Three years ago I was invited by Cal Poly, the university in San Luis Obispo, to teach a Krav Maga seminar. It was organized by the Jewish student group, held in a local synagogue, and attracted a small crowd. Two of the participants were Geri Ooi and Eric Sandahl, little did I know we would become good friends.
Eric introduced himself as the local Krav Maga instructor, and Geri, his partner and student. I was immediately impressed by their openness to learn more Krav Maga, no politics, no concern over organizational affiliation, just a pure desire to learn and teach the best Krav they can.
I was impressed with their honesty, purity of heart, and general goodness. The following year when the university invited me back, Eric and Geri volunteered their nearby martial arts facility for the seminar. The seminar drew a combination of Jewish students from the Hillel and fraternity/sorority and hard core martial artists from the Budo Ryu center.
This year my contact at the university graduated and it seemed like the end of a tradition. To my delight Eric invited me to teach a seminar at his new and renovated Krav Maga school.
What a joy to see old friends, especially when you share a common passion for the fighting arts. Besides Krav Maga, Eric and Geri also teach Muay Thai and have traditional karate classes at their beautiful facility. Geri competes in women's kickboxing.
To promote the seminar Eric sent out over 400 e mails and contacted law enforcement and Jewish organizations. Over 40 serious participants showed up and trained non stop for four hours. Our only "break" was two minutes to take a group photo. Geri and Eric's loveable dog Miles also wanted to be in the group photo.
Our group included law enforcement, military, martial arts experts such as Eddi, a Shotokan black belt who trained under one of Gichin Funakoshi's students back in the 60's, and families including some pretty tough kids. Alex, a Jewish girl from San Luis, gave me a pretty good shot to the arm!