Joined Jun 2 2011
64 years old
I began my lifelong study of the Martial Arts in 1964 at the age of 11. I started with Judo. I was instructed by Sensi Les Fazakes in his garage in South Amherst, Ohio. Along with Judo, Sensi Fazakes taught what was at that time called Korean Karate. We travelled to other schools once a week to learn Takwondo. I won my first Junior Championship in 1967 and was mentioned in the Black Belt magazine ,1968.
IN 1969, I began studying a system called Ed Parker Kenpo Karate. It didn't take long for me to realize that this style closed most of the loop holes I found in both Korean Karate and Takwondo. I studied this until I entered the Military in 1972. When not playing in the jungle, I spent my time during the Viet Nam war learning Muay Lao while stationed at Dak To. When I was released from my obligation, I returned to Lorain ,Oh. In 1989 I co-opened a school for those in low income areas and taught Ed Parker Kenpo .The school had 20 to 30 students. I taught several students at my home free of charge just so they could continue their dream. We kept the school open until we could no longer afford it. In 1990, I became a police officer and only taught on weekends that I did not work. I continued studying and guest instructing at different schools as time allowed. In 2000 I broke my right knee. While recovering I met Sifu John Custer due to his involvement with Vietnam combat veterans.
Sifu Custer teaches Kung Fu. The style is called Hung Loy Kung Fu. C'Yang refined the art and continued teaching until Long Chen took over in 1905. The style continued as C'Yang developed it. A student named Kiyoshi Higashi who was a 3rd degree black belt in Goju decided to cross Choi Lay Fut and Hung Loy to make a complete more aggressive style and brought it to Brook Park, Ohio from China. Sifu Custer was his number one student. In 1960 Sifu Custer won the 1st ever North American Kung Fu Tournament. Sifu Custer is now the GGM of Hung Loy.
He invited me to come to his house for instruction. In 2002 Sifu Custer awarded me my Black Hash (5th degree black). In 2003 I was admitted to the Legion of Honor.
In 2005 I was inducted into the American Freestyle Karate Association Hall of Fame with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, I took control of the Poison Lotus Society after being promoted to Lead Instructor by Sifu Custer. Since taking control, both Hung Loy and Kenpo are taught to advanced students. We now have Black Belt students in several states.
Just as things couldn't look better, I was struck down with a progressive lung disease. I am no longer able to practice, compete or teach due to the side effects of the Chemotherapy. I also had to give up my Law Enforcement career of 22 years. In 2016 I was diagnosed with throat cancer and thankfully, I survived. But, one of the many side effects of the aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments is memory loss. I am finding, sadly, that I have forgotten much of my past and it is only going to get worse. My only regret now is that I cannot pass on the small amount of knowledge I have to others in the Martial Arts community before I forget it all. I find it increasingly difficult to discuss details of techniques and it is extgremely frustrating. I consider it an honor to be part of this Organization because of what it stands for and represents to the rest of the Martial Arts world. I hope I represent well.