It’s 1971, three months from my seventeenth birthday, and I’m scared and extremely apprehensive as I’m nervously over-hand stacking cards while traveling with a karate fighter name John Douglas. We are headed to his teacher, Sensei John Murphy’s karate dojo in Tijuana, Mexico. I realize that the beginning of training will be rough. I’m very aware that, as much as my dream to become a martial artist like my boyhood idol Bruce Lee, my poor vision now measured at 20/400, my lungs are asthmatic, and my scrawny, poorly conditioned body might all be considered insurmountable obstacles to a karate sensei of Murphy’s status.
Mr. Turner, when you train,” John Douglas says sternly as we cross the border into Tijuana, “you’ve got to be ready – really ready – to face your worst nightmare. You’ve got to be at the top of your game. You never know when you might face a madman!”
He pauses and purses his lips, his body, immobile when I ask, “Mr. Douglas, sir, what kind of madman?”
He exclaims, “A Bear-like madman!”