early 90's I gave a sword seminar in Evansville,
Indiana. There was one outstanding young
man that caught my eye. He was very
talented in learning the sword skills and since
he was already a Black Belt in Shodakan Karate,
he had developed advanced mental focus and
that day his mom asked if it would be possible
for her to bring Nick to Tennessee to train with
the sword. Mary wanted the best for her
son. She was a very intelligent and
professional lady. That set the stage for
a lasting relationship with Nick and Mary.
For the next 5 years they made the trip to
Tennessee weekly in all kinds of weather
already a good fighter, so I also set my goal to
help him become a Black Belt in Wado Ryu Karate
and swordsmanship. Nick was a handsome
young man with much humor that actually got
in trouble at times. I would have to laugh
inside at some of his comments and he gave me
lightheartedness that helped me become more
became an awesome swordsman. He practiced
and developed to a very high skill level for a
teenager. He was also an accomplished
musician, singer and computer whiz. Mary
was a most profound mother and helped stimulate
Nick into being a well rounded individual.
He also excelled in track and cross country.
He won many tournaments in sparring, weapons and
forms. Most of the tournament judges
didn't appreciate the skill level that Nick had
acquired. Once he performed a combination
of outstanding Nito sword (two sword) forms at a
tournament and was not given the scores he
deserved for it was beyond their skill
knowledge. I was not happy with his
scores, but Nick came over, smiled and laughed
about the whole thing. That was the kind
of person Nick was. He could see humor in
all situation, even when others would be upset.
a freshman in college and suddenly passed away
in January of 2001. It was as if my own
son had passed from this world. I have
pictures of Nick and I and I look at them daily.
I am still sad about his passing. Mary and
Nick had a very profound impact on my life.
I will always be indebted to the many positive
experiences and memories of both Nick and Mary.
Nick was a real Martial Artist and he will
forever hold a special place in my heart.
Sensei Dale Kirby
7th Degree Black
Senpai Leslie Kirby
3rd Degree Black