• 09-01-2019 •
I have been teaching Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu since I reached Brown Belt level in 1975. Teaching was part of the training at my Dojo in New York City.
I had been working as a Recording Engineer in the Company my wife Marina Kamen and I founded in 1987, which had taken up most of my time. Of course, my three nights a week Karate class routine was basically set in stone with the few breaks I took to open the business and raise my family.
Then in 2018, at age 65, after I had written and published KARATE: BENEATH THE SURFACE, I decided to cut back on the hours spent in the business and enter partial retirement. To fill my time, I took a part-time job as an assistant instructor in an Isshinryu Dojo teaching children ages 2.5 – 14 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that I found on Craigslist. As a kid I had practiced Isshinryu for three years. The style had been developed by Tatsu Shimabuku in Okinawa 1954, by blending Shorin-Ryu with elements of Goju-Ryu, my current style. The kids were mostly from well to do upper-middle-class families who resided on the Upper East Side. I taught three days a week in the afternoons.
After a year of this, I cut back further from the business and had two more free days on my hands. So I once again did a job search for Martial Arts Instructors and found one that looked challenging, teaching under-privileged teens in an inner-city, under-served Middle School in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Flatbush is not the safest place in New York City. It is known for gang activity and crime and is a far cry from the cushy Upper East Side Dojo with its “privileged” clientele.