hours they are allowed to work. My daughter was only allowed to work at places where there were older clientele or, in one case, only young children in a Day Care facility. Places where there was little or no chance that anyone, especially a male, of her age would come to.

Isolation from friends and control are important but isolation from family is imperative, in our case in the very same house. Most of you will read that and think that it is impossible. Trust me, it is not. They are abusers that are experts at manipulation. They will convince their victim to do things totally out of their character (drugs for example) then use those things as weapons against them. Likewise they will get close to the other people in the victims life and try to get as much on them as they can. They will take things and exaggerate them to make them look negative in the eyes of the victim.

When the abuser has everything in place, all of the mind games, all of the lies and intimidation, they will then begin to feel safe. They will feel in total control. It seems they have a talent for hurting their victims without leaving visible marks. The victim, who has been isolated for so long feels as if they have no one they can turn to. They have been brainwashed into believing that no one cares or will believe them.

The situation will then follow the typical cycle of Domestic Violence. There will be an outbreak of violence. Then the abuser will apologize, not out of real guilt for what they have done but out of fear of being caught. The abuser will make sweet and nice gestures. They will swear it will never happen again. The victim, who wants to believe, will accept the apology and continue to believe that the abuser is really a good person (they have been brainwashed into that frame of mind after all). That leads to the “honeymoon” stage where everything will be nice, peaceful, and wonderful for a while. Then the abuser will begin to get aggravated at little things. He / she will start letting anger and frustrations pile up until the explosion comes and the violent outbreak occurs again.

My daughter was beaten within inches of her life. Her internal injuries were so sever that she had to be transported via helicopter to another city for emergency surgery. She was in the hospital for a week. No broken bones. No cracked ribs, mind you. The force of the impact of his blows and kicks did all of the damage. Someone asked me the most foolish question anyone can ask of a DV victim today. They asked “What did she do to make him that angry?” The answer is quite simple: nothing. The victim of DV doesn’t “do” anything. What happens is not their fault. They are a VICTIM. The abuser can wake up angry at something that has nothing to do with the victim and the victim becomes his punching bag, his outlet for all of his anger. Another stupid and wrong question: Why didn’t she / he leave? I think I have pretty much explained that. Once again, this is not a question to be asked. They are a VICTIM!

We will go on. We will survive. We are lucky. My daughter could have been killed. She could have died at the hands of her abuser. I came home just in the nick of time. Even then, she was so brainwashed that she was trying to cover up and make excuses for the damage to the house. Oh yes, he did a great deal of damage to things in the house. He destroyed things that he knew had personal meaning to the family. The physical damage will heal. With the grace of God the emotional scars will heal as well. Hopefully the bright, intelligent, young woman that was so full of dreams for a future will once again emerge from the ashes of this broken child. Once again, we are lucky.

If you know someone and you suspect there is abuse, please, please, please, HELP. Talk to them. Tell someone. Be there for them. Trust me it may not seem like it right now but sooner or later they are going to need you. If you are in this situation, for the love of God and everyone around you, get help. Listen to these words and take them to heart. No matter what you believe, no matter what you have been convinced of: They cannot be changed. They will not get better. You can not fix them!

As of this moment, Law Enforcement has still not located the animal that did this to my daughter. My rage and anger are only controlled by the love I have for my daughter and the knowledge that she is going to need me now more than she ever has in her life. Please, if you are out there and you are being abused, if you know someone that you suspect is being abused, DON’T LET THIS BE YOUR STORY.

7 Virtues of Bushido


7 virtues

You’re Doing It All Wrong

April 8, 2013 2 comments

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The dojo completed our Defeat the Darkness benefit for Family Crisis Services last Saturday standing against Domestic Violence, sexual assault and abuse. At the end of a very long day I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. We raised approximately $600.00 toward ending Domestic Violence in our community.

I learned a lot that day. One of the greatest lessons I learned was that all though some people are apathetic to the plague of violence that is rampant in our nation today, there is a host of others that are caring and concerned about the people around them that are suffering silently.

The speakers left an ever-lasting impression on me and I hope to the audience in attendance. These people, many of them volunteers, touched my heart and soul. I even found the courage to tell my own tale and all of it brought tears to my eyes at times.

There are some that turn a blind eye to the subject. There are those who want to help in the beginning, find out what a task, a battle, there is in front of them and back away. Although I understand this aspect of their thought pattern, I wish these people would at least be honest to the public and the victims.

One person related a story to me of a group who went full throttle into helping with the problem. These good-hearted, community-oriented people were great in the beginning. Then at the end of a past Take Back the Night Walk when everyone had gathered in the park (there’s a nice photo and article on this in the archives of this blog) people were allowed to stand up and speak openly. Some people publicly announced they were taking a stand against abuse. Others found a voice and told their own stories of how they had been abused.

This “community- oriented” group and its’ leaders were offended by one or two of the stories that were told. They found the outpouring of emotion and sometimes grief from these people too graphic and offensive. In what I can only consider their self-righteousness they chose to pull out and no longer support the move.

Are you crazy?

Want graphic? How about this…if you have a deep wound and you rip the scab off of that wound, it’s going to bleed! If you have a diverse group of people gathered together on the subject of Domestic Violence and abuse, emotions are going to rise to the surface because the thin veil that is holding back all of that pent up anguish is going to be torn away. This is the real world not some sanitary environment you have created where the boogie man lives outside somewhere. The boogie man lives right next door to you. He may be hiding in your own home. Real life is not a fairy tale where stories of dragons and monsters are told. We don’t live in the Middle Ages where priests told stories of demons and monsters living “out there” in the forests and had rituals and magics which would get rid of them which were never really used because at the end of the day no one had actually saw a monster. This is the 21st century. We have our own dragons and monsters and they are real. We really see them every single day when we watch the news or read the paper.

