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Thread: Back in time

  1. #46
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    Re: Marketing and the Spread of an Art

    Originally posted by arnisador

    For TKD especially I think they have made a point of marketing it very well--they approached it as a business. It was a vocation as well as an avocation. Why not? It only makes sense, really, not to count on your love of the art.

    I note also that (amateur) wrestling has never been so very popular here in the states--it's the first sport to be dropped by a high school or college if there's financial exigency.
    Correct-a-mundo on both counts. It is more complicated, but we shall not go there! What many in the American Judo world for got is the following:

    The Last Teachings of Professor Jijoro Kano

    Judo is the way to use most efficiently one’s mental and physical strengths.

    By training, one should discipline and cultivate his body and spirit through the practice offense and defense thereby, to master the essence of this way. And, by dint of these means, it is the ultimate goal of Judo to build oneself up to perfection and benefit the world.

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    I'll never agree with that last statement. No I don't personaly know you but you have brought the world of JUdo alive through these posts. History is befor my eyes to read and envision.

    Please , tell us more of the days you studied and some of those fun and not so fun events that shaped Judo here in the U.S. and elsewhere

    Shadow

  3. #48
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    It's hard to begin, but you asked for it . Maybe from the present back. I worked in Time Service Engineering at the U.S. Naval Observatory and retired last year. Was working inside the Beltway for 4.5 years. Really was not interested in Martial Arts then, other than BS'ing about it, but did manage to call or e-mail a few Judo people I knew in the past. Jim Bregman lives in the area and I promised to go up to see him, but was too busy retiring and getting ready to move. Jim as a great Judo competitor, 1964 medal winner, and is now President of the USJA. Talked with George Harris, one of our best Judo competitors of all time and lives close by, but didn't get over to see him. Senator Ben Campbell (R-CO) lives I the area part time and I ran into him on the Memorial Bridge one day. He was riding his "Hog" and I yelled at him. Ben was another of our greatest Judo competitors. I had been in some of Ben's clinics in the past and met him way back in the early 1960's. Not sure if he remember me or not. I was not one of our great competitors.

    Before that I lived in Cutler Ridge, Florida (south of Miami) for 25 years and ran several large Judo clubs. That was a great time in the old life, Judo was popular there in the 1970's and early 1980's. Like my predecessors I would start a club, build it up and train a worthy assistant then leave the club to them and move on to a new place. The last club was at Homestead Air Base, about 5 miles from my home. A good friend, Len Vireira, retired from the Air Force and I took over both his Judo clubs at the base sometime in the early 1980's. Lost contact with him, but think he moved up near Patrick AFB near Melbourne.

    Homestead turned out to be a bummer. I was given space in the weight room at he base gym and had about 50 students. Some GI's and some from several near by clubs. A few older high school types from a friend's club wanted some rough and tumble Judo so they too joined up with my club there. The other club was for kids at some youth hall on base. By then the Air Force was in full retreat from supporting Judo and it became difficult to teach class without people wandering across the mat area, or at times interfering with us. There was a time when we Judo instructors could close up the whole basketball court for as long as we wanted. That really riled up the tall guys

    I had two assistants; one was my best female competitor, Gail Bowen, who I promoted to nidan right after she twice defeated the best gal in Broward County! And the other was a huge Army guy who got shodan in Korea. Later on after the Homestead clubs closed up Gail finished up college and was commissioned in the Army. Haven't seen either one of them in many years.

  4. #49
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    Funny story about Gail. Her father was the president of Southeast Airlines. The CIA airlines! He was a friend and supported Gail in her Judo. She assisted me at Homestead and had a boyfriend who was stationed there and was a former college wrestler from Wisconsin. In fact he had been a State champion and/or AAU champ before. Anyway, he once wanted to demonstrate how some wrestling techniques they used from Judo, so I allowed him to get yoko shiho gatame on me, using his methods, and he nearly split me in two. He was a strong as a bull and I was stupid enough to let him get me in that hold-down! Well, I told him I was impressed and to let me up. He would not! Hum, I thought, I was nearly passed out from his bear grip - so I just took one of his carotid arteries between my thumb and finger and he went out like a light. Later he complained that I used an unauthorized Judo technique. I smiled and told him it depended on what Judo rules he was referring to.

