In memory of Roosevelt Allen.

November 18, 2009

You sometimes hear me talk about Chas (Fisher), Wayne (Hinton), Chad (Osterlund) and James (Stacy); students of mine in the US with Chas, initially based in Colorado and now resettled in Seattle because of his job. The rest are still living in the mile-high state …….. with the snow-capped Rockies in your face …. Love that view from the street where I lived then…….

There is one other early student of mine, Roosevelt Allen, who passed away a few years back; after I left…..2  yrs ago when I went back, Wayne, Chad and I drove up to his grave, an army vet, Roosevelt is buried in a military cemetery…it was a heart wrenching day for us ….he was so young….

What can I say about Roosevelt apart from that he is one the most well-behaved, gentle giant of a man? On the heavy side, I remember watching him struggling through some of the more challenging movements that I was teaching especially the monkey forms that I taught for intermediate training.

Still, this man just kept at it, without a word and I could see the great effort he put in to keep up.

Stationed in Korea during his military days, Roosevelt studied some martial arts there and was looking for more when he found my school in Denver. Working with the postal service, he would pick me up from my apartment before heading to the school.

Every training day, regardless of weather, he would be parked outside my apartment waiting for me. And the 20 minutes drive to the school gave us the opportunity to talk, really talk. Got to know him intimately through the many conversations in his car.

This was a really good man.

For me to get a call one day to tell me he passed was a big shock….even now, it’s hard to accept that he has moved on……

I was told that in the couple of years after I left, he lost quite a bit of weight……

Well, a little late but I like to pay my respect here now and recently when I discovered that Chas got a video of Roosevelt, I thought it is a fitting way of remembering him.

So, Roosevelt my brother………

Rest In Peace.

(Roosevelt is the African-American in the clip).