My father was a soldier and a drill instructor who trained briefly with a Japanese jujitsu master during WWII in preparation for teaching hand-to-hand combat to Army GIs. He taught my two brothers and me some basic techniques so that we might have an edge in dealing with schoolyard bullies – and the training stood me in good stead. I used what he taught me on more than one occasion to inject a little homegrown justice into an unpleasant situation. Those experiences left me with two lasting gifts, an antipathy for bullies and a love for the martial arts.
I began formal training in Judo at age eleven on the Army base at Ft. Benning, Georgia where I trained for a year. I continued my training in Paris and for a brief time competed on the French National Judo Team as a brown belt (sankyu).