Japan-born Heizaburo Okawa is a three-time Olympian for Japan, three-time Japanese National Foil champion and twice US National Foil champion. At the height of his competitive career, he was ranked 10th in the world in foil. Marrying the daughter of his coach, Torao Mori, Okawa took over coaching duties at Salle Mori after the unexpected death of Mori. Okawa taught at Salle Mori and coached at several Southern California Universities.
He eventually retired from Cal State Fullerton after more than twenty years as a University coach. His image was famously captured during a bout with Jean-Claude Magnan, with Okawa low and backwards reaching up to hit Magnan who is rising up to thrust down at Okawa. The image was taken by Gene Glazer of New York, who only recently learned how famous his image had become.
Ebay can be tricky to navigate. Not in a general sense. However, sometimes real gems can be found that are hidden between the lines when sellers don’t have a clue about what they’re selling.
Driving around Southern California may not seem like much of a Holiday, especially when traveling alone, but a recent weekend outmatched all my expectations. The plan was to make four different stops in hopes of collecting fencing history.
In the woods of Southern Oregon off a dirt road and across a valley from the winding I-5 was a fencing salle d’armes built by Charlie Selberg in an old barn. It was stuffed to the rafters with fencing memorabilia dating back decades.
You don’t forget your first team, or your first teammates. The fortuitous circumstances surrounding my introduction to fencing couldn’t be more memorable; a time filled with remarkable personalities.
During an otherwise very pleasant Italian meal I shared with two-time, two-weapon National Champion and Olympian Sewall “Skip” Shurtz and Andy Shaw of the Museum of American Fencing, Andy mentioned that he’d come to appreciate, late in life, a difficult-to-like fencer who was once a teammate of Skip’s.
I drove from my Bay Area home last week to attend the memorial service for much-loved fencing master Delmar Calvert.
I confess, I don’t know a whole lot about Kendo. Outside of the countless samurai films I’ve seen (which I don’t pretend are representative of Kendo), I’ve only been around the sport a couple of times.
It’s impossible to know why these things happen. They can’t be planned for or expected yet I’ve been experiencing more than my share of these types of events since starting this archive and I couldn’t be happier about it. This is simply the latest.
Fear. It’s a motivator for me. Not the average, everyday kind of fear, nor an amorphous fear of zombies or clowns. Rather, the fear of loss. A very specific kind of loss.
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