Out From Oklahoma
by Dave Carr
Head Instructor of the Golden Phoenix Foundation
New Smyrna Beach, Florida USA
In October of 1973 I was in the Navy just out of my last tour of Viet Nam and stationed in Bremerton, Washington . I was waiting at a red light at an intersection on my motorcycle when a couple of guys came running across the street and stuck this flyer in my hand. It was about Chinese Kung-Fu. I visited the garage where SiHing Mike Tylzinski was teaching and thus began my training. One weekend, Grandmaster came up from San Francisco and we all took a group photo there in the garage. It exists somewhere in Grandmaster's present day studio. Anyway, the Navy had some other work for me to do and my studies where interupted for quite some time. As a matter of fact, it wasn't until about 1984 until I had the opportunity to visit with Grandmaster again. I had called him and he invited me out.
Well, I threw my new wife on the back of my new Kawasaki 550 and left Oklahoma for San Francisco ! The temperature had been over 100 degrees for several months so we didn't bother packing anything for cold weather. By the time we hit the Great Devide, Rabbit Ears Pass and Reno, Nevada, my wife was frozen to my backside. When we arrived in San Francisco, Grandmaster immediately took my wife and pryed us apart, put her in his car out front of the Judah St. studio to sleep and took me inside. I was in awe! Here was a man that hardly knew me from Adam and took me in. In fact, he took me in for nearly 8 months!! My wife had to leave almost immediately due to personal issues back home in Oklahoma, but Grandmaster suggested I stay awhile since I had come so far. I lived in the "overflow" studio while working in a restaurant and taking classes every chance I got.
I will always have many wonderful memories in my life, but those months with G.M. will be the most vivid. Like when he took me for a drive and a black cat ran across the road in front of his car - he quickly turned the car down a side road and avoided that area. I said, "Grandmaster, I thought you were Buddhist!" To which he replied, "Yeh, but why take a chance?!"
I remember Jason too - Grandmaster would wake me late on a Friday when I had gotten off work and came to the overflow studio to crash. He'd say, "Get up, we're gonna go see Jackie Chan!" Jason was about 8 years old at the time and was all excited. By the time the lights went out and the movie would start, Jason would be tired and fell asleep in my arms. I don't remember a more honorable time.
Grandmaster is good at giving. He has given me so many wonderful memories. And surprises. Once I was asked to come to his house at a certain time and he would start me on Siu Sup Ji. When I arrived, Jason was watching cartoons and Grandmaster said, "Jason, start Dave Carr on Siu Sup Ji." Jason, thank you so much!! Grandmaster - you're the best. I've never received so many wonderful memories before or since such days as these. God bless you!