Grandmaster Gary Bennett, Founder of American TejitsuMy Story I became fascinated with the arts when, as a child of about 6, I saw the first black & white televised aikido demonstration by its founder, Prof. Morehei Uyeshiba. This was about 1959, I think. I began going to the public library and taking home the only martial arts book available, which was on Ju-jitsu. I don’t think anyone else got to read that book for over a year. I learned several techniques quite well from that book, leaving me with a problem. I now knew enough to be dangerous, but not enough to control my techniques because I had no partner with whom to train. When I was about 9, a Judo class opened up at the local YMCA. I remember begging to be allowed to sign up, but my father would have none of it. He was a WWII vet and famous for saying, “I had to deal with _ _ _ _ in the Army and I don’t want to have it/them or whatever, around me now.” Fill in the blank with martial arts, guns, whatever reminded him of the war. My only recourse was to secretly study what I could from whomever I could until I was an adult and could sign and pay for my own training. This included a little Boxing, Karate, Judo, Wrestling and Yubi-waza. I was fortunate enough in high school, to be friends with a young man of Japanese descent who taught me his family’s style of Karate through brown belt, as he had learned from his mother. The first formal training I found was a school offering Hung-Gar Kung-Fu, which closed 3 months later. Finally in 1977, after I was married, I found a school teaching an eclectic style of Aikido and studied there for 9 years. This school too eventually closed and I continued training with one of the instructors privately, finally earning my long past due, black belt. He and I worked on “Other Material” trying to improve on what we had learned, for the next 2 years. I took a very systematic approach, revising techniques here and there, changing things around and adding ju-jitsu and judo type techniques until I had increased my repertoire of techniques by 33%. After 3 more years of work and analysis, I began to want to teach this new method and started a search for how to document my new “way”. I eventually found a martial arts organization, which sanctioned my new system and “Tejitsu Aikido” was born. Over the next few years I re-doubled the size of the system I had initially learned and have renamed my system simply, “Tejitsu”.
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