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Thread: wetzel death

  1. #1
    OULobo's Avatar
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    wetzel death

    Wondering if anyone knows what really happened to the late Willie Wetzel of poekelan cimande silat. I have seen that his eldest son killed him in a fight at his house. I have seen court reports stating his son Roy killed him with a pair of nunchuks and another less reliable report it was with a sword. Just curious as this is some great dramatics.
    "In the end all you have are your values, skills, courage and tools, everything else is consequential"

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    arnisador is offline

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    When was this?

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    Randy Strausbaugh is offline
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    It was sometime in the '70s

    I remember reading about the incident in the news section of an old issue of Karate Illustrated. Please excuse an old man's poor memory, but I'll give you what I can. As I recall, the magazine reported that the senior Mr. Wetzel was in a state of extreme depression over a personal loss (I think his wife had died, but I'm not sure). At one point he and his son got into an arguement, weapons came into play and the senior Mr. Wetzel was fatally stabbed. The local law enforcement was quoted as feeling that the two were the toughest guys thereabouts.
    I tried to find that old Karate Illustrated, but no luck so far. I post this with no ill will toward the Wetzel family or any of their students, just answering the query with what I recall about this sad event.

    Trying to avoid life's potholes,
    Randy Strausbaugh

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    I totaly agree. I'm not trying to imply anything by asking. I'm just curious. Most of the the ifo I gather holds both men in high regard. I have heard a few differing stories and am curious, as it was before my time and there are still people around who have trained with both father and son. I think the incident occured in the 70s or 80s in a town in PA called Beaver Creek. Willie had three sons; one still teaches, one I can't find much about and the eldest, Roy, is the one that killed his father. I think he is dead now too, though i don't know how. The court documents say that the argument and personal loss was over Willie being destitute after doing the annual taxes, which Roy prepared. Either way, the word I have, is ta Roy was quite the bada$$ and his father was both well repected, effective and practical in his fighting method. Again, I agree with randy in that I mean no insult to the Wetzel family or the Poekelan Cimande group, I'm just trying to clear the murk of history and rumor.
    "In the end all you have are your values, skills, courage and tools, everything else is consequential"

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    Randy Strausbaugh is offline
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    Originally posted by OULobo
    The court documents say that the argument and personal loss was over Willie being destitute after doing the annual taxes, which Roy prepared.
    That's probably it. Like I said, I was going on memory. Thanks for the added info. BTW, it's spelled "Chiun". No one has skills greater than the Master of Sinanju.

    Trying to avoid life's potholes,
    Randy Strausbaugh

  6. #6
    Rex Downie Jr. Guest

    Re: wetzel death

    My name is Rex Downie, a retired attorney living in Beaver Falls, Pa, about 30 mi north of Pittsburgh. I, along with George James represented Roy Wetzel in a murder case brought in Beaver County regarding the death of Willie Wetzel. Willie died as a result of Roy getting a set of nunchuck around his neck and, in effect, strangling him. The coroner testified that the cause of death was heart failure, which is consistent with asphyxiation. The fight lasted 15 or 20 minutes, and I saw the apartment the day after and can say it was a very bloody matter. The case was tried by jury before Judge Beryl Kline. It lasted a week . Roy was acquitted by reason of self defense. He was a good friend of mine and we spent many hours together before he died. He later died of a heart failure. He was survived by a brother Jim, a Sister Jane, and three children, Rochelle, Kaylan and Christian. Jim still runs a Penjat Silat school in Rochester, Pa. I was a close friend of Roy and knew a lot of his students, most of whom still live in this area. I could say a great deal more about Roy and Willie, and I was well acquainted with Penjat Silat, though I took only minor training in it. There is a lot of nonsense going about on the www about the case, such as that Christian shot Roy. There is no truth in that. That Willie was hit in the back of his head by Roy with a rock. Nonsense. People smoking too much dope. Christian lives now in or near Rochester, and I saw him perhaps last year. Willie taught penjat silat inthe old armory building in New Brighton, Pa, and I can still find many of his students who will tell you about him.

    I have written a 5000wd more or less bio of Roy and the murder case and can answer specific questions if asked. If anyone cares to send me two dollars and an address, I will forward a copy of the bio.to them. My address is 612 Darlington Road, Beaver Falls, Pa. 15010.

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    Re: wetzel death

    Thanks for clearing that one up, Mr. Downie.