    When the Air finally got to me I just gave up and turned the clubs over to the big guy and retired from teaching. It was time anyway - since the age of 12 years old I had practiced Judo and taught it for 20 years, it was time to do something else. The big Army guy was stationed at a nearby G2A missile range and finally learned how to perform uke duties in kata and uchikomi! Once while I was trying to demonstrate to class how a smaller guy could throw down a big guy with seoinage he leaned on me so hard that we both crashed to the mat, with him on top of me! Now this guy weighed 300 pounds at least and only 170! So, I asked him to randori with me whilst I again demonstrated to the class seoinage, but this time I did not pause to explain anything, I slammed him down so hard he couldn't breath very good for an hour! Little guy gets bug guy sort of thing. The bigger they are the harder they fall

  5. #50
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    The last year of my reign over my class at Homestead was a great disappointment to me. The Air Force seemed to want Judo out of the weight room and the kids club was more of a baby-sitting thing, as many kids' Judo classes are, so I took the hint and departed. The big guy got out of the Army and the clubs just ceased to exist. Of course, in late August of 1992, Homestead Air Force Base blew away in the hurricane and it was closed. Too bad, the Air Force was a great place for Judo activities for nearly 30 years from 1950 to about 1980.

    During the years after I quit Judo some time in the early 1980's some of my old Judo clubs have survived under the care of a few of my assistants. Hopefully they will continue and their assistants will take over and so on. That is about all one can expect of all the time and effort one has to do to start Judo clubs. It is very difficult to find a place to practice in the first place, but setting up a club is ten times harder. In 1973 I joined a club in Miami and the guy running it, Henry Kollegian, introduced me to some big shots in the Dade County Community school system. From there I set up three clubs at various locations. The first thing to do was to arrange for space and to find some mats. Of course, the school had no idea what I was doing and their support was misguided at beast, but after a while they just left me to do the job. That takes a lot of conspiring and manipulating, but if one know the psychology of that profession then you use Judo psychology to make the school think they are managing it all and then just get the job done despite them.

    My assistant was a Cuban-American dude, Alberto Sanchez, was about my age and had been in the Bay of Pigs thing. He had been the student of Cuba's 9th dan Japanese Judo senei (name forgotten) for about 20 years and the Judo Black Belt Federation in the USA would only allow him to be a brown belt! Well, I gave him one of my old worn out obis and had him to shodan in a few days - he was an excellent Judo player and made me the best assistant I had ever had. Last time I hear he was rokudan!

    With the help of several others we set up around ten Judo clubs in the school system. Judo was big time in Dade County. It was a great time then. I have scanned a photo of some of the gang during one of Rick Martens and Phil Porter clinics, standing from left to right: Harold Forchey, ??, Humbereto Bercera, Phil Porter, Lerenzo Mesa, Alberto Sanchez, Frank Payne. Kneeling from left to right: Len Viriera, me, and Ike-Mont-Ros.

    Can't remember the big guy's name second from left in back. Harold is a "former" Marine and a hair dresser! Hum, what a combination

    All of the American-Cuban guys were in the Bay of Pigs thing. Meas, right of Porter, was 50 years old in that photo and had at least 1,000 Judo players in all his clubs! A great guy and friend.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by jeffbeish; 07-14-2002 at 09:30 AM.

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    Looking at the photo in the last post brings back memories. That was taken around 1975 or 76. Harold is not a 7th dan. The second guy I promoted to shodan before then and his name is Gus Hernandez. He has a couple large clubs. Humberto may be godan or so and built up a few good clubs. Phil is now 9th dan and run some big Martial Arts thing. Mesa, if still alive, was shichoidan and probably holds the record for membership in that area. Alberto still runs one or two of my old Judo clubs and rokudan I think. Frank was a high school teacher who lived a block from me then, is godan Judo and rokudan in some sort of jujitsu now.

    I have lost track of Len who I think ended up yodan or godan, maybe lives on the east coast of Florida now. Me, well it's just old me. They forced yodan on me years ago. Means tittle to me now. Ike, well he was my good buddy from a club a few blocks away from my two clubs in South Miami, he's most likely yodan or godan now. We had monthly shiai for out kids and gave each one of them a trophy to take home. It cost us a small fortune, but well worth it. Some of the sensei around thought that was a bad idea, but besides Mesa's clubs, we maintained the largest Judo clubs in the county for years and at least the happiest parents in town. Some of Ike's students went on to place high standings in the national tournaments too. Not bad.

    Over looking all the civil strife and Judo politics I must say that I have known Porter for many years and we are among a very few Judoka that past the fifty-year mark in the art. While Phil still does clinics and whatever I only workout when the spirit moves me. At least he stuck with it all the years.

