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A Message from the Instructor
Michael D. Jones
Dec 1st, 2006viewed 2490 times
This message is intended to explain the founding and subsequent development of the School of Eight Directions.
My esteemed teacher, the late Professor Byron Walker, founded the original School of Eight Directions in 1994. His school was dedicated to the preservation of Kodenkan Jujitsu. He maintained a small but loyal following until his diagnosis with terminal cancer in 2002. Prior to his death, he graciously permitted me to adopt his school name and symbol. I dedicate my efforts to the memory of Professor Walker, whose talents and perspectives enriched the lives of his students immensely.

I have departed from Professor Walker’s goal of preserving the art of Kodenkan. However, his greatest gift as a teacher transcended any stylistic considerations. He inspired a lasting thirst for knowledge, an appreciation of functional skill and an abiding respect for personal excellence. These core values are guideposts for anyone who seeks the path known in traditional martial arts as “The Way.”

I have thanked my stars many times over for the good luck that led me, as a beginner in 1972, to enroll in Professor Walker’s Tang Soo Do class. He was a demanding teacher who drove his students to practice with precision and intent. And equally important, he always sought to impart the logic of his expectations. Technical considerations were always given within the context of their purpose. In other words: not only how, but why. Every nuance of technical skill existed for a definitive purpose or effect. Furthermore, our teacher walked the talk, as the saying goes. His own unerring precision and his austere devotion to the martial arts provided a constant source of inspiration.

I reiterate that he was a demanding teacher. So much so that only a small percentage of his students had the patience or fortitude to remain long-term. But that was blessing, too. The students who toughed it out enriched the class with an atmosphere of like- minded purpose. Thus, I feel doubly blessed. In addition to Professor Walker, I have also enjoyed the guidance of his senior student, Master Jerry Strickland. Truth be known, Master Strickland bore most of the burden in guiding me to black belt. Throughout the years, he has helped to reinforce Professor Walker’s teachings, and has provided me with much advice and assistance in my teaching endeavors. His contributions to the School of Eight Directions have been invaluable.
- Michael D. Jones
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