May 24, 2013 was, for me, and a lot of others, a very ‘heavy’ day.
Prior to heading for Atlantic City to receive an auspicious award for my contributions to American martial arts, I had to attend the funeral of Grandmaster Aaron Banks. This took place in Bronx, NY on a dreary, overcast, drizzly, chilly day—almost surreal in certain respects. Many masters were in attendance; some names you would know, and many others of importance whose names you would not know. That is not the point.
It should well be remembered that Aaron Banks was the primary entrepreneur in his creation of “The Oriental World of Self-defense” that ran for many years at Madison Square Garden in NYC. His accomplishments are too many to list here, but you can look him up on Wikipedia and you will more than likely be amazed. Yet, he is overwhelmingly unknown to the vast majority of budoka in the world. The eulogies given at his bier were offered, after which the casket was removed to its final resting place, where additional services were conducted by the rabbi. A most solemn and sad day for all of us who knew him.
I had video interviewed Aaron Banks for Hanshi’s World, cable TV, where he expressed his thoughts on the past, current, and future of martial arts. You can view the interview here: http://youtu.be/_wL_iAHYOQo
Walking back to the car for our trip to AC, and during the ride, many thoughts passed through me about Aaron Banks, the man. He will surely be missed for a very long time to come. R.I.P. Boychik.
Arriving at the venue for the award presentation and dinner, I was greeted by many important personages in the martial arts community. We arrived late and had to quickly set up my Hanshi Warrior Press booth. The weather was foreboding, perhaps appropriate for the morning’s experience.
That evening of May 24, I was given, as previously mentioned, what I consider to be the most auspicious honor and award I have ever received: acknowledgment by the Chinese Kung Fu Karate Association for my significant contributions to martial arts—“A True Founding Father of American Martial Arts.” Aside from the ovation I received, it remains a sincerely humbling experience for me. My comments were brief, and here they are for you to see and listen to.
As I continue on in my life, I trust the Creator will consider me worthy to pass on more of my teachings for the benefit of all concerned.