June has been a fascinating month for me. It began with a Facebook post asking for further information on my Karate ‘family tree’. Joe Butrim (8th Dan, trained in Kenkojuku since 1959) phoned and offered to put me in touch with Art McConnell (7th Dan, trained in Kenkojuku since 1961). This led to a few lengthy phone calls where I heard stories about John Slocum (head of Samurai Dojo, Queens NY, in the 1960s). I also discovered that my particular lineage from Mike Hatgis and Rudy Goldmann actually stemmed from Burk Bailey, age 82, a private, retired gentleman. I sent a letter to Bailey requesting details; let’s see if he responds.
The Facebook post also brought some comments and details from Joe Turchiano, Barry Wicksman, Stu Hirschfield, Brian Fey, and Eddie Domagala. My hearty thanks to all these gentlemen for their information.
It surprised me that several times I was told not to post this information on social media. Sounds pretty cloak-and-dagger to me. Some stories did raise eyebrows, but nothing earth shattering. In a later conversation with Joe Butrim, he explained two things:1- Many early Kenkojuku people are private. For whatever reason they haven’t mentioned it, I have no business publicly airing their laundry.
2- These stories are shared orally among those in the association. I can tell my students these historical tidbits, but they must not share online.
Our next quarterly Black Belt workout will be on Monday, July 23rd, when I will share stories with our yudansha in attendance. See you there.