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Bradley Skeels

YONDAN (4th Degree Black Belt)
SHOTOKAN KARATEDO

I started training in 1969, under Soke (Master) Tak Kubota (9th Dan & founder Gosoku-Ryu Karatedo - International Karate Association), Shihan Ben Otake, Sensei Tony Tulleners (credited as being the only competitor that Chuck Norris could not beat), Shihan John Gelson, and the unorthodox Ernie Cotrell. I originally took Karate at a Jack La Lane health club from a man named Ernie Cotrell, who ran a dojo out of the health club. He considered all Karate guys wimps, so he trained in street clothes and motorcycle boots. His theory was that if you needed to defend yourself you should work out in the same type of clothing and conditions. He knew of Ed Parker (Father of American Kenpo Karate) and Tony Tullners (1960's kumite (fighting) champion) but didn't much care for them. He trained us very hard and there was a lot of contact. He didn't believe much in kata -- all he wanted to do was teach people how to be effective street fighters. I trained there for about 6 months, until one day he didn't show up for class and we never heard from him again. I wanted to continue training so I found Tony Tullners (IKA Pasadena dojo), and started training with him. I have been affiliated with his Dojo ever since. During the time I trained there I found that I was a much better instructor (coach) than I was tournament fighter. I kept learning through Tony's teaching and going to the Hollywood dojo under Master Tak Kabota and training with the guys there. I guess my training was good enough to keep up with all of the higher dan ranks so I was allowed to keep on training with all of the big boys (an all star stable of tournament competitors).   I think they liked beating me up which was ok with me because I kept learning and became a stronger and better karate-ka. I taught for many years at the Pasadena IKA dojo (later run by Shihan Tom Serrano). I went to all of the IKA tournaments and became very proficient at judging.  I believe in keeping the level of ability at a very high standard and I feel that karate, if taught well, can have a positive impact on one's life. My interest has always been in the quality of the dojo as opposed to quantity of students in a dojo. I live and work in Upland.  My eight-year-old nephew Kris, is taking karate with the USKL, and I'm looking for another dojo to become associated with.