I’ve Got A Birthday Coming Up

Or maybe it is an anniversary. I’m not sure. Whatever it is though, it’s special to me. No, it is not my birthday as most think of it. It’s the day after my birthday when, after 3 years of talking, begging and pleading, my parents allowed me to start studying Judo and Karate. Will wonders never cease? In 1964 nice Jewish boys did not study fighting – at least not if you didn’t live in Israel. (I can’t speak for that experience.) But it was different for me. I needed to study judo and karate – needed it with a passion that can only be appreciated now, 50 years later. That’s right: 50 years I’ve been studying, training, reading, thinking about the martial arts, what they mean, how to do better at them.

Fifty years! That’s over nineteen thousand days. Over that time I’ve probably worked out, studied, strained and pushed myself on over 8,000 days. Maybe even 9,000 days. I don’t think it’s been 10,000 days yet. And my workouts averaged at least 2 hours. There were years when I would work out 6 days a week, 3-4 hours a day. I truly have no idea how much time I’ve spent in the dojo or watching tape or reading and studying the martial arts. But it must be 15,000 – 20,000 hours. Maybe more.

So on this date, at this time, I thought I should mention just a few of the people who inspired me, trained me and encouraged me:

  • Sensei Yamagushi, my first sensei, in Mexico City, who taught me Judo and Shotokan karate;
  • Tatsumo Makeda who taught me Ishen -ryu karate;
  • Mr. Roberts, my GrandMaster, who taught me for almost 30 years, Mu Duk Kwon Tang Su Do and Myu Sim Ryu weapons;
  • the 3 hermanos Goldfarb in Mexico City who taught me never to back down,
  • Trooper and
  • Sherman.

There are also you others (you know who you are), whose names are left unsaid but not forgotten who also taught by example and inspiration.

It’s funny how when you are 16 you don’t realize what you are getting yourself into. Funny how, when you are 66, you look back at the journey and marvel, not at what you’ve done but at how much more there is to do. And then I wonder whether there will be time to do it. I hope so.

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