Sensei Williams

Thursday night I stopped by the dojo because Sensei Williams was teaching his last class there before we move to Greenwich St., and I wanted to get a photo.

I'll get to that photo in a moment, but first, here is a photo of me. This was taken at a dojo tournament in the late 70's, probably 1979, back when Oishi Judo was at 415 West Broadway. I'm the skinny kid on the right:

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See that other skinny kid, the one on the left? His name is Chris, and he has a younger brother Mark. Chris and Mark's parents are Dave and Anne Williams.

Soon after that photo was taken, Dave and Anne took up judo themselves. Dave in particular applied himself with great enthusiasm. I remember his ability to squat deep and come in low for morote-seoi-nage. I remember his quest for flexibility, and his excitement over a gadget he'd found that stretched his legs farther and farther apart with the turn of a crank.

Fast-forward twenty-seven years, and Dave Williams is now Sensei Williams. He is a nidan (second degree black belt) and has been teaching Tuesday and Thursday nights as long as anyone can remember. He is an intense motivator and always gives every student a grueling workout. He is known for his clear explanations of judo principles and techniques — you marvel not only at how clear things are in his own mind, but how transparent he makes them for you.

Sensei Williams also referees quite frequently. You can see him in many of my YouTube videos.

The Dave Williams of 2007 — the sensei, the referee, and not only the father of that skinny kid but now a grandfather — that Dave Williams is the gentleman in this photo, front row center:

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That's Anne in the second row, second from the right.

I mention all this because the dojo move has made me nostalgic, and because some of you who don't take his class may not know Sensei Williams. He sometimes drops by on nights he doesn't teach. If you see him in class, say hi to him, and definitely play him if you possibly can.

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