Under: karate
25 Jan 2008

  

My first experience with a regular karate school was with Tracy’s Karate Studios – San Diego in 1976. I had studied some Okinawan Karate as well as Lima Lama from the base karate club. I knew the basics but did not know how to put kicks and punches together to mount a successful attack. Still, I thought I knew everything but was determined to know more. I saw the Tracy’s Karate commercials that aired during the Kung Fu series playing on TV at the time and decided to give Tracy’s a try.

  

I called up Tracy’s and spoke to Dick Willett about my interests and he told me to come on down to take the first five lessons – to see if I liked it before I signed up! I went for the initial lessons and quickly was impressed by teaching methods. As I said. I already knew how to kick and punch but I had a problem connecting with my opponents. Dick told me about critical distance and initial movement he had learned from his tournament days and his associations with Joe Louis (the undisputed heavy weight full contact karate champion of the late 60’s through early 70’s) and I was properly impressed! Here is a picture of Dick Willett as I remember him after I started taking lessons.

  

  

Todd, Irving, Joe, Dick, Dave, & Frank 

Picture from http://members.tripod.com/hungahungas/akksandiego.htm. Pictured are Todd McElhinney, Irvin Hoffman, Joe Lewis, Dick Willett, David Hays, & Frank Mafnas (left to right).

  

Mr. Willett was an athlete and surfer in the early 1960’s that enjoyed sports. He started taking karate from the Tracy’s Karate schools in San Mateo and San Jose under Ray Klingenberg and Al Tracy. He worked for the probation department while studying karate and received his black belt in 1968. I remember his stories of how karate came in handy dealing with wayward charges.

  

As he loved competition, Dick had a successful tournament career in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. He was fighting in the same era as Joe Lewis, Bill “Super Foot” Wallace,  Ray Klingenberg, Ron Marchini, Mike Stone, and Howard Jackson.  He came out of retirement in the 1980’s to win a series of Master Black Belt tournements!

  

Dick left Northern California to open his first karate studio in San Diego that is still operated by one of his students, Todd McElhinney. He continued surfing and sailing and became a vice president for the Tracy’s organization. He formed a partnership with one of his senior black belts Mike Robert, and created a corporation called Kenpo Services that owned eight schools locally in San Diego County.

  

Due to their success with Kenpo Services, they were selected to oversee the entire Tracy’s organization, to maintain the high standards and provide training, support, seminars, and business management for the Tracy’s franchisees nation wide. Dick’s partner Mike Roberts was selected as Tracy’s national trainer. This was the heyday of karate instruction as the Tracy’s organization had over 100 schools nation wide. When I started taking lessons, Tracy’s was the largest association of self defense/karate schools in the world! Dick’s organization purchased airtime during the TV series, “Kung Fu” where Mike and an opponent demonstrated karate techniques. 

  

Mr Willett created the American Kenpo Karate Association with Joe Lewis for a couple of reasons, first to further incorporate Mr. Lewis’s progressive American Freestyle ideas of initial movement, critical distance, and angular attacks. Secondarily Dick wanted to unify the United Karate Federation under an organization or re-unify if you will, as Orned “Chicken” Gabrial was one of Dick’s top students that went on to start his own highly successful organization. The picture below shows Chicken’s affiliated school owners (Rey and Pete) as well as his most famous student – Steve Anderson who dominated karate tournaments for 10 years!

  

Orned, Ray, Steve, & Pete

Picture from http://members.tripod.com/hungahungas/akksandiego.htm. Orned “Chicken” Gabral, Rey Leal, Steve “Nasty” Anderson, and Pete “Sweet Pete” Salas (left to right).  

  

Mr. Willett received his 9th Degree Black Belt from Al Tracy in early 2000’s and later received his 10th Degree black belt from the American Kenpo Karate Association.

  

(top) Scott, John, Dick, Chicken, Jeff, Big T, Mike & Marcus (lower)

Picture from http://members.tripod.com/hungahungas/wild_bunch.htm. Scott Richardson, John Zimmer, Richard “Dick” Willett, Orned “Chicken” Gabrial, Jeff Dixon, John “Big T” Turnage, (lower) Mike Roberts, & Marcus Hawkins. 

  

When I was coming up in the ranks I had some of the best fighters in the country to train with because Dick’s influence seemed to attract great talent! Below is a picture (one of many because there were too many of us to be in the same place at the same time) of the wild bunch!

