repost from the web

I found this post about Jack Mumpower on a website recently. It’s quite dated but I thought I would share. It is credited to HD Stewart.

20 years later and Aikido still rocks

 It seems like yesterday, my daughter was born and I was balancing a life of fatherhood and work.  Working in sales, this took most of my week but I managed to travel to Gerton, NC to study with my Sensei, Jack Mumpower. The trip was always eventful and never a bother, two hours spend building relationships with different friends and Aikido students. How did the trip always end with choco tacos or a pizza from Dominos? My brother will probably never forgive me for always trying to strike him in the throat, while I was driving. The trip was never a burden, learning Aikido from a true master was one of the greatest joys I have ever had. Entering the Mumpower house and walking down the spiral metal stair case was like entering the bat cave, there was always a sense of excitement. If you ever had a chance to meet Mr. Mumpower, you may be perplexed; he’s a tall, thin man who is an introvert that becomes alive when he begins teaching. It was as if a mystery was revealed every time we trained. Some of the greatest life lesson I ever learned, the most important was that a dojo was for training, not testing the “what if’s”,  a lesson all Martial Art instructors need to know. Another important lesson was, Martial Arts are dangerous, and beginners will hurt you if you let them.

 Students began to ask me to train them, which led to the renting of the Van diver dump on high way 115 in Huntersville, NC, that was 20 years ago this month. We started out with flotation foam and covered it with 4 pieces of carpet that had to be taped together and then rolled up after class so the dance studio could do their thing. Two nights a week and Saturday we were taking these foam rolls and carpet up and down. This was a simple time in my life; I worked hard, played hard and was always greeted by a round faced little girl with uncombed curly hair.  Life was great. As the school began to grow, I would get a 15 passenger van and take trip to the mountains with the group to train with Mr. Mumpower.   On several occasions, Mr. Mumpower would make the trip down and teach a class or grade students. It was a simple time; Aikido had become part of who I was. A gift I have always been grateful for. As life became more complicated, I forgot the important lessons of movement and avoiding conflict.  A key element to true Aikido is the ability to blend with an opponent or be the bull fighter, not the bull. Lessons life must teach, just like going after the master only to find yourself on the floor wondering if you will be able to swallow that much pride. 20 years later, I still have too much pride to swallow. I guess the lesson to learn is that life  is cruel. Friends come and go, family loves you one day and hates you the next and the people you love the most, you will hurt. The only way to live is to have a balance, to learn when to move and when to enter. Aikido is just a Martial Art but it does teach important lessons when dealing with pride and personal strengths. A lesson that will continue to master me.

In conclusion, i  wish to thank Mr. Mumpower for allowing me to study under one of the true masters of Aikido, you are truly a gem. Secondly, I want to thank my daughter, you were and are always a special person for giving me the time to train.

HD Stewart 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013