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The page which lies before you is, in many ways, reminiscent of old-school martial arts enthusiasts in that it [photographically] depicts many [not all] of the individuals who helped influence the way I came to understand, practice and teach the fighting arts. In the old-days it was very common for ambitious students to seek out several teachers in order to become the recipient of one or more aspects of their knowledge. The photo on this page illustrate some of the more interesting influences I've enjoyed in the more than forty-five years of study. Much of what I teach today has been influenced in one way or another by the teachers shown here. 

As an 18 year old yudansha I was accepted as a live-in student of Daniel K. Pai and traveled from London (ON) to Hartford (CT) in 1973 where I studied and taught Pai and his famous ice-break

Before I began training in Pai Lum, much of my early kung-fu experience [and teacher's accreditation] came through the Canadian Karate Kung-fu Association. Here I am with our style [5-Animal Fist Kung-fu] head-master Dave Chong in Toronto in 1975

 1974: At my club [Yao Loong Kungfu Centre] in Toronto

 

Sensei Bob Dalgliesh had played an important role in my early training in Goju Ryu. In addition to visiting Sensei Dalgliesh at his dojo in Sudbury, demonstrated with him at tournaments, and being the first recipient of his Wolverine  kata,  I also enjoyed the privilege of hosting him at my home in Toronto for an extended period. 

When I returned from the USA in 1973 I was offered a partnership of with Bill Jong (2nd from left), and Wu Loong Ong (standing far right) and replaced Mo Chow as the chief instructor of the Yao Loong Kung Fu Centre in Toronto. Photo c. Aug 1974: L-R Gary ?, Bill Jong, myself, Lee Pai (aka Ron Lydestad) & Wu Loong Ong

 1974: At my club [Yao Loong Kungfu Centre] in Toronto. Photo by Jon Topham

 

Toronto: 1974 York University
With Mic & Martin MacNamara: 
The original Twin Dragons

In 1976 I was part of a controversial movement to establish an eclectic interpretation of karate, by fusing various elements of 5-Animal Fist style Kung-fu with modern Karate called Aki-Kempo Karatedo. Pictured here (Jan 1977) are the principals of the movement; L-R: (Standing) Bob Dalgleish, Ron Yamanaka & Ken Hayashi. Seated L-R: Myself & Alex Atkinson

1983: Near my residence in Vancouver's False Creek

 

Toronto; April 1975: It's fascinating how unexpected events can have a positive influence on a person's life. For many months during the time I had a cast on my right hand, due to a bone-graph operation, I wasn't able to punch effectively. This event compelled me to work my legs, and take up Taiji.
 

Right 6-time NA karate champion Wally Slocki, mentor & friend: Top left 1974, bottom left 2004, thirty years later and still good friends.

 

Memorable moments of my years as a kung-fu stylist/competitor/teacher


At Shaolin with Shi Yanpu


In Dengfeng [China] with Li Yiduan


At the Shaolin Temple

 

 

In Fujian for a Martial Arts Festival
with Higa Seikichi & Jin Jinfu

Receiving a gift from Liang Yiquan at Shaolin 

In Fujian for a Martial Arts festival 1991  


With Li Yiduan, Higa Seikichi & 
Nakamoto Masahiro in Fujian 

In Fujian with the late 
White Crane Master Jin Jinfu

In Taiwan with White Crane master, 
Liu Songshan and my wife, Yuriko

Pilgrimages to the Shaolin Temple, Shanghai, Fujian, SE Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong not only helped resolve much of my curiosity about the advent and early practices of quanfa in pre-20th century Okinawa, such research also opened many doors of deeper learning and understanding.

Sensei Bob Dalgliesh had been the president of CUSKA (The Canadian branch of the USKA) under Master Robert Trias. After he passed away Bob Trias contacted me and placed me in charge of the organization where I remained until Bill Pickles was elected its [then] new president. Although I studied Ju-jutsu under both Master Ron Forrester (Pioneer of the art in Canada), and O-sensei Richard Kim, Professor Jay was my principal teacher and taught at my dojo in Toronto & Vancouver many times over the years. Here we are at my Vancouver dojo during the mid-1980's.