  

The Wild Bunch!

Picture from http://members.tripod.com/hungahungas/wild_bunch.htm.

  

Quoting the biography I received from Mike Roberts:



As a great instructor for over 3 decades, Dick was personally responsible for developing a long lineage of outstanding Black Belts that proved to be consistent winners at numerous tournaments and kick boxing competitions.  Some of the most notable competitors included Orned “Chicken” Gabriel, Terry Crook, Mick Leone, Leonard Broach, Larry McCraw, Lap Napoleon, Frank Mafnus, Joyce Liebert (now Mickley), Todd McElhinney, Dave Hays, John West, and John Zimmer.  It should also be mentioned that the UKF fighters also trained and shared skills with AKKA and included such notable fighters as Steve “Nasty” Anderson, Robert “Foots” Summler, Ray Leal, and John “Big T” Turnage. 

  

His teams were successful in major Black Belt competitions throughout the nation, including the Internationals, the Northern vs Southern California Championships and most notable the United States Open Karate Championships along with the “Battle of the Superstars”. 

* the “Battle of the Superstars” team:  Orned Gabriel, Steve Anderson, Terry Crook, Larry McCraw, and Steve Fisher.

  

Mr. Willett’s additional accomplishments include:

  • Selected Tracy’s Instructor of the Year (Southern California)

  • Awarded 10th degree Black Belt

  • His fighters ranked in Karate Illustrated Magazine

  • An Honored Master at the 2001 Gathering of Eagles – Las Vegas

  • Honored by Joe Lewis and inducted into his elite Black Belt Honor Roll

  • Inducted as a Charter member into the Kenpo Hall of Fame, 2007 – Chicago

  Richard Willett

Grand Master Richard “Dick” Willett

Picture from: http://www.amkenpokarateassociation.com/Board_Memebrs.htm.

  

I can remember lots of sage advice Dick has given me over the years such as, “the proof is in the pudding,” and “you cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” I feel really lucky to have made the decision to call the karate studio 31 years ago as I have made a life long friend that has helped shape my life into all I have accomplished. I hope any potential karate students reading this post will consider the intangible benefits that can come from learning to defend ones self, especially if the instructor is of the same caliber as I have found in Dick Willett!

  

I would like to acknoledge the assistance I obtained for this story from Mike Roberts, Dave Hays, and Rey Leo.

  

  


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50 Responses to “Richard “Dick” Willett – American Kenpo Karate Association”

  1. David Hays Says:

    John,

    Nice job. I too am proud to be part of this great organization. Dick is not only a great instructor he is a great friend. He always kept things real.

    As you know he does not like all the titles and the “I’m better that you” attitudes associated with the some martial arts. Dick always told us, “Have respect for others and if your going to talk s***, you better be able to back it up on the mat and on the street”.

    I remember early in my training Dick sharing with me his thoughts on becoming a great martial artist. He explained to me there is no magic, no death touch, and no secret training methods. His example was this; “If you wanted to hit a baseball thrown by a big league pitcher could you do it?” My answer at 16 years old was NO. He disagreed. He went on to explain that if you had a trainer that could break down the mechanics of the ball coming at you and the mechanics of hitting the ball and then you practiced those every day for a few years with a great coach you could hit the ball. I was fortunate to have Dick as that coach.

    I will see you in March.

    David

  2. Stephen Doty Says:

    When I moved to San Diego in 1984, I got lucky and called Master Willett from the Yellow Pages listing. He told me to go to the studio and ask for “Chicken,” which sounded odd — how could I approach a black belt by first saying, “Are you Chicken?” Hehe! But I did and had three great years of training, tournament fighting, and meeting the crew. Some random memories: the way Nasty used to make fun of Billy Blanks’ kickboxing career; how Chicken used to tell us to bring food to a tournament but warned that if it was good pork he’d eat it himself; real diversity was the team of The Dog Bob, Chicken, and Sweet Pete; the way Irv Hoffman used to unsettle everyone with those darn footsweeps; at the Internationals in Long Beach in ’86, seeing Mark Foster do a cartwheel kick. Mostly it was the commitment to fitness and to excellence at what worked, not hiding in the Forms, but preparing to match our skills against other schools. Master Willett’s ethos gave the schools a certain buzz and was its edge, I think. And Nasty rolled out large and showed what could be done with it. Although I was only in San Diego three years, while attending law school, I considered my martial arts education there just as valuable. Best to everyone!
    Steve Doty
    Salem, Mass.