    Paul
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    Re: wetzel death

    I do appreciate an answer coming from a source near to the incident and those involved. It is sad that such a thing had to happen. Thank you for your info, and I will try to take you up on the offer of the report.
    "In the end all you have are your values, skills, courage and tools, everything else is consequential"

  9. #9
    Rex Downie Jr. Guest

    Re: wetzel death

    Thanks for the kind responses to my post. If you put in a google search for Roy Wetzel, you will find a posting from bchistory that was assembled by a friend of mine. Charles Townsend. WE spent many hours interviewing Roy about his remarkable life and adventures in Viet Nam. The short bio that appears on that site is a condensation of the longer one I have written. Incidentally, included on the site is a photo of the two sword. Willie tried to draw a Hawaiin sword, but Roy was able to bend the sheath so it couldn't be extracted. As Roy headed to the rear of the apt. - where his infant daughter Rochelle was - Willie took a shorter sword from a stand on top of the TV set and charged Roy with a side-swing. Roy pulled down a stainless steel & glass shelf/room divider that took the force of the blow - hence the blade is bent. The photo is from the cover of a magazine Roy tried to publish - only one issue was printed & destroyed by fire. A few copies remain. Thanks for the open discussion. Roy was a remarkable man. Rex
    Downie jr.

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    Randy Strausbaugh is offline
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    Re: wetzel death

    Thanks again for clearing up this sad matter.

  11. #11
    Rex Downie Jr. Guest

    Post Re: wetzel death

    My name is Rex Downie and I co-defended with George E. James, Roy E.Wetzel in a murder charge made regarding the death of Willie Wetzel in Roy's residence in Monaca Pa in the mid seventies. The area I speak of is 32 mi. north of Pittsburgh on the Beaver River. There is a lot of stupid/misinformed stuff about this floating around so I'll give a brief review here...if there's a Marial Arts magazine around that someone can refer me to, I'll write an article for it. At the time of the fight Roy lived in Monaca with his wife Tatha and his 3 yr old Daughter, Rochelle. Roy had served with the Marines at Khe Sanh and had been blown up by a 60 mm morter and needed numerous reconstructive operations to his left hip, which he quite successfully protected in full contact fighting. I watched him spar and fight many times - after the trial. At the time in question, Roy was teaching in a school on 7th street in Beaver Falls along with Willie.

    Willie had divorce Roy's mother, married again, divorced or deserted #2 and taken up with a young girl from Zelienople, Pa. Willie was a bully and tried to teach by intimidation. Several of students around here will tell you that, including my next door neighbor. Willie had developed a mystique, however telling students that he was part of a Master's association that met every ten years in Idonesia and one had to have one fight to the death to continue a member. The steel mill workers around here ate it up. Willie WAS very gifted. He could jump up and touch an 8ft ceiling with is toe. He made a lot of money betting people at Westinghous that he could jump out of a 50 gal drum, straight up.

    Roy was very gifted in numbers, so he did Willie's income tax and got him a approx. 700$ return. Roy was an excellent teacher and drew many more students to the school, and there very soon developed a competition between "Roy's Students" and "Willies Students", and, hence a lot of jealosy developed. Willie came to Roy's house in Monaca one evening to sign the tax return for the Karate school. He was very angry because he was paying support to his two prior wives. When he signed the return, he just shot the pen across the paper, knocking it to the floor. He went to the front door, beside which was a Hawaiian Ceremonial sword. He grabbed it, began to unsheath it, and screamed out a Keeya. Roy was behind him to say something, and got to the sheath in time to bend it, preventing Willie from drawing it. The fight ensued, which I will not detail at this time. It did involve a shorter suppuku sword, a riggers knife and oak nunchucks. And Willie died of asphyxiation because Roy had gotten the nunchucks on is neck like a nutcracker. Willie had used his riggers knife and had sliced Roys chest and biceps numerous time with shallow cuts. I visited the house the next day and it looked like a pig had been slaughtered in there. The trial lasted a week, the Chief of Police testified that he thought Roy had acted in self-defense, and Roy was acquitted. Willie apparantly was a Satanist, or at least practice voodoo, because the police found voodoo dolls in his apt with pins stuck through them. The dolls were of Roy, Wim, Jim and Jane and his two x wives. Roy died of heart valve failure about 8 or ten years ago. He is survived by three children, Christian, Kaylen, and Rochelle. Willie had 5 children. By his first wife, Roy, Jim, Wim and Jane.
    After the trial, Roy and I became close friends, and we spent a lot of ti me kicking things around. I went to two or three tournaments and started on lessons twice, both interrupted by badly sprained ankles gotten in long distance running 20-40 mi per week. I took Roy into the Canadian bush at least 3 times up near Nakina Ont. and we spent many hours going over quetions about Christianity, for he bacame a Christian the night of the fight. HE always told me it was a ":spiritual fight". His favourite book in the Bible was Isaiah. There is much more I could relate, but won't here on a public site. I have a considerable file on the matter, with all the relavant dates, but cannot locate it at this moment; but the above is truth as best as I know it. Rex Downie Jr.

