Chapter Four

THE TRIP TO SHIMIZU

MY EARLY LIFE
AND GROWING UP IN THE MARTIAL ARTS.
 
  • A quick look at my early life
  • Rhodesian army days
  • A personal tragedy
  • I find the martial arts

Ryu Kyu KobujutsuI was born in South Africa and my family moved to Zimbabwe or Rhodesia as it was then called in 1948.  When I finished school in 1951 I worked on tobacco and mixed crop farms for nearly four years.

I spent the next ten years of my life in the Rhodesian army.  This was also the first time I came into contact with Jujutsu and my first brush with the eastern martial arts.

Some two years later I was commissioned as an officer into the Rhodesian African Rifles, an elite Rhodesian army regiment.   Our regiment went to Malaya as a member of the Commonwealth forces fighting the communists and it served with distinction for two years from 1956 to 1958 as a battalion of the 4th Ghurkha Division.

The entertainers came from the nearby towns.  I will always remember him standing there in the flickering firelight, holding one of the amulets in his hand.  This esoteric aspect of life has always held a strong fascination for me and I decided to buy a charm for myself. I still carry it with me to this day.

In early 1984 my wife was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a great struggle that ended with her untimely death in August 1985 at the age of 45 years.

I stopped and slowly picked up the book.  It was a book on Tai Chi called Tai Chi – Ten Minutes.  I knew a Chinese lady, Yuen Han and I asked her if she knew of a Chinese teacher who taught this rather strange eastern art.

About three weeks later she told me that a Tai Chi teacher had taught her brothers and that the teacher’s name was Eddie Jardine.  A rather tall, well-built Chinese man was sitting at a table, behind a small curved counter.  I walked across.

“Good evening.  I’m Mike Crankshaw.  I’m here for Tai Chi.”

“Hullo.  The class starts just now.  Stand at the back and try it out.”

“Ok.”

That’s how my training started in September 1985. A few months later I also started training in Yuishinkai Kobujutsu.

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