  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Glad you stopped by! There are sure lots of personalities in the schools… I have a memory of a pickup truck we passed on the 405 full (in the cab and about 10 guys in the bed) of UKF fighters getting ready to rumble at the internationals :)

    One thing you could always say about Chicken, Pete, Irv, Dick, Terry, Big T, and Nasty and so on is we were ready to fight and have a good time. You had to have a good attitude as some of those two-day tournaments made you wait into the wee hours of the evening before your division fought!

    I remember Dick telling me about he and Parker trying to get out of the stands fast, and Parker started running on the backs of the seats (he must have been 55 back then) like it was nothing… I wonder if it is the style or our long lineage of fighters that have kept our karate mind-set.

    I just got off the phone with Dick’s successor, Todd McElhinney, who told me they are inviting Joe Lewis and a UFC fighter out in spring (San Diego) for a seminar. I’ll end up taking that seminar and getting together later! Life gets busy but it is important to keep ties to parts of your life that were good.

    Good luck to you Steve, I understand Steve “Nasty” Anderson is in Kanata and Ottawa, Canada.. I don’t really know Canada well but It might be easy to see Nasty if he has a close event.

    John W. Zimmer

  4. Doug Arcidino Says:

    Hey John,

    Nice pictures from the good old days…. As a young 20 year old Brown belt I was lucky enough to find Dick. My brown belt was so new it still had the creases in it. I went there and asked him if they sparred……. Dick just quietly said ya Frank and Terry spar a little…. What a master he was not to laugh at that point… Once I saw Terry (Pop’s) knocking Frank off of every wall in the place. It took me a few weeks to get up enough nerve to go in there. But I did love the years of flying lessons (from Terry’s foot). Terry is a great Model of a master in every aspect of his life. I was so great to spend those years training and learning from them on and off the mat. Dick’s stories were always great.. There is never enough that can be said about how great Dick was to watch the way he threw his kicks and punches and how he could bring the best out in someone He forged black belts like a sword smith. Then he had the hammer Terry to beat you until you were the top quality samurai sword ready for anything the world had.. Just being there in the early 80’s when world class Black Belts lined the walls to spar. How Dick would put you thru the killer workouts and then spar.. It is so great that Todd took over for Dick he is such a great martial artist and I am honored to be one of his Black Belts so I can share such a great lineage. I am looking forward to seeing everyone in SD soon

    Douglas J. Arcidino

  5. Marcel Gross Says:

    Hi to everyone, I just want to know why there is never any mention of one of the greatest Kenpo fighters of all time, in my book, My uncle David Lyons aka “Kool Breeze” ? Just about everyone who has been talked about in any thing that has to do with kenpo knows him and he knows them. If you guys were all friends and knew eachother at one time in your lives, how come you never talk about him and some of the things he has accomplished for the kenpo clan back in the day? All of you OLD SCHOOL Tacy’s , I.K.K.A. , U.K.F. and American Kenpo Karate San Diego, CA. know Kool Breeze and no matter what , he was good at it, it was his passion and its a shame you guys never give him any props. We all have our ups and downs in life, some more than others, but lets not forget what makes us great, who has helped to make us great and why the Kenpo style and the kenpo clan as a whole is so strong . Luv you guys and a big shoot out to my favorite instructor Todd McElhinney. Yoo the man Todd !!!!

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Marcel,

    Feel free to share any stories you might have but in case you did not know… there are about 50 – 100 fighters from Dick, Chicken, Rey, Pete, Todd and so on… I remember Cool Breeze but did not interact much so I’m probably not a good one to ask.

    Take care,

    John W. Zimmer

  7. Victor, AKA "the Fly" back in the day... Says:

    Marcel,
    I knew “Kool Breeze”, he was a friend, and yes he was a great fighter. We all competed against one and other and had good times. We always remember people that left strong impressions on us, and he sure did to me.
    Vic

