The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, November 14, 2005

L.A. Screenwriting Expo

I had a deeply emotional experience at the L.A. Screenwriting expo, where I was lecturing on charactrerization and plot.  I was certainly prepared for the usual challenges of teaching, but not for my emotional response when a walking boulder of a gentle giant walked up to me and said: "Hi, Steve...I'm Cliff Stewart."  I almost lost it.  Cliff Stewart was one of the three men who founded the original Black Karate Federation, along with Donnie Williams and my first real karate instructor, Steve Sanders (now Steve Muhammad).  I was damaged goods inthose days (still carry some of the wounds today) due to the lack of my father in the home, a real lack of male energy...when I walked into the BKF school, the testosterone blew me back out the door.  God, I wanted it so much...Steve remains the fastest human being I have ever seen in my life, and a true gentleman warrior.  Now, I didnt know Cliff in those days, but I knew OF him.  I got to know Cliff later, in other contexts, and was amazed at the skill and gentility of this legenday fighter and teacher.  He is a marvel, and moves like a rhino on roller skates, I kid you not.  Hadn't seen him in ten years, and when he approached me, understand, I had recently been wondering what to do with my martial arts practise.  Would I move on to something else?  Go back and practise something I'd done in the past?  Something new?  Just not sure.
But one thing I know is that I have unfinished emotional business with the BKF.  You know, we're all wounded by life, and I can still see how some of my wounds ooze, despite the best efforts I've made.  But I have an image in my mind...of completing my BKF black belt, and having it presented to me by Mr. Muhammad.  Cliff (with a black belt in about seven arts), who currently studies and teaches the wonderful Serak art I've been privileged to study over the last decade, could be instumental in helping me understand what requirements I'd have to meet, the training I'd need to undergo, the people I'd need to make contact with.  I see a doorway to completing a piece of my young adulthood, and that happens so very rarely in life. The younger Steve would so love it if I could do that.  I'm gonna have to look into it.  I just have to.

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