Unfortunately, I don't have many photos of Chuck Merriman sensei and I from the early 1970's but he's been a guiding light in my training from a very early age and I continue to admire the man even to this day. Here we are c.1998 at his home in Naiantic CT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through all the years of competing on the open tournament circuit this is the guy who kept me in great shape; Personal trainer, coach Ernie Bailey...Thanks Ernie ... could really use you now :-)  

Thanks to Professor Wally Jay, Ed Parker
played an important role in shaping my 
understanding of Kempo traditions. 
Here we are in Hawaii c. 1982
With Ed Parker & Prof. Wally Jay 1981 San Francisco With Sensei Ron Forrester a long time friend and early Jujutsu mentor

Here's a very rare shot of Bruce Lee 
in Kowloon in early 1973 As a young 
martial artist I was part of that early 
generation so influenced by Lee's highly controversial and extremely eclectic practices. In some ways, KU reflects his influence.
Teruo Chinen is another Okinawan karate teacher from whom I learned much. I hosted him at both my home and my dojo, and trained with him in Vancouver, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Bermuda and at his home in Spokane. He was also the first person to help me understand how important the Bubishi was. Here we are pictured at my Vancouver dojo during the mid-1980's. With Master Don Jacobs & Professor Wally Jay in Trinidad. I met Don Jacobs through Prof. Jay and cannot even say how much I learned from this absolute wizard. He's probably the best jujutsu master I've ever had the pleasure of learning from. 

 

 
Remy Presas was the first Arnis master I met and learned from. He was also the man most responsible for teaching me cane and foundation two-person drills. I was his first sponsor in the Vancouver area and set a new movement in motion with his arrival. I went on to host the first Arnis championship's at my annual tournament in Vancouver in 1985. After moving from Saint John (NB) to Toronto, 
in 1970, I first entered
Tsuruoka Sensei dojo 
and learned directly under him.
I first met Xie Wenliang [great grandson of Xie Zhongxiang; aka Ryu Ruko] through Tokashiki Iken Sensei in Okinawa. Thanks only to Tokashiki Sensei  was able to study quanfa and learn Nepai directly from him. Thanks only to Ohtsuka Tadahiko Sensei, I had previously met Xie's father in Fuzhou where I enjoyed the opportunity to study under him, too. 

   
This is probably the only kick that Bill "Superfoot" Wallace leaned away from during the otherwise pounding I took in 1986 Shoot-boxing was a good learning-curve With catch-wrestling legend, Lou Thesz
 
 
With Shooto pioneer, Sayama Satoru, at St. Mary's in Tokyo With Shoot-boxing pioneer, Cesar Takeshi, and Tomiyama Hideaki ('84 Olympic Bantamweight Boxing Champ) in Tokyo  With Tamura Kiyoshi at 
the Tokyo UWFI dojo

 

 
With the UWFI team including 
Gary Albright & Matthew Saad Mohammed
Professor Wally Jay's seminar at the UWFI gym in Tokyo. I organized this event through my friend, Gene Pelc and Takada Nobuhiko during the time Prof was visiting me in Japan.

With Miyato and my daughter Bianca
at the UWFI Tokyo dojo

With the UWFI team (and American Kickboxer David Cummings)
in Osaka

With the UWFI team (and American kick boxer David Cummings) in Osaka With my friend the late Gary Albright

Amongst the first generation of foreign [non-Japanese] shootfighters in Japan some of my most painful/memorable moments came from being associated with the likes of Cezar Takeshi (shootboxing), Sayama Satoru and Takada Nobuhiko (UWFI). Thanks only to a close relationship with Gene Pelc (VP Marvel Comic Books) was I also to get the opportunity to fight at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall, meet the grappling guru Sayama Satoru, and become the sparring partner of Takada Nobuhiko, and UWFI trainer. Mr. Pelc also arranged for me to appear on Tokyo's then popular TV show Tunnels, and Super Jockey with Beat Takeshi, which resulted in the production of a video tape being produced with Mr. Kogure of Quest Video Company. During the years I was involved with this side of the martial arts I enjoyed working with and learning from such great fighters like Cesar Takeshi, Takada Nobuhiko, Tamura Kiyoshi, Anjo Youji, Yamazaki Kazuo, Billy Scott, Tom Burton, and Mark Silver. This collective experience served to improve my application practices immeasurably.


With Miyazato Eiichi at the Jundokan in Okinawa. I enjoyed informal training at the Jundokan over the years and was friendly with Miyazato Sensei right up until his passing. I introduced many foreign members to his dojo, including my colleague Chuck Merriman. I'll never forget the look on his face the day personally presented Miyazato Sensei a copy of Miyagi Chojun's 1934 hand-written notes I received from the Konishi family. 


With Nagamine Shoshin at the Matsubayashi honbu in Okinawa. I visited the Nagamine dojo so many times over the years I couldn't really say how often I've been there. O-sensei was very friendly to me and helped in many ways both in karate/kobudo and with my historical research. 


I met Kishaba Sensei during my first visit to Prof. Shinzato's dojo in 1985 with Jim Silvan, where I was warmly welcomed and enjoyed the training and hospitality offered. I gained a valuable lesson from Kishaba Sensei on the value and mechanics of "koshi" [hips] and became better for it. 

