Absolutely I like Tom Brown, he was awesome.

Well, I started martial arts around 5 yrs old at the YMCA’s mainly as a cheap alternative to daycare for my parents.  Initially it was Judo and I progressed over the years to competing in international (ie. American-Canadian) tournaments.  By that time I was going to one YMCA for Judo and then taking the bus to another for Karate.  This was in the days before all that much child-napping and such.  By the time I got to college I was pretty good.

Turns out my college had a ‘Varsity’ full-contact Karate program where we would go to Philly every week or two and compete against other colleges.  In those days full-contact meant you wore a cup and a mouth guard.  No head gear or pads.  Head shots were severely regulated however in that you needed to demonstrate you could clearly see your target – no blind shots.  I think the two instructors were getting degrees or college credit or something, me, I was in in for the fighting.  I trained 7 days a week, 4 hrs a day boot-camp style … do 1000 of this kind of kick, these punches, rolls, take-downs, arm-bars, etc. The best 3 would fight, the next 6 or so would compete in forms.  All of the contestants were black belts.  Me and another guy alternated in the 3-4 positions right behind the two instructors.

I remember my first tournament. I went in against a guy named Kwame (who later became my good friend).  I looked straight ahead … right into his belly button it seemed.  I’m a shade under 6′ but he was well over 7′.  I felt like those 3 stooges shows where your feet are backpeddaling like mad but someone is keeping you in the ring against your will ;)

I did that for like 4 years before I graduated and had to get a real job.

I kept in it at a much lower level for about 8-10 more years when I just plain got too old to compete at that level.





Big Bears Don't Tree