Updated: Mar 24
This entry is the third of several I will publish, starting with the earliest memories that have brought me to this time and calling in life.
My relocation from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1976 brought more than palm trees to my life. By a fantastic series of events, I was introduced and eventually accepted by the Okinawan community close to where I lived. This introduction was made possible by Takushi Yasukazu Sensei, Shureido USA owner.
The grand opening celebration of his store in 1977 included a demonstration by local martial arts teachers such as Oyakawa Nobuichi Sensei and Kimo Wall Sensei. During that demonstration of Ryukyu culture that included dance, traditional song, music, and martial arts, I first witnessed its beauty for the first time. I knew I had found my next instructors.
Oyakawa Nobuichi Sensei Kenneth L. Penland Sensei Kimo Wall Sensei
In the years that followed, I traveled to Okinawa with Kimo Wall Sensei to experience this special place and people. During this period, I met my wife, Junko, to whom I have been married since 1981 and blessed with our daughters, Julia Ai and Christina Machiko. Since this initial visit, I have traveled several times to Okinawa to visit family and train in martial arts.
Nakamura Yoshio Sensei Matayoshi Shinpo Sensei Shinzato Katsuhiko Sensei
As a result of the economic recession in 1991, I moved my family to Northern California. After researching Okinawan karate instructors in the area, I met Sensei Jim Silvan, who accepted me as his student. Through this relationship with Sensei Silvan, I met many other outstanding instructors and disciplines. These teachings still form the core of my martial practice.
It was in April of 2000 when my martial arts training would serve me the most. Our youngest daughter, Christina Machiko, was diagnosed with liver cancer. My life and that of our family and friends would change forever.