ONE MAN’S JOURNEY – A Story of Courage and Heart
It was March, 1963. A young man was preparing to board a plane in Tulsa, Oklahoma, headed for Tokyo. In his pocket, $1,000 U.S. dollars and a letter of introduction from Mr. Peter Urban to Grandmaster Gogen Yamaguchi. Lou Angel, a Nidan, was on his way to Japan to hopefully earn the rank of Sandan.
Mr. Angel had been in the Martial Arts for nine years, and while being a serious student in a New York Dojo was no ‘Day at the Beach’, he was not quite sure he was ready to experience the Ueno Dojo in Tokyo. How would he be received? How would his skills compare to the Japanese student? He would soon find out, because his plane was in the air, and Mr. Angel would soon begin the experience of a lifetime.
As the location of the Ueno Dojo was not widely publicized, the Tokyo cab driver was unable to comply with Mr. Angel’s request. Not surprisingly, it was the police who directed him to his destination. Upon his arrival at the Dojo, he approached a gentleman who appeared to be cleaning floors and presented his letter. As Mr. Angel was not quite sure he was ready to meet Grandmaster Yamaguchi, he hoped he would be told to come back tomorrow. Instead, he was asked to please have a seat and in about twenty minutes, Yamaguchi Sensei appeared. In a few minutes, in spite of a tremendous language barrier, Mr. Angel was accepted into the Dojo, and the first part of his journey was complete. Read the full story.
Jeff Speakman began his Journey…..Working his way trough his undergraduate studies at Missouri Southern State University Jeff was able to complete his degree in general psychology with a supporting area in biology. During his college years Jeff began his martial arts career by earning a black belt in Japanese Goju-Ryu Karate from the legendary master Lou Angel in 1980. Upon Jeff’s graduation from college Mr. Angel told Jeff to move to California to study Kenpo Karate from Master Ed Parker if he wanted to make martial arts his life. Selling his car to pay for the U-Haul truck Jeff was off to Los Angeles to follow his dream and feed his passion. Two years after arriving in Los Angeles Jeff was invited by Mr. Parker to join three other people at Mr. Parker’s house in Pasadena California to become what would be known as his last group of proteges.