I had a flash of Nostalgia this week as I remembered my old Kung Fu Instructor, Preston Riddick. Sifu Riddick was my first instructor back in the 70's when the martial arts was something you studied when you wanted to take your life into your hands. The instructors were brutal and harsh as most of them were ex military men from Vietnam. I dont know if Sifu Riddick was a vet, but he sure was pretty intimidating. He was also a bodybuilder and compared to a chubby 11 year old boy which I was, he seemed like the incredible hulk only sporting an Afro and Shades.
Sifu Riddick was a fitness fanatic and drilled his students hard on calisthenics making us do endless laps around the gym, not to mention push ups and situps until you felt like puking and after you were totally exhausted and feverish... THEN we would do our Gung Fu Training!.... I loved every minute of it. As I got older I found out that he was an outstanding activist in the Fort Greene/Pratt Institutecommunity where the school was located and taught other arts like drawma and drumming.