On a more serious note, I think about some of my old instructors sometimes. Ernesto Presas has died. Remy Presas dead awhile now. Keith See - my first Parker, Kenpo Karate instructor has died. Ray Medina has died. And another one died in the late 1990s. A very important one. Terry Gibson - had a huge influence on me and was a rare, fully certified Inosanto instructor. To good to be forgotten. All before the internet, so his name is not bounced around the digital waves.
Terry and me in Tulsa, OK, maybe 1990-ish or so.
I was sure lucky to met him in the late 1980s. I hosted Paul Vunak in Texas in the 1980s and one time Terry showed up. Instant connection. He had a vast interest in the arts that Dan Inosanto taught and in his day, Inosanto said that Terry was one of his top 5 instructors. He was thee major player in this multi-state region surrounding the state of Oklahoma. I hosted Terry many times in Texas and would travel to the seminars he did and hosted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ones conducted by himself, or by Inosanto, Mark McFann, (no, that is not this "animal" McYoung guy - Mark McFann) Master Chai, Vunak, Hartsell, well...so many of the era. I also took multi-day, privates lessons with him up there in Tulsa, staying at his house at night. We usually did these in 3-day sets. 5 hour privates in the daytime, and this included attending all the evening classes too.
We did Thai, JKD, Silat, varieties of Kali, Shoot Fighting from Japan. We were all ground fighting years before the UFC/BJJ craze. Remember that Dan Inosanto Concepts many decades ago was way ahead of the curve we have today. Virtually all martial arts are a collective of moves from the past, but many get frozen in doctrine. The first real, known, widespread "Mixed Martial Arts" of the day was largely from Dan Inosanto. Yeah! 95% percent of the existing martial arts back then were virtually virgins to other the forms of martial arts. Each one was guilty of thinking they were superior to the others. Worse, most simply could not even grasp a mixed, "best of blend from all the good stuff." Their dogmas prevented evolution. Inosanto's did not. I was all-in for this evolution.The blend is the key to superiority.
Terry was also a lawyer, by the way. Unfortunately, But, Terry had serious brain cancer that just wouldn't go away. I can't help but think that if he were alive today with these problems, there would be newer, better treatments and technologies. To my memory he had three different, major brain surgeries, each time, changing him. How could it not!
He was a powerhouse! One of my favorite memories was once, while spending time with Terry while in the hospital after his second brain surgery. The second day after the surgery he really was barely recognizable. His head and face way swollen and wrapped. He looked at me and said,
"you know the doctor told me to get up and try to move around. Want to go for a walk?"
I said okay and we proceeded to walk laps around the entire floor of the hospital. Before we knew it? We were trucking around at a pretty fast walking clip, he in his gown, his "turban" and barefoot. As we past the elevators on about the 6th lap, the elevator doors swung open and his brain surgeon appeared.
"Jesus! Terry! What are you doing!" he demanded.
"Walking!" Terry said." You told me to get up and move around."
"I meant you could stand up and look out the window! Not run laps!"
Terry was that kind of health nut and powerhouse. Splurging to him meant eating two ice popsicles.
I also recall him telling me about his and Mark McFann's trip to study Suwanda Silat in Indonesia. They had to wear those traditional "dresses" and it just killed these two macho dudes to walk on the streets in all that garb. I have a photo somewhere of him and McFann that he sent me, all duded up in indo-like skirts.
In or around 1995, and after his third surgery some martial arts business politics got in the way of our training. I studied many systems back then, but hit it pretty hard with Terry for about 5 years. I realized that Terry was more skilled and knowledgeable than all the others around. In the 90s, non-martial arts related programs became a financial priority for me as a teacher, and it captivated more and more of my time. Absolutely, no reflection on Terry himself.
Terry eventually died from this cancer two years later in 1997.
Great photo from the Smokey Mountain Camp days. Tim Tackett, Larry Hartsell
and Terry. Tim is still alive and kicking.
No pun intended.
Probably if there is an heir, the heir of the Gibson era would have to be Harley Elmore, who is tucked away in the Wichita Falls area in north Texas. Harley is a great guy and a fanatic student/expert in these subjects. On his webpage you can still get some older Gibson videos, converted over to DVDs. Terry had many video tapes, but if lost? The info is probably in Harley's DVDs.
Gibson (and Elmore DVDS) click here
But, Terry Gibson taught me an absolute ton of stuff and remains one of the nicest guys I have met in this business. A very, special person. Long may his name bounce around the digital waves.
Thai Association remembers Terry