I was extremely fortunate, oh those many years ago, when I wandered into a Kempo studio for the first time. Fortunate that I found Kempo but more so because I found Sensei Alen — now Master Babayan. Sensei Alen ran an amazing dojo full of interesting people who were inspired and inspiring. What struck me most about the people in Sensei Alen’s dojo is that they were real people. They weren’t tough guys or meat heads, no one was training for a full contact fight in Thailand and no one had tattooed ‘Kempo’ on his head. They were just normal people who had discovered that Kempo is a great way to become healthier, happier, and more well rounded.
To be honest I wasn’t yet a real person myself — just a teenager excited to work out with real people. I often worked out with a lawyer who had kids my age and drove a high-end sports car. One woman, who’s son also studied, was a PhD and did research that went totally over my head. Another gentleman I worked out with ran a huge electronics distributor. But they were all real people. They had jobs and lives, and families and priorities. The only thing they had in common was that Kempo was one of their priorities.
In reality I didn’t appreciate at the time what I had found. It was years later as a began to teach, meet other instructors, and visit other dojos that I realized how rare Sensei Alen’s haven of ‘real’ really was.
That was a long time ago and three thousand miles away. I now have my own dojos but I’m very grateful to that seed planted back then. It is our inspiration and what motivates us to create a haven — a place where real people can gather to learn and grow.
And I’m grateful to all of the real people who choose to study with us. I’m grateful that amidst their jobs, lives, and families they choose be part of our dojos.
Master Chris SantilloPlease follow us on. . . . . . thank you!