If you are out there, especially those of you who teach martial arts, and you have this kind of mind set, you need to wake up! The monsters are real. Violence is real. Abuse is real. People come to you in order to learn to defend themselves. Some of these people have experienced violence. They have been attacked or know someone close to them who has. They have met the monster. They have shook hands with the Devil. They are looking to you for help. For you to sit in your little make believe world and refuse to accept that is wrong. For you to teach people self-defense methods and techniques that you’re not even sure will work in real-life is wrong. Most of all and most important, for you to be angry or offended at a person for opening their heart is wrong! Don’t get angry or offended at the victim for opening up. Get angry at the crime. Get angry at the suffering! Get offended at the fact that we see this every single day an treat it like it’s “just life”. Or even worse, we ignore it completely.

In other words: You’re doing it wrong and your heart is in the wrong place. What is even worse is that in your pious indignation you are hurting the very people you claim to want to help.

Take your blinders off. Stop thinking about your reputation and your desire to make money for a moment and realize that you have intentionally put yourself in a position of authority and knowledge. People look to you for guidance. They look to you for advice. In a lot of very deep and personal ways, they look to you for compassion and understanding. If you’re going to place yourself in a position to help people then do it. If you don’t have the talent, knowledge, or courage to see it through then stop dancing around the thing. In the end you will get someone hurt either physically or emotionally.

I’m not a professional counselor. I have no degree. I do not want people to look at me in that manner. However I want to help. I am committed to help. In that commitment I have made connections with people who are professionals. I am set up so that if anyone comes to me and needs help I can direct them to people who can help them.

I suppose you could say I am a “professional” martial artist although I hate to use that term. I am trained and I have real-world experience with violence. I can, in that capacity, teach people how to defend themselves. Although I do attempt to increase my knowledge and continue to learn, I have no need for outside self-defense programs, catering to women or otherwise, to augment my teachings, line my wallet, or fatten my bank account. In that aspect I can confidently contribute to ending violence. I’m not a savior. I’m not even, in my mind, a leader in this fight. The volunteers that man those phones 24/7, the people who put victims up in safe houses, the staff who counsel and advocate for the abused, those are the leaders and heroes in this fight. I’m just a voice. I’m just a single pair of hands that are outstretched to try to help. I am a simple Sensei who refuses to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to what is going on. I have seen enough real violence in my life that I am not so thin skinned that I would turn my back on anyone simply because I felt “offended”. If you are one of these people yet you have set yourself up to be a champion for the cause; You’re doing it all wrong! And I have to wonder what else you claim to be or take up a cause for that you will simply walk away from because you find something offensive or something doesn’t fit into the nice little box of your life.

Good-bye My Friend

October 19, 2012 6 comments

Please forgive me. I usually type out my posts on a word sheet and check the spelling. Tonight I will try my best without that so please overlook the typos.

I got the news today that my very best friend in the whole world had passed almost two weeks ago.

Les had been ill for a long while. He had contracted Hep at his job at the prison. To complicate things, he had diabeties. When I last saw him, back in the spring, his arms and face were skinny, yet his stomach was bloated beyound belief. His mom came out here to stay with him and remained all summer. Les retired on a medical from the state prison and went home to MO so his mom could look after him. He had moved to Rifle CO and was too far away for me and my family to check on him,

Les went home. His health steadily declined. We had hoped that being home and being with his family would have helped improve his health. Instead he grew worse. His mom told me that he went to the hospital and it took two deputies and the two ambulance attenents to get him loaded. She said that until they got his pain under control, he would lay there and scream. Once they did he was peaceful. He was put in a nusrsing home for a little while. Terrible thought that a 53 year old man be in a place like that. His mom arranged for hospice and he was brought home. Very soon after Les’ kidneys shut down and in two days time he passed from this world in the middle of the night. He was in no pain when he left this world and surrounded by his family.

I cannot put into words the emotions I feel right now. When I first began my career in the MO Department of Corrections, Les was my teacher, my mentor, and my guide. He became much more than that. When people endure the stress of working in that enviroment on a constant basis, they become more than friends. Les became the brother I have never had. He stuck by me in thick and thin and was more of a family member to me than anyone I am related to by blood.

This blog is all about karate. Les never took one single lesson in his life. Yet he was one of the greatest warriors I have ever known. He was hard and gruff and tough as nails. Unless you knew him personally, you probably would not have liked him. I was one of the few people who was honored to know him personally and to know that he had a heart as big as he was (and trust me he was a BIG man …over sx feet and well over 200 pounds). He treated my daughters like they were his own. Both of them, along with my wife, are deep in mourning for him. He was a force to be reckoned with inside of the walls. He very seldom saw a gray area. There was only right and wrong, black and white. I didn’t always agree with him but then again, he didn’t always agree with me, on philosophies and world views. Yet we blended. In the truest sense we were brothers.

I miss him. I will miss him for a long, long time. He gave me a love for guns, harleys, and helped me discover who I was and become the man I am.

Please forgive me. This may not be the proper venue for this but it’s 2 am and it is heavy on my heart.

Good-bye, my brother. The prison took your life in the most subtle way and it took it way too soon.

This is for you…until we meet again…because we’ve only got 100 years and you got cheated out of half

http://youtu.be/tR-qQcNT_fY