He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
After a week of intensive testing in north Texas, Greg was restored to us yesterday, safe, sound, bruised but unmaimed, thinner, and the wearer of a black belt in Isshinryu Karate.
Since December 2002, when Greg and Daniel began studying at Texas Isshinryu Karate Kai, I have been informally observing the workings of various dojos in various martial arts styles. There are a lot of them out there: Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, as well as many others with unfamiliar names newly sprung from the fevered imaginations of people who stand to make some money. I believe it was in the sixties or so that martial arts started taking off in the U.S., largely due to returning American servicemen who learned while stationed in Asia.
Today, there seems to be a dojo on every other corner. People speak casually of earning black belts after two or three years’ study, or of black belts being awarded to children. Many students, having obtained the rank of black belt, quit training altogether, apparently regarding their art as a sort of crossword puzzle which, having been solved, no longer interests them. That is a shame.
But such is not the case at TIKK. Kyoshi Robert A. Kristensen is an admirable warrior and a very special person, and he runs a remarkable dojo. He has many black belts under his direction, including Senseis Tony and Tina Palos, who are Greg and Daniel’s teachers as well as our dear friends. A black belt granted under his authority is an honor indeed.
So congratulations to Greg, and to Mrs. Tina Palos for earning the rank of San Dan (third degree black belt) and the title of Sensei, and many thanks to Kyoshi Kristensen for running the kind of dojo that makes the study of martial arts so worthwhile.