    Since leaving the Miami area in 1996 I have completely lost contact with the gang in that image. Someday it would be nice to have a reunion of sorts. I wish there were more photographs of other instructors or sensei in the area, but many of the ones I had were destroyed when Andrew nearly blew us away in 1992. I knew Jack Williams, USJF leader, fairly well and several other federation people in the area. They all had large clubs. Henry Kolligian had huge Judo clubs. Pedro Fleitos took over one of my clubs. Rick Fernandez, Bob Cole, Ruth Burkhart, Dan Zinn, Howard King,. We also had a black belt named West, who worked for National Geographic and a shark expert for them. He would keep shark away while the camera guys would take films of them! Broward County had Darrell Sweany, Frank Donaldson, Mike Cobb, Wally Philbrick, and I think Jerry Armstrong.

    If I left anyone out it is only because I wanted to or forgot them. At any rate Florida was always had the largest USJA membership with Dade and Broward Counties holding the record for membership for decades, if not longer, and a bunch of black belts too numerous to name. Forgot George Bass up in northern Florida! George was president of the USJA for many years and is retied now living near Lakeland, just 50 mils from me. Got to get up to see him!

    Many of my old letters, newsletters, photographs, book, and other stuff were ruined by hurricane Andrew. The northern edge of the eye past over my house. Fortunately for us it only damaged my home and caused water damage and some other things. The houses on either side were nearly blown down. Weird how that happened -- it was like that in many areas of the storm path. Weird how it left some of my papers and books alone and made mush out of others.

    Judi was alive and well when I was there in south Florida. For the first ten years I worked from midnight to 8 a.m. and have never remember much of it then. Of course, others just didn't understand why I could fall asleep standing up whilst refereeing a match in the middle of a Judo shiai! Some matches were just boring

    By that time I had taught kids so long and slacked up on real work outs with adults I was hard pressed to throw down a white belt and was discusted with that too. Live and learn. It would have been great if the big guys had Judogi lapels down around their waist, then it would have been more in tune with my training of late

  7. #52
    Kirk Guest
    Jeff, that's a hell of a contribution on your part to your art! Kudos
    to you! Have you since just stopped training altogether, or just
    stopped having an interest in forming anymore judo clubs?
    I bet the popularity in Dade was due to such large contributions
    by yourself.

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    continuing saga of old guy Judo

    Actually, ther are many more Judo people out there that contributed more than me. Mosty of them never had their name up in lights and are just forgotten souls.

    During the years after that I worked out in my backyard with some of the older students and would get into some advanced shiai stuff. I could teach it but never could quite make it work as well, especially during the time of my last tournaments. The grass out back was covered with thick Zoysiagrass, similar to the grass used on golf course greens and made for good Judo mats. Before long about 50 students would show up during the week! They also did yard work When I worked mid-night shift it was hard and raising a family, teaching Judo nearly every evening a week, and stupid tournaments nearly killed me. Glad when some old guys died off and let me on the day shift!

    Many of them began to graduate from high school, a few from college, and slipped away out in the world. By the mid-1980’s the backyard dojo became a lonely place and I stopped teaching all together. Occasionally some old Judo buddy would call or come by and we would go work out.

    In 1987 my old buddy from Bergstrom, Robby Robinson, wrote me and we got together and celebrated all the years in the past. He was our best man at the wife and my wedding and great friends until we left Texas. We had not seen one another for 22 years! We correspond daily now and he will visit here next month. He is hinting that he may retire here so that means only one thing: a dojo for old Judo players Anyway, he got me to work out occasionaly and in 1988 or so we both attended some clinics with Phil Porter and some other old USJA guys in our past. It was a great time for me to get back on the mat and throw down brown belts But, it was not long after that the old Gout man came! Judo is a thing of my past after that.

    BTW, I posted this somewhere about finding Judo mats, etc.. When I established the Judo class in the community schools someone came up with the idea for mats that worked so well that many other dojos took it up. We used foam rubber sheets we found at a box and packing company that are used to pack electronic equipment. They were 3 inches thick, 10-feet long and 3-feet wide. I put them in one of those temporary schoolroom buildings in 1974 and they were still in use as last as 1988. We used some 2”x 2” boards to shore up one side of the mats that was about two feet short of the floor width.

    Another club I made up some hinged side support boards because the dojo was in the school cafeteria and had to be moved to the side after class. Of course, 1974 prices were scary to 21st Century people – I think we paid something like $12 per sheet from a local packing and box company. At first I considered covering the mats with some terry cloth like material or something similar. However, the uncovered mats proved to be the cat’s meow so we left them as is.

