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Bowley Kenpo Karate » 3 Questions » 3 Questions with Robert Luellen

3 Questions with Robert Luellen

[Editor’s Note – 3 Questions is a continuing interview series of martial artists who have become friends to Bowley Kenpo Karate either in real life or online. If you would be interested in participating in 3 Questions, please drop us a line. ]

Name: Robert Luellen
Practices martial arts at: American Kenpo Legacy Association
Location of the school: Louisville, KY

Mr. Robert Luellen and students

Mr. Robert Luellen and students

How did you get into martial arts? –
When I was 16 was my first real leap into the martial arts via the RyuKyu Kempo school.  I had seen a movie called “The Perfect Weapon”, and wanted to be that guy, and attain a sense of confidence I didn’t possess.

What is your first martial arts experience like or first memory? –
Well my first class was when I was 5.  I had been attending an aerobics class, and I think my uncles were upset that I was a boy in leotards :).  I recall getting my tail whipped by a girl my same age on a regular basis.  Not exactly a start of a  martial arts journey that would make a great epic. LOL

Tell your favorite karate story –
I’ve walked most of my adult life due to circumstances, but I always made it to class.  Living in Muskogee, OK I was always subjected to attempted muggings.  My complexion isn’t dark enough to look Native American, and much to white not to be considered a target for racial violence.  I experienced the latter on several occassions. 
My favorite martial arts story was one night coming home from class, a car pulled up beside me and the passenger said “Hey what time is it?”  I looked and it had four rough looking Hispanic guys in the car and one extremely out of place white girl, dressed like a prep from high school.    I had been in this sort of predicament several times, and I knew what was about to happen. 
I stopped and looked at them.  The passenger said “What’s your problem @ss****?”  I laughed because there was allot of them, and I knew I had a bad day coming to me.  The doors flew open, and I instinctively began back peddling to an open lot behind me.  I wanted room, and not to be next to the car in case I got knocked out.  Still the absurdity of the blond white girl dressed like mommy and daddy had bought everything for her…. just kept my focus.  Odd what you think about at times like that.
The driver, probably the least brave of the crew, shouted, “He’s running get in!”  As I stood there, knuckled up, bag I was carrying dropped, I saw them peel out and yelling “we can catch him on the other side.” 
I was about a block away from my house when this happened, which is again ironic.  I went up on a neighbors porch, and put myself behind a large pillar.  I rotated around the pillar as they drove at high speeds around the block several times.  When I had a break in the event I booked it to the house, and watched them from my apartment.
That was the best martial arts moment I’ve ever had.  I won without fighting, and used tactics to solve my problem.

Epilogue:  Two weeks later as I waited tables I saw that blond girl sitting with her family on a Sunday night at a local Mexican restaurant.  I walked up to her and said “Hi … do you remember me?”  She said “yea I think I recognize you.”  I reminded her of the details of that evening in front of her parents, who looked mortified.  I ended the conversation with “do you folks need me to bring you more chips?”

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