I began my studies in the martial arts in Judo, when I was in high school after being involved in the school’s wrestling and gymnastics after school programs in 1963. I continued my martial arts studies when I was in the U.S. Air Force under several different instructors, only one of whom stands out now in my mind, Master Powell in Tucson, Arizona. I studied under him off and on from 1967 until 1970 when I was discharged from the Air Force. I also studied or worked out with different styles of the martial arts while I was stationed overseas in the Orient.
During my two tours I was stationed mostly in Vietnam at Ben Hia Air Force Base. I spent as much time as I could to learn the martial arts on base with the Vietnamese instructors. I did enjoy studying under the few teachers I could find while I was traveling for the Air Force. During the four years that I was traveling in and out of the Orient I did study and learn many of the customs and traditions of the Orient. I studied Buddhism and Hinduism from the information I could get at the time.
During the time I was in country I would visit and communicate with the local people of Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, and Japan on cultural situations and history. Their philosophies about life and how we are here to live together and respect each other was quit impressive but not followed by the new generation. I lived in Vietnam for over 300 days during the two tours with the 100th Strategic Air Command (U-2 and SR-71 to recon the country).
I really got seriously involved about the martial arts in 1974 under Sensei Helen Paridise who was one of Grandmaster Ron Balas’s students from Cleveland Ohio. She was teaching Tai Shin Doh as a self-defense class in St. Petersburg, Florida, at St. Petersburg Junior College in January, 1974. I started to take classes from Sensei Paridise several days a week both on the Junior College campus and on Saturdays at the Fossil Park Facility in St. Petersburg. I became her Uke and assistant for teaching and doing Demo’s from the time I reached San-Kyu. In June of 1976, I was introduced to Master Ron Balas who was invited to evaluate the class of Sensei Paridise in St. Petersburg, Florida. Master Balas interviewed me after my test and asked me if I thought I could teach the classes when Sensei Paridise moved to California that summer.
I was surprised and honored to be selected to fill her position. I interviewed with Dr. Ed Long Director of the Continuing Education Course at the St. Petersburg Junior College. I asked if I would be allowed to take over her classes when she left and it was approved when I received my Teacher certificate from the State of Florida that year. I had to apply for a teacher’s certificate from the State of Florida to teach classes as a Personal Physical Fitness Instructor. I received my certification from the State of Florida in June of 1976 just in time to start teaching classes in the spring term.
Course title: Self Defense for Men and Women
Locations: St. Petersburg Junior College, Florida Fitness Center and Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg
Teaching under: Adult Education Programs, Continuing Education and Self Defense Awareness
Course description: The course was a combination of various self-defense techniques that assist individuals in defending themselves against both physical attacks and attacks by people with weapons. It combined techniques used in Judo, Jiu-jitsu, aikido and karate. We also taught many exercises to help build the balance and strength needed to perform the techniques that we were teaching. This was a non-contact sport to teach the martial arts in a SAFE learning environment under the State Education system of Florida.
Nature of audience: This course was designed to teach anyone, regardless of age, the art of self-defense. Physical abilities were no hindrance either because we had several styles to choose from to offset the limitations imposed by most disabilities.
Purpose or community needs served: Learning how to defend yourself. I taught hundreds of students what to do to defend themselves during an attack. I taught them how to overcome their fears and build self-confidence.
Other places classes were taught: Cleveland, Ohio: Tennessee; Clearwater, Florida; Safety Harbor, Florida; Seminole, Florida; and Madeira Beach, Florida (plus Largo, Florida, by teachers qualified by, Grandmaster John C. Spinks, Tai Shin Doh)
Other Styles involved in my back ground besides Tai Shin Doh:- Sensei Bob Martin, Chito-Ryu style; his rank is Yan-Dan (his school is in Gulfport, FL) - Sensei John Vinciguerra, Chito-Ryu style; his rank is San-Dan (he has replaced Sensei Martin) - Nung Bedell, Yoshuki karate style; his rank is San-Dan (Seminole, Florida) - Dr. Clifford Jones, Cuong Nhu Oriental martial arts style, under Master Ngo Dong (Tallahassee, Florida) - Grandmaster Michael Kinney, Karate, Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, in St Petersburg, Florida