    Tatami are so expensive that only Ross Perot could afford them and 1-inch rubber-wrestling mats are also too expensive and will ruin you ankles and toes too. Arthritis is serious business when you get past 40! IMHO, those mats are responsible for many old Judo sensei to give it up.

    Brain drain and grid-lock of the neurons is getting to me so I’ll have to think on this for awhile.
    Last edited by jeffbeish; 07-14-2002 at 12:20 PM.

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    saga continues

    Let's see, some musing about south Florida Judo, now it was during late 1960's until early 1973 that I was working for a company in Binghamton, NY and would work out Hidi Oshishi's dojo occasionally. Hidi was a karate teacher in Binghamton; however, practiced Judo at his club. Judo practice was not frequent but when I was there between road trip assignments, so when not at Hidi's my son and I would go to the Y.M.C.A. and usually some Judo player would be here to work out with. Since I was engineering a lot my mat time was limited. Hidi was quite a character and a great karateka and swordsman.

    One assignment I had was at a Luftwaffa base in southern Germany near Frieburg. Two Judo clubs there and I liked on so would go there to work out every few weeks. Can't recall their names but German Judo is very good. The sensei and his assistants were very friendly and welcomed me in their dojo with open arms, and falls Didn't care much for the French Judoka who would drop in from time to time. It's the difference between pure sports Judo and Kodokan Judo. I lived there 18 months, got my taxes back, and returned to NY. Was on the road to Tucson, AZ, but too busy for Judo then. In 1968 I was transferred to the Air Force Display's and Controls Lab at Wright Field, Ohio and joined up with the Kittyhawk Judo club again. I think in previous posts this subject was beat to death

    The Kittyhawk club was great. It was for several years the largest Judo club in the world. The practice area had to be 75 or 100 feet long by 30 feet wide and was hand build by John Powell and gang. Can't remember what mat material it was but it was covered with a very light canvas that was better than tatami for Judo. The whole thing was mounted in a wooden frame (I think) and floated on old truck tires. Falling down on that was ever bit as easy at the big floor as the Kodokan.

    Some of the best female Judoka in the world practiced there or were regular visitors. While Marie Wick was there after I left she taught me Ju no kata at several dojos and in Miami for the next decade or so. Some of the following were members and some regular visitors: Johnny Barton, Bonnie Corte, Ernie Curry, Sue McConnell, Joan Millay, Diane Pierce, Phil Porter, Bill Powell, Preston Pugh, and names of several other instructors that I just can't remember. We had some tournaments at the Columbus Judo Club and Phil Porter, Rick Metens and George Emert were these at times. George ran the American Judo Supply Company for years. Can't remember the Judo players there, a guy named Nelson and another really great competitor was there also.

    It was a great Judo club then and I suspect that the old WWII building it as in was replaced later on.

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    stop when you have had enough!

    Before leaving the Air Force I transferred Carswell AFB just west of Fort Worth, Texas. Because they deemed it necessary to move SAC from Bergstrom to Castle AFB, California and my old boss wanted me to go to Carswell. Since I lived in base housing fond memories of the housing there comes back every time I see the movie Strategic Air Command, with James Stewart and June Allison. A few scenes were made in one of those units at Carswell. A plaque hangs on the house they used.

    Jerry Reid and Jay Cooper were sensei at the base Judo club. Jerry was on of the first Judo players in SAC and great competitors of the 1950's. He founded the Bergstrom Air Force Base and then transferred to Carswell in the early 1960's. Jerry retired soon after I came to Carswell and then Jay was transferred to another base, so I took over the club. There were around 50 members then and stayed the same until leaving the Air Force in early 1967. Also, I opened up a kids class at the Youth Activities Club and had 25 or 30 kids there as well.

    Since I was assigned to the mobile KC-135 flight simulator they sent me for a month of every three to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana where Rick Mertens, John Preston and George Emert lived. I would workout at Rick's club most often and occasionally would drive down to the LSU to assist George Emert in his two Judo clubs there and would help Rick at the AFJA office get out the magazines, newsletters, and do filing of membership documents. Rick moved his office and he got several of us to help him with that too. In those days he needed all the help he could get. Unfortunately, the last time I helped George with his club I was just coming down with the Hong Kong Flu and his club missed a big tournament after that! It nearly killed me before George threatened to do it first!

