Ah, the martial arts. This is my first love, outside of my mother (every guy loves his mother unless she treated him badly). My mother was the one that first got me into the martial arts. Though, I remember her practicing her kendo movements all the time. That was before my formal training in Goju while our family lived in Okinawa during my youth.
My mother comes from Japan. She learned much of what she knew by watching her older brothers practice both kendo and judo everyday. It was part of the normal training of certain Japanese families during those times. Not so much now. I sure wish I could have been around in those days as my uncles practiced their arts. My older uncle was killed in the Philippines during WWII. My uncle Keiji survived. They were both officers in the Japanese Army. It was a tough time. And as I learned of my family heritage from both my mother and father, I had relatives that were on opposing sides of the war. The United States versus Japan.
My early days in the martial arts while living in Okinawa was very disciplined and challenging. As a child, had that type of training occurred in the United States today, it would have been considered child abuse. Back in those days it was quite normal and still is in many parts of the world. I used to get bloody knuckles from the training. And I would not have wanted it any other way. After 3 years of training and time in Japan, I came back to the U.S. with my family.
Those early days back in the States had me running around looking for a dojo. Though, there were none to be found where my family lived. It would not be until later in my life when I would formally get back into training. I did come across guys in the military who worked with me.
It wasn’t until later did I find better teachers in the martial arts. And while in the Marines, I was able to train quite extensively in both hand-to-hand combat and the martial arts. Times were fun then. I worked my way up to black belt and more recently to 5th degree black belt in Kenpo as well as a senior instructor in Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Kali and Kali-Silat. I also am master instructor in close quarter combat.
Martial arts will always be a part of me. It seems I was born into it. And I will carry it to the end of my life.