Martial Arts Legend GM Bill McCloud
J-Ronin: Rolling with Ronin on All Elements, TV, interviewing "Living Legend" Grand Master Bill McCloud.
J-Ronin: Sir, where did you grow up, and how was that era different from this?
GM Bill: I grew up in Crown Heights, just a few blocks from the dojo. When I grew up, it was a different era, and the neighborhood made a 360. The way things were then kind of went away, and it came back. Now it's on the comeback, you know, like all things, they change. Like history, it repeats itself. There were many great experiences growing up during that time. I grew up because the people were different. What existed then was a community, it was communal, and there was a code that existed amongst everybody in the community. When I grew up, everybody was your parent, no matter who they were or their nationality, whether they spoke Spanish, French, or whatever!
It was a whole village. It was different in those times. Yeah. And because of that, you know the arts at that time were different as well. It was a time when a person respected that if you had a problem with an individual, you could handle it like men, right. And then become friends. And now to this time that we in now, it's a little bit different. Cause the code has changed. The old code had ethics and morals, and the quality of people's character was different. It's changed, all of it. We had a different frequency then, and to me, it's kind of sad that this type of change exists. So the question is, you know, how do we go about trying to amend that, to fix that? This time that we are in, and in my opinion, is that it takes a group, a collective in order to be able to change it. And to be able to bring the type of communalism back to the community where these bad things that we see happening or read about in the news won't happen anymore.
J-Ronin: When did you first start training in the martial arts?
GM Bill: I started with boxing in 1962 but changed to martial arts in 1965 after I had three men fight off a team of police officers with nothing but their hands and feet. After that, I began training in Shotokan Karate with one of GM George Cofield's students, Kenny Morgan. We used to go to the St. George hotel to work out. It was right downtown. Back then, they used to have a saltwater Olympic size swimming pool. It was crazy. They had a steam room, you know, a sauna, the whole nine yards. So that's where we were going to work out. One day, Kenny, myself, and another guy who used to come and work out with us; I remember that he trained with Grand Master Ronald Duncan at the time. He used to wear a hakama on over his gi. I didn't understand the whole thing with the hakama then, so it was strange to me. Kenny told me that this guy did something a little bit different, but I still didn't understand. So, one day as we were working out, peripherally, I kept seeing this other guy standing there looking, watching us. And then I said to Kenny, "yo, what's up? This guy looks familiar." He kept standing there watching us. And then when I looked, I said, "oh man, I know him." It was a guy I knew from years ago; we used to call him Crazy Horse. Right. Cause he was, he was a wild guy. So, and I saw him, I said, "yo man, what's up, Horse?" We talked a little, and he said his name was "Lumumba." He had already become a black belt in Sanuces Ryu and Vee Jitsu Te.
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