karate class consisted of five or six Okinawan students and myself.
The dojo was a small rectangular space of about 8 to 10 ft. wide and
about fifteen to twenty feet long. Class started with the formal
bowing to Kise, the teacher. Maishiro was not there at my first
few classes, however he would look in from time to time, (Maishiro was
Kise's teacher for most of the classes). Then we did exercises,
next blocking drills, then kata training. After kata we went into
KORTE (body conditioning) finishing with fighting. Kise didn't
have me fight the first few nights. Our class only had one other
black belt, his name was "Miagi"; he was the karate teacher at his local
high school; this guy was good. He would sweat his gi top,
belt and half his gi pants completely each class; a real hard worker.
We all sweated like pigs, it was very hot. The Okinawans, for
the most part, didn't like Americans--they viewed us as outsiders so
they were very hard on me. You had to earn their respect.
Classes would last around three hours, however most stayed an hour to
two after class to practice. Kise was a very strong karate teacher.
He was hard and very well conditioned. I remember saying it was
like kicking a fire hydrant, because, when he blocked you, it felt like
a piece of steel hitting your leg or arms. Kise always did what
the class did. Some nights all he wanted to work on was the legs.
We would do thousands and thousands of kicks of any and all combinations.
Some other nights it would be body conditioning. That was when
we all wished we had stayed home.
Kise was known as a very strong
fighter, having seem him fight for real many times, one was smart to
avoid him. Other karate men would come to his dojo and challenge
him to a fight. He would have us all leave the dojo and he would
close all the doors and windows. The next thing you heard was
fighting noises, then out would come Kise. He would go around
to the back of his house and cool down. We students would go into
the Dojo and drag out, most of the time, an unconscious person, and
deposit them in the street, we then would start training again.
Kise would come back after about one half hour later and resume teaching
class. You did not want to be the one working with him at this
time, because he would always hurt the one he was working with after
being in a fight. I guess he was still keyed-up. Kise was
a man of about 5'2" +, weighing about 135 lbs. And as hard as nails,
a fourth degree Black belt at this time. We trained every day
and every night from that first night on. A lot of body conditioning,
tens of thousands of kicks, blocks and punches. Once you reached
Black belt, you were expected to out do any and all lower ranks, such
as, when the class did twenty squat jump-kicks, the black belts had
to do at least ten more. I remember seeing students throwing up, holding
their legs when they would cramp up, etc.
I remember the classes at the
Zempke gym and the Schilling center classes having as many as sixty-five
students in the class. At the end of the classes we had to do
Korte training and arm conditioning. The black belts had to start
with the highest ranks, giving and getting ten chops to the arms, and
working down to the lowest rank,
after about a years worth of conditioning and training in Korte, I could
strike a larage mans arm and make him fall to his knees. It became fun
after we had reached that level."