  8. BOBBY VON NEIL Says:

    I AM A 28 YEAR OLD MARTIAL ARTIST AND PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER
    I AM A TRAINED BOXER,I AM GOING FOR MY BLACK BELTS IN AIKI-JUJITSU
    A BLEND OF AIKIDO AND JAPANESE JUJITSU,ALSO IN KAJUKENBO A HAWAIIAN
    STREET FIGHTING ART,AND IN GRACIE JUJITSU,AND IN MY MAIN ART TAE KWON DO
    I AM ALSO A PRO WRESTLER TRAINED BY THE 2 TIME NCAA WRESTLING
    CHAMPION AND A WCW AND WWE PRO WRESTLING LEGEND THE ONE AND ONLY
    DR. DEATH STEVE WILLIAMS HIMSELF AND I JUST WANTED TO SAY I AGREE WITH
    EVERY THING YOU SAY IN A FIGHT ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW ITS USING WHATS
    YOU NEED TO TO SURVIVE AND I AGREE 100 PERCENT WITH A KICK ARE A KNEE IN THE BALLS IS ONE OF THE BEST IF NOT THE BEST WAY FOR A WOMAN TO
    OVER POWER AND BEAT HER ATTACKER AND IT WILL SET HIM UP
    FOR YOUR NEXT ATTACK ARE SO YOU CAN GET AWAY AND GET A COP
    ARE SOME HELP AND ABOUT THE 13 YEAR OLD GIRL ATTACKED I AM SLY’S
    NEPHEW AND MY AUNT SLY IS NOT SOMEONE TO TAKE TO LITE
    AND THATS ANY WOMAN FOR THAT MATTER WOMEN NEED TO KNOW
    THIS IMPORTANT INFO TO MAYBE SAVE THERE LIFE ONE DAY
    I THINK ITS GREAT WHAT YOUR DOING AND I WILL WRITE BACK SOON MY FRIEND
    BOBBY VON NEIL

  9. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Bobby,

    My wife has been telling me about you for a while now. You have an interesting mix of fighting arts. I don’t really know much about professional wrestling but I watched your my space video and it looks like you have to be in great shape to handle the moves.

    As you probably gleaned from this blog, I come mostly from the kenpo background and it seems similar to what Aiki-JuJitsu is, based on your description. What I like about kenpo is I can use whatever I want in a fight… If I like hands… I don’t really have to kick much because there are plenty of techniques in the art. Are you looking to transition into MMA or sport karate some day? You would probably do ok since you seem to be getting well rounded training.

    I hope to meet you someday,

    Warm Regards,

    John W. Zimmer

  10. Curtis Hackney Says:

    This message is for John Turnage. This is Curtis Hackney. I was one of your Karate students onboard USS Kirk. I live in Richmond, VA. E-mail me at tectecman2@yahoo.com when you receive this message. I left the Kirk Dec. 1975. Hope to hear from you soon.

  11. Trey Piersall Says:

    Wow! I googled Dicks name and found old friends. Dave, Vic, Marcal, John, Doug. Good to see all of you around. You all were an insparation to me and had too much fun working out with you guys. Will you guys be making it to Dicks big party in June? Would like to see all of you again. Best group of people ever to work out with and Dick was too incredible.

  12. David Hays Says:

    Hey Trey,

    Good to hear from you. Most all of us will be there (Dick’s party). We will have some great news about the AKKA to share.

    See you then.

    David

  13. Vic AKA "the Fly" Says:

    Hey Trey, Dave, John, etc……
    Can’t wait to see you all. Packing my suit cases right now and I got a booster shot of cortisone to my knee 2 days ago for the work outs that await me in San Diego. I also look forward to seeing my great friend and teacher, Dick! Can’t forget Chicken, wow, fun stuff….Hey is Nasty going to be there?????
    It’s hell getting old! It’s funny, my body feels old, but my mind, my mind feels like I am still 20 years old? Regardless, I have a little Kenpo Karate school and I do it for fun, (oh they pay me) not for the money, but I take their money, don’t get me wrong.
    See you all soon.
    Vic
    PS
    My email address: vics_kenpo@yahoo.com

  14. Thomas Darcy Says:

    Hi Mike, Wanted to know your adddress to send a thank you for last week end to your wife for all her hard work from Ted Sumner and myself. Also could you email me a photo of the Group at the seminar to put on my web page. I believe Tod’s wife took the photo? If I can ever do anything for mate just say the word.
    Regards
    Thomas

  15. David Hays Says:

    Thomas,

    I will contact via your e-mail and get you the info. on the photo.

    Thanks,

    David

  16. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Thomas,

    I see Dave responded… I added San Jose Kenpo Karate to the links. I missed the seminar but really enjoyed seeing everyone at the gathering! It was nice to make your acquaintance.