 

With Nakamoto Masahiro at the Bunbukan. Nakamoto Sensei learned his art directly under Chibana Choshin & Taira Shinken. Since first meeting him in the summer of 1985, he has become a valuable contact of mine and provided much in the way of historical, technical and philosophical insights. I especially enjoy our time together in Fujian 
Province [China] during a research/fact-finding trip in 1991.
With Akamine Eisuke in Okinawa. With the exception of Debbie Dometrich [and at least one of her loyal students], who prefers to dominate pretty much anything said or written about Akamine Eisuke, I enjoyed a very friendly relationship with him and practiced with him on several occasions at the old dojo in Tomishiro.  With Nakazato Joen in Okinawa. 
I had visited Nakazato's office, dojo & residence four times during the years I traveled to Okinawa. He was kind, allowed me to practice in his class, and gave me a ton of research material. In spite at least one American karate teacher saying that Nakazato Sensei doesn't know me, here is a photo of the two of us together at his dojo in Chinen...more upon request. 

 

   
With Yagi Meitoku at the Meibukan in Okinawa. Kenny Tallack, Jim Silvan and myself first entered the Kumemura dojo during the summer of 1985. I liked Yagi Sensei very much and enjoyed training directly with him on several occasions.  With Nishihira Kosei in Okinawa. Nishihira sensei was kind enough to work with me on the Hakutsuru form taught directly to him by Hohan Sokon. I was particularly fascinated with the extent of his application knowledge & rare photo collection. Over the years I introduced Nishihira Sensei to folks like Phillip Koepple [USA] and Ted Lang [Oz].  
 
With Inoue Motokatsu at the Shibuya dojo, where I studied and trained under him for a year and a half. Much of the way I came to systematize the kobudo I learned from Kinjo Sensei was influenced by the  innovativeness of Inoue Motokatsu. At Hakone Onsen with Inoue Sensei Tokyo L-R: [standing] Myself & my wife Yuriko and Mrs. Inoue. [seated] The daughter of Fujita Seiko, Inoue Motokatsu and Ueshiba Kisshomaru 


With Ohtsuka Tadahiko at his home in Tokyo. All I can say is....wow! What a goldmine of knowledge and experience. His influence and assistance has been incredibly far-reaching and I can think of few who are more knowledgeable with Bubishi-related studies than he. Over the years I resided in Japan I kept in contact with Prof Shinzato and enjoyed his friendship. To this day I still admire Shinzato sensei, and am very grateful for his hospitality and assistance over the years. With Tokashiki Iken in Okinawa. It was because of him that I was able to meet and train with Xie Zhongxiang's great grandson, Xie Wenliang. Moreover, Master Tokashiki is a virtual goldmine of information and was/and continues to be of enormous assistance in my studies.

With Sakagami Ryusho at his residence above the old Tsurumi Itosukai honbu dojo. I enjoyed several visits to this wonderful gentleman's home and learned a huge amount from him.  With my sword master, Sugino Yoshio (Meijin) at the Kawasaki honbu dojo. I took up swordsmanship because of this man and learned an incredible art. What I did not expect to learn through swordsmanship, however, was what was lacking in modern karate. To say that Shinto-ryu's two-person drills were a revelation would simply be an understatement. This one aspect of Katori Shinto Ryu alone compelled me to vigorously seek out similar practices once used in old-school karate. With research colleague and budoka, Iwai Tsukuo, in Tokyo at the IMAF enbu. Even to this day, Mr. Iwai continues to be a fountain of historical information. 

 

 
With Miyagi Ken in Kume village [Naha] at the stone monument honoring both his father [Miyagi Chojun] and Higaonna Kanryo. I met with Mr. Miyagi several times during my many trips to Okinawa and enjoyed his friendly discussions about life with his father.  With Terry O'Neill in Liverpool. Sensei O'Neill was my first sponsor in the UK and gave me considerable coverage in his magazine; FAI [Fighting Arts International]. Thanks only to him I was welcomed by many karate groups such as Harry Cook, Vince Morris, Nathan Johnson and Paul Perry etc.  One of Prof. Wally Jay's dreams was to travel to Japan and demonstrate before his peers at the Kyoto Butokuden; It was my pleasure and honour to arrange such an event. Here we are visiting the Great Buddha in Kamakura.

   
With Konishi Takehiro at his home in Tokyo. I could probably write and entire book just on how much this wonderful man and his family have influenced my understanding of karate. No other single person has had such an influence as has he.  Here Hokama Tetsuhiro Sensei and I interview the daughter of Yabu [Yabe] Kentsu. Boy, I cannot remember how many times this wonderful man and I traveled to the homes of historically important karate figures/relatives, landmarks and dojo in an effort to learn more about this tradition. Amazingly, in all the years we've known each other I have only ever trained with him just a few times, but continue a wonderful friendship with him.  My interest and subsequent study of this one text dates back to 1974. It has had an immeasurable influence on pretty much everything I know about karate. I cannot easily sum up just how important it has truly been in my research and studies.
     
Saint John, NB - 31 Aug 1968: The only photo I have with 
my 1st Sensei, Adrian Gomes

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