KYOSHI BRIAN BERENBACH

Vital Statistics:

Birthday: May 10, 1943

Education: M.Sc. Emory University, B.Sc. Long Island University

Vietnam Veteran: Captain, USAF 1967-1971

Year Started Studying Karate: 1962

Promoted to 7th Degree Black Belt 

Instructors: Masayuki Hisataka, Kori Hisataka, Hisanobu Yamazaki, Myron Lubitsch

Where studied: Avenue J Dojo,

                        Brooklyn Academy of Music,

                        Shinjuku Japan,

                         Fussa Japan

Current Affiliation: Shorinjiryu Kenryukan Karate with Kyoshi M. Lubitsch

Where taught: Haifa Israel 1971-1973

                        Philadelphia YMCA 1973-1975

                        Stelton Community Center 1991 - Present

Hobbies: Photography, Reading, Traveling

Occupation: Software Engineering Manager with the Siemens Corporation

Favorite Quotation: "What, me worry?"

Thoughts:

I started the study of Karate while in college. Weird stuff happened. I remember one day walking out on the street and hearing that President Kennedy had died. We closed the dojo and went home. I remember some lighter things too. One new student, the kind one might charitably call "uncoordinated" managed to break his own leg by kicking himself in the leg. Strong geri there.

We had one girl of about 16 in our class. She always wanted to spar to prove that she was better than the guys. The only problem was that she was pretty, which gave her a real advantage. Rather than a traditional attack, the guys in the class would insist on trying grappling techniques and get clobbered as they closed.

Sensei Yamazaki was a lot of fun. Being so small, tears would come out of his eyes whenever a student accidently blocked or struck him. Also the guy had to be made out of rubber. He could do a side kick straight up in the air without leaning.

When the 1964 World's Fair came around, he wanted to practice and picked me. I zigged when I should have zagged and got hit in the jaw with a back round house kick. I think it hurt him more than it did me.

Which leads me to an interesting observation. I studied under several Japanese masters, both in the U.S. and Japan. They never raised their voices, never insulted, and were at all times courteous. Why shouldn't they be?

I was watching an American instructor (who is still teaching) walk out on the dojo mat in combat boots. The guy was famous for yelling and knocking his students around. Quite a contrast.

I once visited Peter Urban's dojo in N.Y. and saw a bit of that. Hanshi Masayuki Hisataka told me a story about Master Urban. They were both at a demonstration of some kind, and Sensei Hisataka invited Master Urban to come out on the dojo floor so he could demonstrate some techniques. Master Urban became a Ninja, instantly disappearing, not to be seen for some time thereafter.

To be continued ...

 

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