I want to tell you about the most polite man I ever met, and the art he studied, which is called Kwon Bup Karate. I’ll tell you a story about a confrontation he was in in a moment, but first let me tell you that he never, in the 7 years I knew him, raised his voice. What makes this really amazing is that he taught all manner of outlaw bikers, including the Hells Angels, in San Jose in the 60s.
His name was Robert J. Babich, and he learned Kyokushinkai Karate from Don Buck, who was probably the first westerner to teach that art in the US. He then learned Kang Duk Won Karate from Norman Rha, and this was probably the first time that art was taught in the US. He then formulated seven distinct kata on his own, and called them Kwon Bup.
One night he was in a bar with some of his more rowdy students. Don’t judge, things were what they were back then, and it wasn’t unusual for guys to go out and test their martial arts in the real world. At any rate, Bob was with a bunch of 1%ers, and they were downing drinks and laughing and causing an uproar.
Bob, half lit, got in an argument with a cowboy (yes, there were cowboys in San Jose in the sixties, real cowboys, and they were tough), and the fellow drew back his fist and…a Hell’s Angel (Walt) picked the cowboy up by the neck and belt and slammed his head into the bar. “You don’t know it, but I just saved your life, fellow,” and Walt placed the cowboy back on his feet. Everybody laughed.
A while later everybody decided to leave. Bob walked across the parking lot, and suddenly changed his mind. Inebriated, he slurred, “I got to go straighten it out with that guy,” and he walked back into the bar.
The cowboy in question was watching from the window, and he enlisted the aid of another cowhand, and they stood on either side of the doorway. Bob walked in, and the two gnarly fellows jumped him. Bob was short and slender, they were large, and what happened next was…not what anybody expected.
Bob twisted his hips, and shot out his palms, and both cowboys flew back through the air. Now, I knew that hip twist, we did it all the time at the beginning of class, I thought it was for…well, I don’t know what I thought it was for. Bob, however, had just used that hip twist, and he had thrown a couple of large guys across a bar, and hadn’t even hurt them!
He was the most polite man I have ever known, even when drunk, and he just wanted to get along with people. When push came to shove however, he handled the situation, and still managed not to hurt anybody. The real blessing is that he left his knowledge in the series of seven kata that called Kwon Bup Karate.