Bob Weatherall was born in the small coal mining town of Nuneaton in the North Warwickshire county in England, where he still lives today with his second wife Noreen.
Bob has been a fighter from an early age, he had to be. At the age of 5 years, he developed, as it was then, the crippling disease of Polio. This was first noticed when he started to get very tired and fell asleep at school. A doctor was called and he was rushed to Whitley Isolation hospital where, after 18 months he was released and the long hard battle of rehabilitation followed. His rehabilitation was both mentally and physically demanding and necessitated in him having to learn to walk again.
His memories of this time consist of spending all of his time either in bed or in an iron lung, the machine used to treat Polio patients, with nothing to look at but the mirror above his head, and wishing he was outside playing with the other children.
When Bob finally returned to school he continued to struggle but his perseverance paid off when he finally got to represent Vicarage Street School by playing left wing for the School football team.
The following years at Higham Lane Senior School were quite uneventful but he has one very clear memory. One day the local school bully, who everyone was frightened of, started to pick on Bob. More out of fear than courage, Bob fought the bully and much to his surprise, beat him. After this he gained a new confidence and consciously made the decision that he would never be bullied again.
Bob's involvement in the Chinese martial arts began in the very early 1960's. He first started training with a local school that was based on the Chinese arts called Tai Gik Koon (Cantonese for Tai Chi), although it could not be classed as a traditional art.
After a time he realised that this was not a true Chinese art although, what he learned there stood him in good stead for later on. A friend of his at that time, a policeman, had trained in some of the Japanese arts, set up his own school and asked Bob to join him. This Bob did and so followed a period of experimentation and discovery, always searching for the genuine Chinese arts. During this time Bob being in his early 20's spent a lot of time in the classes fighting (sparring), which he loved.
Eventually he decided that if he was ever going to discover the true arts he would have to go to where they originated; 'The Far East'.
This was not an easy decision to make as he was married with two young sons, but his love for the Chinese arts proved too strong and in August he gave up his job and a very nervous Bob flew from England to Hong Kong.
Before beginning his quest, Bob had written to the Hong Kong Embassy asking for advice and information on Kung Fu and they gave him the address of the Hong Kong Martial Arts Association. When the reply arrived he was instructed to contact them on his arrival in Hong Kong.
On arrival, much to Bob's surprise he was greeted by several members from the association and escorted to a hotel. After such a long flight Bob simply wanted to sleep, but greetings had to be exchanged and meetings arranged for the next few days.
The following day a party was arranged to enable him to meet the different masters of the different arts. (Bob later found out that the reason he was being treated like a celebrity was because he was one of the first Englishmen to have travelled to Hong Kong to learn the genuine Chinese arts.) The Chinese Masters were so impressed by his commitment they had decided to help him all they could to further his knowledge and promote Kung Fu.
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Posted By: REsynK |
7/29/13 3:03 PM
That is why martial art instructors are always so involved in helping kids learn how to protect themselves because they were once bullied and they know how important it is to have that knowledge.