  12. #12
    docrock Guest

    Re: wetzel death

    Good to see Rex posting here, he is a good man and speaks the truth about the events surrounding the death of Willy Wetzel. Since this is an open forum it is probably just a matter of time until some of Willy's old students get on here and start bashing Roy.We might be spared this because in order to post here you actually have to register with your real name and email. Remember that this was a public trial among a jury of his peers and Roy was aquitted, but many still carry on with their ridiculous stories about how Willy was "murdered";. You will be able to easily distinguish between students of Roy and Willy's students. The vast majority of Roy's old students will be respectful, while posts by mosts of Willy's old students will be filled with vitriol, ad hominum, and vulgarity. A more in depth discussion of this can be found here www.chosenfewsilat.com in the forum section
    Last edited by docrock; 07-12-2005 at 10:15 PM.

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    Kiai Carita is offline
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    Re: wetzel death

    Quote Originally Posted by docrock
    Good to see Rex posting here, he is a good man and speaks the truth about the events surrounding the death of Willy Wetzel. Since this is an open forum it is probably just a matter of time until some of Willy's old students get on here and start bashing Roy.We might be spared this because in order to post here you actually have to register with your real name and email. Remember that this was a public trial among a jury of his peers and Roy was aquitted, but many still carry on with their ridiculous stories about how Willy was "murdered";. You will be able to easily distinguish between students of Roy and Willy's students. The vast majority of Roy's old students will be respectful, while posts by mosts of Willy's old students will be filled with vitriol, ad hominum, and vulgarity. A more in depth discussion of this can be found here www.chosenfewsilat.com in the forum section
    This is a tragic story indeed, and shows to prove what happens if you practise silat without kebatinan, without working on how you keep your inner peace. If one only studies the physical aspect of silat, the higher you go the deeper the chasm you fall into. Although the story is horrifica and sad, Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah, Roy found a religion to cleanse and open up his batin.

    My prayers are for all involved, including the students of this silat. I pray that the students of this silat do not continue to divorce the moves from the spiritualism of their silat and continue with the the noble aspiration of silat, to become real pendekar and not just jago silat.

    A real pendekar is a protector of the community. Up till the late 19th century in Java, if a man eatting tiger or a robber in the woods was harassing village live-stock the pendekar must find and fight it and win. In daily life a pendekar must show respect to all things living and not and seek to develop life and not to kill.

    If someone is merely a jago he or she is a silat expert and fighter only but is not an example of ethics and leadership. In the days when Indonesia was colonized, the Dutch often used the jago to enforce their will on the peasant population. In the plantations the jago were used to ensure that the coolies living under slave conditions stayed productive for the Dutch masters. Jago means very good at, a master, but only in the physical aspect. All pendekar's must be jago silat but not all jago are pendekar.

    The jago are used as tools of political repression to this day in fact one might suspect that their numbers are growing. Pendekar's, however, like artists, are a gift of God to their community.

    Hormat,
    Kiai Carita.

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    VWetzel is offline
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    Exclamation Re: wetzel death

    I'm Vanessa Wetzel...Grandaughter of Willie Wetzel and Neice of Roy Wetzel.

    No My grama is still alive and I know the story. I just wanted everyone to know. My uncle was defending himself and he was writing a book about his life and the instance of my Grandfathers death. Unfortunatly he died before he could finish it. Let me know if you have any questions. I'd be happy to answer.

    Oh also... My father, Jim Wetzel, yes he currently owns the school. It is in Rochester PA, Right next to the point for any local readers.
    Last edited by VWetzel; 08-30-2007 at 11:28 PM.

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    Re: wetzel death

    Welcome to MartialTalk, Ms. Wetzel!

    Tragic story about two great men. Glad to see that Silat is still in the family.
    !!!! GOAL EXCEEDED !!!!
    I became a volunteer Wilderness First Responder on June 6th, 2014, my first rescue was June 7th, 2014. THANK YOU for all your support!!

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