Friday, September 14, 2007

Spotlight on West Coast Bojuka Federation President Sifu James! Part4 Final

At that time I was heavy into Bruce Lee's teaching. It was the teachings of Bruce Lee that I believed and understood gives people their own individuality which allows them to best fighter they can be. It's something that my Sifu Carl used to say. "Go into any school across the world and look in the teachers library and you will find a copy of the Tao Of Jeet Kune Do." Tom and I talked for hours that evening. A week and a half later we had our first training session. He blew my mind! Anything I thought I knew about defending against a stick, a knife or punches was quickly thrown out of the water. Not only did he show me that size was not important but he opened the door that many systems keep closed. Multiple opponents! He showed me to make that something to keep in mind always. He took what I thought was a strong foundation of self defense and burned it to the ground. In that single day he offered me something that for so long escaped my grasp. He offered me true confidence and control. There was no secret he offered, just simplicity. He became my instructor and still is to this day. Months later I stopped training Wushu Gung Fu completely and committed my time fully to Bojuka. Although I still taught several other systems at my school. The mainstay of my curriculum all lead to Bojuka. I even trained my young ones Bojuka concepts and once they became Black Belts it became their main sourced of training. I cannot begin to tell you what Tom and the system of Bojuka has done for my life. At 38 I know I can go any where in the world and face death in the eye and truly have no fear in combat. The uneasiness that I once had for bigger opponents is now replaced with a passionate respect for combat against any assailant of any size. After being a victim for the early part of my life and then after all the years that I studied I had finally found me. More than techniques, memorable times of comradeship or self defense. I guess that what Bojuka gives you in the end. It gives you... You. Thank You Tom, always!
"Train Well, Train Smart and Fight Hard!"
Sifu Choice James Skinner.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spotlight on West Coast Bojuka Federation President Sifu James! Part3

One day I went across to the gym to use their bathroom. The plumbing in my school was down and it would be a day before things would be restored. As I walked into the back room I caught a glimpse of a guy tossing some huge power lifters around. Out of my ignorance, blind ego and arrogance I foolishly assumed that they where working on Judo. Although I dabbled with Judo on my path to enlightenment I was never really pleased with the fact that the practitioners always seemed to be injured. Never made sense to me. So I did my business and made my way back across the street. A few weeks later the same man that was tossing around the power lifters came into my school. He was a humble guy and modest in stature, 5'10, 170lbs, blonde hair and blue eyes. I didn't think much of him and quite frankly due to my prejudices, fear and arrogance; I was quick to brush him off. He told me he was looking for established martial artists to train with. I quickly interjected and told him "I don't do Judo". He quickly retorted, "He didn't do Judo either". In that conversation alone I almost lost a most valuable gem that would eventually change my life. But he was patient yet persistent in getting his point across. He told me his name was Tom and he had his own system named Bojuka. He said, “It’s a pure self defense system based on the common denominators of street combat.” Although I was somewhat interested my arrogance got the best of me. While on the outside I was cordial on the inside I wondered what he could teach me. I realized at this point in my career that were no "secrets" in the martial arts, so what could he be able to show me that I have yet to see? He allowed me to brush him off and said that he would slide some information under the door in the future. He did a week later. I put the book on the shelf and it gathered dust. He came through once again and because of his persistence I told him that I would be willing to train with him but I had to wait for some mats that I had recently ordered. But, for the very first time he mentioned something that piqued my interest... Bruce Lee.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Spotlight on West Coast Bojuka Federation President Sifu James! Part2

In Georgia I took a year off from training and reflected on the teachings that Mr Jackson gave me. Although my fear of combat wasn't as bad as it was before training with him, there still wasn't a sense of control that I knew was possible. When I looked at and listened to Bruce Lee and his teachings, there was always a supreme control and true confidence that he harnessed. I desired and longed after that control true confidence. I started down a pathway similar to his and submerged myself in all forms of reading materials on the martial arts as well as never turned down a impromptu training session with warriors of other disciplines. I sparred combatants of various styles on the regular. Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Jujitsu, Ninjutsu, Aikido, Kung Fu, etc. I would always fare well but still sensed that the matches could and should have gone more to my favor in a quicker fashion and with more ease. It was in my seventh year of training when I was convinced by another martial artist to open my own school due to the fact that I was well beyond my years in regards to knowledge. I was working at a video store then and the young brother would always have questions in regards to techniques and strategy. I would share my views with him and he would go back to class and employ them. These bits of advice helped him to quickly move up in rank. So, after the eighth time of him mentioning that I should teach, I gave it some considerable thought. It wasn't until I went to a Tae Kwon Do tournament and saw the instructor yelling and screaming at his students during a board breaking demonstration with such disrespect and disregard, I decided that in order to make a difference in the martial arts world I had to act upon my thoughts. The environment that day fully reminded me of Bruce Lee's open letter entitled "The Classical Mess." A fellow friend and co-worker gave me the initial capital to start a small but modest school. We opened up right across from a local gym where power lifters were regular attendees. At that point I was somewhat confident in my skill but to a degree there was still a discomfort when any guy over six-feet weighing more than 200lbs would be around me. I always questioned myself if I could truly handle the situation. I was haunted by that fear. Soon after I was approached by a former Wushu champion of Germany named Carl Hudspeth. He who wanted to take me on as his student. I accepted. I studied with him for about a year.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Spotlight on West Coast Bojuka Federation President Sifu James! Part1

I started training martial arts around the age of 14. I got into it because I had been mugged several times and had a tendency of being a victim due to past physical abuse and molestation I suffered as a child. My brothers had already been entered into a class taught by my first instructor Mr Dyron Jackson at a community center. His background was strict Shotokan Karate, kickboxing and Wing Chun. When I met him he was investing his time researching Jeet Kune Do and Ninjutsu. He was like a big brother to me as well as a strong mentor due to his strong Muslim background. I was the worst in the class and was always a step behind everyone else, but I wouldn't quit no matter what I was commited to success in the martial arts. Eventually my family ended up moving to Augusta GA during my last year in high school. Despite training for three years with Mr Jackson, there was always a small place in my gut that told me something was still yet to be attained in regards to true protection of myself.