|J.P.-Sensei & Brad-Sensei|
We had a going-away gathering last night to honor John Pitts-Sensei, and it was great to look through some old photos from the early days of the dojo with him and Brad-Sensei. Everyone had a lot more hair back then, on their heads and under their noses! Some of the pictures were a little faded, so they were hard to make out, and Brad pointed to someone in one of them and said “That guy was a jerk!”. Then upon closer inspection, he said “Wait, that’s not who I thought it was…is that me?”, and J.P. looked at it and said “Yeah, that’s you.”
Even though he is moving away, Pitts-Sensei will remain the head of the SRSK organization, but since he won’t be at hombu dojo anymore, a new dai sempai needed to be named. Shihan took the opportunity last night to officially announce that Brad-Sensei will now be in charge of the dojo, and he said if we had any problems, we were supposed to take them to him. Someone quipped “Well, I guess there won’t be any problems then.” They don’t call him “Bad Brad” for nothing!
I can clearly remember the first time I ever worked with Brad-Sensei. It was shortly into my Karate training, and he was teaching a group of us white belts about etiquette. At one point he remarked “If I was in charge…well, if I was in charge there probably wouldn’t be any students because they would all quit…but if I was in charge, there would be even more of a focus on etiquette.” Brad is probably the most old-school traditionalist at the dojo, and he is a total bad-ass. In other words “Because he is hard, you will not like him!”.
Personally, I like him very much, and I respect him even more. A compliment from Brad-Sensei is a rare and wonderful thing. You know when he says that you did something well, you can take it to the bank. He really couldn’t care less how you feel about him, and his expectations are high, because he cares so much about the martial arts. I think having him as one of my teachers makes me work harder than I might otherwise, and the person who he’s hardest on is himself. He’s only given me two compliments in the entire time I’ve been training; the first was when he told me I had a “mean” reverse punch, and the second was while he and I were sparring, and he said that I needed to stop going to sparring class, because I was getting “too good”. I walked on sunshine for at least a month after that!
Brad-Sensei is also a black belt in Judo, and he was the first person to ever take me down and mount me, while we were sparring in Karate class. He was the also first person to tap me out, with a rear naked choke. Not too long ago, he walked into an unknown gym and asked to grapple with the biggest guy there. Alhough he’s now retired from competing, his sparring ability is legendary, and at the Karate State Games a few years ago, I overheard someone who was upset about a point call that Brad-Sensei had made say “I would give $1,000 to fight that guy!”, and I thought “I would pay $1,000 to watch him thoroughly beat your ass.”
So watch out, there’s a new sheriff in town, and he goes by the name of Bad Brad. You can take any problems to him, if you dare!
|“I don’t make stuff up, because…because I don’t have to!” -Siebler-Sensei|