    During the 1967 we were one of the yudanshakai of the Judo Black Belt Federation (JBBF). It wasn't but a year or two since we were named the Air Force Judo Association (AFJA). but then took in all the military organizations to be renamed the Armed Forces Judo Association (AFJA). Since we were nearly broke most of the time the name change was great since we didn't have to changed the organizational patches. Just a litel of he history of that time:

    In 1957 the Second Air Force held its championship tournament in Austin. Tex., and invited Roy H. ("Pop") Moore to officiate the tournament. Pop decided to stay, and, with the help of Col. Walthrop, Beverly Sheffieid, from the Austin Recreation Department. and a young competitor, Jerry Reid, from Bergstrom Air Force Base. the Austin Judo Club opened its doors. With the addition of members such as Bill Nagase and Sam Numahiri in Fort Worth, Karl Geis and Rick Landers in Houston, and Air Force Sargeant Rick Mertens in Shreveport, the Southwestern U.S. Judo Association came into being. The association annexed small areas out of several yudanshakais and covered the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arakansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. In 1959 the Southwestern U.S. Championships were held in Austin, Tex.. with over 300 competitors attending. In the late 1950s Bill Nagase and Gail Stolzenburg competed in the National AAU Senior Judo Championships.
    Last edited by jeffbeish; 07-16-2002 at 01:03 PM.

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    These posts are great. I knew Hidi Oshishi a little way back when ( met him tru my instructor when Hidi did a few demos at our tournament). Haven't heard his name mentioned in many years and never did know he practiced Judo. Guess I should have suspected it.
    Your posts bring to life a history that few can or are willing to tell. A personal thank you for these great insites into the world of Judo.

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    Interesting History.

    My wife grew up just down the road from Hidy Ochiai's main school in Vestal. She never studied however.

    It's great that you found Judo wherever you went! I studied Isshin-ryu in high school, had to srop it for Goju-ryu in college, had to drop it for Uechi-ryu in grad. school, etc., etc., etc. It's been very frustrating! It goes to Judo's a.) popularity and b.) integrity as a style--there are barely any variant judos (Kosen and BJJ perhaps), as oppose dto karate, jujitsu, even aikido.

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    Originally posted by tshadowchaser

    These posts are great. I knew Hidi Oshishi a little way back when ( met him tru my instructor when Hidi did a few demos at our tournament). Haven't heard his name mentioned in many years and never did know he practiced Judo. Guess I should have suspected it.
    Your posts bring to life a history that few can or are willing to tell. A personal thank you for these great insites into the world of Judo.
    Hidi was Judo sandan and very good at it. We got along very well and had great workouts. He tried to get me to do all that Samurai sword stuff, but I opted out. He actually would put a watermelon or an egg on his wife’s neck and with a blind fold on would slice it into! Wow, I told him he was crazy. He said, no, my wife is crazy.” And laugh for 15 minutes.

    He liked Judo a lot but his business was karate, Can't remember what school now -- maybe Guju.

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    Re: Interesting History.

    Originally posted by arnisador

    My wife grew up just down the road from Hidy Ochiai's main school in Vestal. She never studied however.

    It's great that you found Judo wherever you went! I studied Isshin-ryu in high school, had to srop it for Goju-ryu in college, had to drop it for Uechi-ryu in grad. school, etc., etc., etc. It's been very frustrating! It goes to Judo's a.) popularity and b.) integrity as a style--there are barely any variant judos (Kosen and BJJ perhaps), as oppose dto karate, jujitsu, even aikido.
    Vestal. We used to eat in a great steak house out there. It was one of those places with all the sawdust on the floor. I think IBM's first plant was there also. I finished my BSEE at Broome Tech out near Vistal. Hidi was a great guy. He had me over for dinner at times or we would eat and drink out. All Judo people drink

    I hear you, karate styles are numerous, but far in between. I gave up on it and did some kenpo with a guy at Bergstrom AFB. It was fun, but he belonged to the kajukenbo groups(s) and I taught Judo and some of what I rememberd of the karate I knew.

    Also, I was too mean to do combat karate and Judo can be a recreational thing anyway.

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    Originally posted by jeffbeish



    Wow, old stuff. In the attached image is an old newspaper photo taken of the 1962 313th Air Div Judo team from Okianwa ready to go to Japan. I am standing to the far left.

    In right image it's me again but this time I'm only 19 years old! The photo was taken outside the Naha AB Gym Judo dojo. Can a person actually have been that young?

    BTW, the Judo gang in the photo are, standing back row, left to right: Jeff Beish, Ed Kirby, Leroy Hutchenson, Jose Vasquez, Vetus McCray and Stan Arakawa. Kneeling from left to right: Barnard Wrye, Ron Johnson, Richard Whitcher, Bob Coffey, Preston Pugh, and Jim Hatch.

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