    Let me know if you have any upcoming events you would like promoted on this website. I updated your link in your post… it was not working for some reason.

    Take care,

    John W. Zimmer

  17. brian Says:

    I trained under Frank Mafnas during the 80s when he had a studio in Mira Mesa (san diego) and one thing I remember is that they teach you how to FIGHT. The black belts were a tight bunch with mean streaks (Terry Crook was an intimidator) and they would go to Frank’s studio on Monday nights to spar. My favorite memory is Terry Crook kicking Frank into a wall that left a hole where Frank’s ass hit it. One thing I learned to do was to keep my mouth shut and be respectful. The black belts were a tough bunch and didn’t have patience for immature crap.
    I went on to get a black belt in the late 90s in a different style (moved too far away from a Joe Lewis school). One compliment I always got while training in different Kenpo styles was what a good fighter I was. The truth is that I really wasn’t that good but the fundamentals I learned under Frank made me stand out in other Kenpo styles. I moved back to San Diego and took Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a while and ran into some people that trained under Todd M. One of the point we would talk about how this style of Kenpo was so fundamentally sound in regards to a striking style of fighting.

  18. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Brian,

    Good to hear your comments… Terry is still intmidating. Cool you are getting exposure to Jiu-Jitsu. Dr. Mic Leone (One of the AKKA board of directors and Chiropractor) has pointed out the need for us all to learn Jiu-Jitsu so our ground game can be as good as our striking game. I am planning on training in Jiu-Jitsu next year.

    I’ll let Frank know of your response. I just saw him last Saturday after the Joe Lewis seminar.

    Take care,

    John W. Zimmer

  19. Justin Puzin Says:

    Hi, I was hoping someone here would be able to tell me how to contact Grand Master Willett or some one of his school. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  20. David Hays Says:

    Justin,

    You can contact Todd McElhinney at the San Diego studio at 619-283-6596. Due to Master Willett’s health we do not give out direct contact information for him.

    I would be glad to speak with you. You can ask John Zimmer to give you my e-mail information off line.

    Best regards,

    David Hays

  21. Jim Martinez Says:

    David Hays & John Zimmer: I just happened to come across this site and was pleased to see entries from both of you. Hope you’re both doing well and hope there will be a chance to say hello in the near future.

    -jm

  22. jim martinez Says:

    Dave/John: Either of you know where Larry McGraw is these days?

  23. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Jim,
    Good to hear from you! I was trying to figure a way to connect but I hoped you would do a web search and find us.
    .
    No word on Larry other than he was a power lifter for a while after he sold the karate studio.
    .
    I’ll send you an email Jim – Good to hear from you.
    .
    John

  24. Eric Says:

    Wow, what a blast from the past seeing those old photos. Although I’m only 32, I started training when I was 8. I used to train with Tony and Fred Pablo back at Tony’s AKK school in National City. I remember some of the fighters, (e.g Pepper). I stayed there till I was 12. I took a break for 3 years, and started back up again at Pete Salas’ school, CKF. CKF was the greatest school I’ve ever trained at. Great people, great times, always had fun training. Pete really took my training to another level. I miss training with the ol’ guys like Sergio, Willie, Tracy, etc. I’d love to go back.

    Anyone know whatever happened to Tony and Fred Pablo? I haven’t seen them since I was a kid. Just curious…

  25. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Eric,

    I remember Tony and Tony’s brother I think, Fred. When I started taking lessons from Tracy’s, Fred used to stop by from the Carnation restaurant (he was a manager) to watch the fighters. Tony used to work steel in the ship yards I think.

    I respected both Tony and Fred… It was kind of funny but I remember one time that Fred thought I was making light of his sparring ability (I don’t know where he got that impression) but he took me aside and told me if I had a problem with him, lets fight and get it out in the open. I respect that. I replied that I’d be glad to spar with him but he mis-heard… I did not have a problem with him.

    I really like people that are straight with you and as I recall – both Tony and Fred were straight shooters.

    I have not seen either one of them in years. Give Todd a call at the American Kenpo Karate link at the right – he generally knows the latest on fighters.

  26. Dan Laxson Says:

    John, Member me?? Love what you did with the blog. I see Ray Leal and Chicken every year at the San Diego Grand Internationals, some of the old guys too. You know what happened to John West?? Just wanted to say Hey!!! Moved back to San Diego in Feb “09.

