This picture was taken 20 years ago while I was testing for my green belt. Who knew what would come next?
The term self-defense has a more literal meaning than I ever realized. As a young student I always felt that my training was preparing me for a time that I would have to defend myself from others in my world. I would assume that this is a very common stance on self-defense for a child or even a young man. I trained thinking I would always be ready for a bully, big or small, old or young, fast or slow. I trained to prepare myself if I were ever to be attacked, jumped, caught in a riot, or any other attack. I trained hard and got pretty tough¦ I think.
As my responsibilities have changed over the years in the Dojo and as a man, I have realized that my definition and perception of Self-Defense has changed as well. Through my 25 years of training, studying and teaching, I have come to understand that the greater meaning of Self-Defense is having the ability to defend one’s self from one’s self. It was the reinforcement of principles that I learned from my Sensei which led me to feel this way.
As many of you may know, my father created Pendo Karate, so I practically grew up in The Dojo. In fact, I don’t remember any part of my life without it. It has always been “the place for me to be.” Even when I thought I didn’t want to go, I went. This was never a result of my father pushing me to to go.
The bottom line is I love being here.