I started my learning martial arts when I was 15 years old. At the time, there were a few Judo schools in the area, but few Karate schools… and no Kung Fu or Tai Chi schools at all. And just as an aside, gas was .25 a gallon.
I always had an interest in martial arts from the time I started grade school. There were always your typical bullies growing up that would pick on you, take your lunch money, and threaten you with physical harm. I was a small skinny kid and tried to avoid them at all costs… even to the point of walking home from school following different routes.
Then one day I was watching the Olympics and saw a Judo match on the old black and white TV. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about it. I rode my bike to the local W.T. Grant store (the Walmart of that time) and went to the book section. I found a book by Bruce Tegner on Judo, bought it, and hurried home to study the moves.
In my room, I opened the book and began to try to mimic the pictures. The techniques made sense, but I had no idea if I was doing the moves right without a partner. What I learned was leverage and using your opponent’s aggressive nature against them. Though the biggest thing I learned was, you can’t learn from a book.