    Dan Laxson

  27. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Dan,

    John West is still around… I saw him a couple of years back. I send you an email!

  28. ron marchini Says:

    Enjoyed your blog and especially the pictures of some martial artists that bring up memories of long ago.

  29. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Ron Marchini!
    I use to read all the black belt magazines I could as a boy and remember you in many of them. I remember in one article you have mentioned how you were always ready – even reacted to an airline stewardess that surprised you.

    The one comment you mentioned in this article (BB Mar 1970 – http://books.google.com.au/books?id=gc4DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA9&source=gbs_toc_pages&cad=0_1#PPA16,M1) where you stated that fighters should not make excuses for their losses but take the blame… they should win or lose on their abilities and not blame anyone else.
    I took that advice to heart, especially coming from Tracy’s… If I won, lost or drew, the other fighter was going to respect me at the end of the match.
    Anyway thanks for stopping by and you were one of the fighters I looked up to and motivated me to learn karate!

  30. Calvin Sanders Says:

    Well Well,these names i remember some of you i see doring testing although i did’t get my black belt from dick personally,he has been a big part of my life having all you guys bring me up in the ranks….I think what mades 3030 El Cajon a great place to train is it’s upper belt that took on the role of mentor and you guys would train with the under belts you would’nt let us sit off in the coner you would take us be the hand and lead us.

  31. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Calvin!
    Good to have you drop by. Yes the thing I like about Todd’s (formerly Dick’s) studio is the feeling of being – everyone cares about helping you to your goals. Heck this is my family. I always found someone to give me advice when I needed it (the advice was generally good).

  32. Vic Hervias Says:

    John,
    I just wanted to tell you and all of the “wildbunch” what a wonderful experience my family had while we were there (at Todd’s) training during the week of the 24th July, 2009. My 16 year old daughter had the martial arts experience of her life. She has been active in the arts for over 11 years and I have always told her about my friends in San Diego who are in the arts, and my instructors (i.e., Chicken and Dick). Because of meeting them all (with the exception of Dick) she now has a more defined interest in the arts and I think has made a LIFE connection with the arts. She also really (as I did) enjoyed working in Jiu Jitsu with Mick and Todd. They are great teachers and friends. We had a ball “rolling” with them! The seminar was great and she really got a world of knowledge from the greats that taught!
    I only pray that this will not be the last time we will be there as it is far away, but we will make every attempt to make it again next year.
    I love you all my friends! Please stay well.
    Vic and family
    25, July, 2009

  33. David Hays Says:

    It should be mentioned that Victor “The Fly” Hervias received his well deserved promotion to 5th Degree Black Belt at this event. Victor is one of the best martial artists I have ever known.

    Congratulations Vic!

    David Hays

  34. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Vic!
    It was fun seeing you and your family at the Hall of Fame in Chicago last month and the seminar in San Diego! As Dave mentioned congratulations on your promotion to Godan (5th Degree) Black Belt as well as being inducted into the Kenpo International Hall of Fame. I hope you are able to make it out next year!
    .
    Hi Dave! Thanks for mentioning this about Victor but I would be remiss if I did not mention your promotion to Nanadan (7th Degree) Black Belt. Congratulations! Both Victor and I are grateful for the support you and Todd showed us by attending our induction into the hall of fame last month.

  35. David Hays Says:

    John,

    Thank you for the acknowledgment. It was a great honor.

    It sure was good to see you back in a Gi. I hope you will be available for future seminars; your knowledge of the arts is far too valuable to be limited to this site. Students would benefit greatly from some live action Zimmer.

  36. AL Hernandez Says:

    To our Grandmaster (Richard,

  37. AL Hernandez Says:

    To Our Grand Master (Richard,”Dick”)Willett. Just a short reminder that many of us,myself included have YOU in our Daily Prayers and WISH nothing but the VERY BEST for YOU!!!!! As that is EXACTLY what you have BESTOWED UPON US for the past Half CENTURY. You have put out THE BEST OF THE BEST FIGHTERS IN THE WORLD PERIOD!!!!! YOU taught us HONOR,DISCIPINE,COURAGE,SELF RESPECT OH!!! AND SELF DEFENCE All at the same time. WOW!!! YOU ARE JUST AWESOME!!!!! Take care,GOD BLESS,AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FROM ALL OF US WHO ARE SO VERY HUMBLED TO HAVE HAD NOT ONLY THE HONOR AND PLEASURE,OF KNOWING YOU BUT ALSO THE BENIFITS WE ALL RECEVIED FROM KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR TEACHINGS MAY WE CONTINUE TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS AS YOU HAVE REACHED OUT TO US.SINCERLY AL HERNANDEZ (karateal60@yahoo.com) Austin,Tx.

