Saturday, November 29, 2008


When I came back from Korea to France, in 1989, Sensei Rolland Hernaez allowed me to open a Dojo to teach Nihon Tai Jitsu.

The first year, I had 5 students. 2 of these stayed with me until I moved to the United States. They later placed 5 and 6 at the National Championship in their category.

One of them, Mathieu, a tall skinny guy, was a little shy to start with. Little by little he developed a very friendly and happy attitude as well as great throwing abilities! Mathieu was raised by a single Mom. It was uncommon in our remote part of Picardie, and sometimes he had been picked on because of that.

At the end of 1992, during Christmas Dinner, Mathieu’s mother came to thank me for what I had done for him.
Thinking that she was making reference to his ability in Martial Arts, I told her that it was my job, I had just helped the kid train hard and develop his skills.

No, she told me, you do not understand. When Mathieu started training with you, he was going in the wrong direction. Without a father at home, he was hanging around with the wrong kind of boys, and was aiming at troubles. I had no clue how to handle him. You put him back on the right track. Without you, he would probably be in jail today. I was touched, and thankful to her for having told me that.

Sensei Hiroyuki Koda – who came to the United states in 1969 sent by Grandmaster Yamamoto - used to say :

“We are the results of the influence of our parents, our friends, and our teachers.”

I had not realized the beneficial influence I had had on Mathieu. As instructors we can have a serious influence in the lives of our students, let’s be aware of this, and use it for their own good.

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