I've always had an interest in martial arts. However, it was from a distance at first. As a freshman in high school I had a friend whose father was teaching him Akido. He would talk a bit about it but always in passing and my interests were constantly changing so there was no way I could stay committed long enough to even try and ask about joining his father's class. I also went to high school with another student who was studying Karate and could almost play the villain in a martial arts movie. He loved to show off and would unleash a quick technique if he decided you crossed him. His personality was almost in contrast with that of my friend. It's kind of interesting how he never had a temper when my friend was around.
Like many college students, and even adults for that matter, I was a video game junkie. In addition to the requisite basketball and football games that were out I kept an extensive martial arts rotation that included Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Tekken. I was really good because I not only enjoyed playing but watching the movements and how the various characters, especially the ones I used, would strike an opponent. I appreciated Tekken even more because my friend who had been studying Akido would point out which of the techniques were legitimate. He would describe the specific disciplines some of the characters were utilizing.
Years later I finally started taking Karate and found a different level of fulfillment from what I was learning. I began to understand how to be precise. I also learned about inner peace when executing techniques. The Katas (formal exercise), that we were being taught required a level of relaxed, controlled and precise movements that were unfamiliar to me. My appreciation for some of the martial arts movies I would watch as a child got a jolt of reality. I could actually see, no pun intended, how Bruce Lee could be blindfolded and know exactly where the assailant was coming from.
After tearing my Achilles heel playing basketball I was forced to take some time off from Karate. I continued to research the different arts and eventually decided on Japanese Jiu Jitsu after my recovery. I was impressed with the philosophies I knew of and wanted to know more. I met with Master Ken Keith and knew fairly quickly his dojo was the place for me. He maintains a family atmosphere and allows us an opportunity to make connections that extend outside of the dojo. In addition to being an excellent and well-versed Master, he also takes a genuine interest in our personal growth. I enjoy the lessons and look forward to many more.