  38. AL Hernandez Says:

    Corection, It is going on toward A half Century (not over A half century) I stand correceted. Still it seems like a CENTURY!!! So much for my math (But math is.was my best subject ???) What Ever!!! Take care AL Hernandez (karateal60@yahoo.com)U.K.F. Austin Texas.

  39. UFC 2009 Undisputed -Mixed Martial Arts Video Game 2009 TV Commercial Says:

    […] My Self-Defense Blog » Blog Archive » Richard “Dick” Willett … […]

  40. Al Hernandez Says:

    Hello, To Mr. John Zimmer, I Noticed Your Facebook Is No Longer On Line, May I Ask WHY??? I’m Thinking, For Security Reasons???, Poss. To Much Exposure??? Sure Miss You, You Help To Fill The Gaps For Us No Longer In S.D. Ca. Please Say Hi To Sly, She’s Realy A Neat Person. How Is Our Grandmaster Richard (“Dick”) Willet Doing??? He Is Forever In My Thoughts And Prayers As Well As You And Yours,And The Rest Of Our KENPO FAMILY. Take Care, Hope To Hear From You SOON!!!!! P. S. I’ll Call Todd, Inform Him To Let You Know I Sent You Message On ‘Dick’s Self-Defense Blog. Thanks Al.

  41. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Al,

    Facebook was mind numbing… lots of useless commenting – lost interest. All is well as far as I know.

    Best, John

  42. Al Hernandez Says:

    Hey John, Thanks For Your Quick Responce, Totally Agree With You About Facebook!!! Some People Get Carried Away!!! Good Hearing From You, Thanks Al (UKF) A.K.K.Assoc, Austin, Tx.

  43. peacock mccastle Says:

    peacock mccastle god bless ukf & akka for their well bless teaching thru the years and as lil peacock says and keep on kicking. chicken we always will love you.from sandiego to stuttgart,ark.

  44. Al Hernandez Says:

    John Zimmer, Hope All Is Fine With You And Yours (Sly,Sharon ect.) Glad To Hear Your Back In Action, Keeping Kenpo Active (AKKA/UKF) Hopefully They Get You On Film, Hi To All Especially To Our Grandmaster “Dick” Willett Take Care And God Bless!!!

  45. Al Hernandez Says:

    John Zimmer, Hope All Is Fine With You And Yours (Sly,Sharon ect.) Glad To Hear Your Back In Action, Keeping Kenpo Active (AKKA/UKF) Hopefully They Get You On Film, Hi To All Especially To Our Grandmaster “Dick” Willett Take Care, Al

  46. Al Hernandez Says:

    John Zimmer, Hope All Is Fine With You And Yours (Sly,Sharon ect.) Glad To Hear Your Back In Action, Keeping Kenpo Active (AKKA/UKF) Hopefully They Get You On Film, Hi To All !!! Take Care, Al

  47. Al Hernandez Says:

    FYI No Idea How Comment Turned Into 3 ????? So Sorry!!!

  48. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Al, No worries. We are all fine and I hear the tourney went well for our teams and Marcus and Chicken took home some trophies.

  49. Al Hernandez Says:

    Thanks John, Glad Everyones Fine!!! Be Real Lost Not For Your Awesome Blog, Spoke To Chicken And His Mom/On Mothers Day She’s A Great Gal And I Love Her Too!!! Also Been In Touch With Victor Herves? He And His Family Are Fine!!! After Tornados Hit Alabamma 3/6 Weeks Ago, Not To Mention One 2/3 Days Ago In Joplin City 117 Deaths, I Pray For All!!! Take Care And Thanks For All Your Efforts. PS Happy Belated Mothers Day To Sly!!!

  50. Jenny mique (mickey) Says:

    hi it was neat reading this.My father Master George Mique had the first karate school in mira mesa. he and taught at home and house of ice. I remember Chicken. And I think frank. my dad with the hawaiians. His first Black Belts were issued to Girley & Alan and bad and Sam Kuoha. He still teaches Kenpo/