Tuesday, November 08, 2005

early to mid 90's

A few years after high school I returned to Salt Lake City and began formal training in Wado Ryu under Sensei John McNeill.
Sensei McNeill was/is a direct student of Shihan Toshio Osaka, one of the most highly respected teachers in the Japanese arts.
I studied very hard under Sensei McNeill, and eventually was able to lead his classes through warm-ups and basics (despite still being a peon). Sensei McNeill taught control, discipline, attention to detail, and always, always stressed proper stances and good basics. He was a phenomenal teacher.

On the nights I was not training with Sensei McNeill, I trained under Sensei Doug Jepperson. Sensei Jepperson was an intense and knowledgeable instructor. It was years after training with Sensei Jepperson that I began to understand everything he taught. He understood fighting distance, timing, and the psychology of fighting very well. My favorite saying of his was, "My fighting distance is about nine feet; I'd suggest backing up a bit." Uh, yea...

After a couple of years, I needed to improve my overall skills, so I began studying directly under Toshio Osaka and his hard-core students. I learned how NOT to get hit (cause when they're trying, getting hit does hurt), I learned about angles of attack and defense. I learned to when to keep my damn heels on the ground and when to be on my toes. I continued to learn the importance of basics, and too many things to mention. But still... I was just a beginner.
I made it to class 3-4 times a week for months, and months... until life reared its ugly head and my work schedule forced an abrupt halt to my training.

1 comment:

Tidan said...

I studied under John McNeill too! Back in the 80's. Theres rarely a week that passes for which I don't reflect on those days and the mental discipline and abilities I learned there in. I would very much like to see Sensei McNeill again!

I too have studied many martial arts since Wado Ryu, including Kempo, Kung Fu, and currently: Muay thai.

But nothing seems to compare to the spiritual sense I aquired while training with McNeill!