The way it was

by Stephen LaBounty (2011-04-15)

"The Way We Were"

Circa 1961-62, Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, California

Young man walking down Ocean Avenue looking for a "Judo" school he was referred to by one of his friends. After taking 1 bus, 2 trolley cars, he arrives at the location and sees no evidence of anything resembling a martial arts school. Disappointed, he decides to turn back when he sees another young man carrying a martial arts uniform under his arm. Following said young man with uniform under arm, he comes upon a 81/2x11" inch piece of paper that says "Kenpo Karate". This is the place he will resume his "Judo" training.

Once inside, he sits and watches punching and kicking, slapping and smacking, but no throws. A bespectled, red headed Brown Belt walks up and asks the young man what he wants. "Judo" says the young man. "We teach Karate" is the answer. Now what? Where can I go? I've tried everywhere and no Judo school. "You're can watch if you want to" says the Brown Belt. Okay, but just for a bit, gotta catch the next bus. After 1 hours the Kenpo bug has bitten and left its mark on the young man.

From here the young man enters a life long search of the martial way, but there is a price to pay; lesson cost, Karate uniform, groin guard (if you dared), transportation, etc. Lets see what that came to then:
  • Lessons: $15.00 per month for the 1st three months. $12.50 for the next three months. And after six months $10.00 a month.Uniform: One trip to S.F. Chinatown for HSK "Shrinks a lot" uniform; Bus cost of .25, cost of good meal: $2:50 (I think). Cost of uniform: $4.50.
  • Prices are about the same today.. aren't they? This is the way it was, and I still remember all the players, students and teachers of that day, even after 50 years.