Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dennis Lockwood

Dennis Lockwood as I always remember him.

Yesterday Dennis Lockwood departed this life.

I wish to extend my condolences to his family and friends. Dennis was a great husband and father. He was also a great Isshinryu practitioner.

When I started training in Mr. Lewis’ IKC dojo he was one of my seniors and instructors. There were lessons he shared with me I’ve continued to share with my students to this day.

Life required I move away from Salisbury long ago. With the distance involved for years I only saw him infrequently and the last meeting was long ago. But what I learned from him has stayed with me always.

I think the best way share in his passing is to recall some of my time with him.

Lockwood Sensei was unique in many ways. I remember the wide selection of gi’s he would wear, all of them made by his mother. When at a tournament he would often wear a custom referee gi, but many of the gi's were unique and personally I always liked his paisley gi best.

When judging he had a solid presence as the center judge that became my own model when I would judge.

Most of the things I recall are personal events during my Salisbury years, but the one story that I think describes Dennis’ attitude is one I’ve already shared and will do so again.


Long ago in pre-history when I was a yellow belt in Isshinryu at Tom Lewis' Isshinryu Karate Club in Salisbury Maryland, I was asked to help in a demonstration with the Self Defense techniques. I was to be the attacker, and Kathy, a younger green belt, was to be the object of my unwanted attentions.

Everybody knows the story. I do something and then go splat.

One Tuesday night, two men came to the dojo and asked to watch a class. Next to Sensei Lewis office there was a bench for potential students to do just that. They watched through the warm-up and opening drills. Then class split into kumite (free-sparring) practice, and Kathy and I moved off to the side to work on our demonstration.

I remember specifically drilling on our closing movement. I approach her from the side and place my arm around her shoulders. Whatever her response I end on the floor on my hands and knees. My right hand was clutching my left ribs, because she was then to do an instep front kick into my ribs (on my hand) and then follow up with a quick sweep of my left hand causing me to finish by falling face first onto the floor.

Practice makes perfect, right?

While all this was happening, the two visitors were starting to become obnoxious. Perhaps their nature, or perhaps assisted by a few brews, they began to speak loudly between each other about how much tougher they were.

The instructors, Dennis Lockwood and Al Bailey, were trying do decide on an appropriate response to their behavior when our demonstration went live.

I grabbed Kathy and of course next I was on the floor holding my side. She nailed my hand with her instep kick, nice and hard with a loud 'Thwack', but when she followed with the sweep of my hand she missed. Instead of sweeping, her foot traveled up underneath my armpit and she nailed my nose with her instep.

I remember reaching up with my hand and it coming away bloody. Now this was not an uncommon experience for me in those days learning how to fight. Safety gear had just come out and most of the time we didn't use it, and everyone simply accepted mistakes happened.

In this instance the two black belts rushed up to me (where I was on the floor) and Dennis Lockwood knelt down and whispered in my ear, "Victor, don't do anything."

The next thing I knew was they grabbed my feet and drug me across the dojo floor, leaving a trail of blood behind me.

I was pulled out the door, and both of them helped me to my feet brushing me off.

Dennis told me, "Wait here a moment, I have to go inside." And he left me with the other Black Belt to attend me.

He marched inside and walked up to the two visitors. "Gentlemen, we have an opening in our class for a new student, would one of you wish to join."

It was interesting to note how pale they looked as they quickly left the dojo.

With much laughter my instructors helped me to the bathroom to clean up the mess.

--- fin

A great description of Dennis’ life can be found at -

His dojo is the Isshinryu Karate Barn

Old Ocean City Road

Salisbury, MD 21801

(410) 742-3755

1 comment:

Nachoname said...

My name is Matthew Buchholtz. I am a student at Rigby's Karate Academy. I had the pleasure of meeting Sensei Lockwood for the first time this past Saturday, April 16th at the King George Tournament. We are very saddened to hear of his passing and send our sincere regards to his family and school.

Matthew Buchholtz