I had my cancer biopsy surgery this morning. Had some minor complications but got through it. Will know something in a week. When I came out of anesthesia I saw that I had a message on my phone from David Willey's sister.
He is a fabulous teacher and was particularly good with teaching children and young students, extremely patient and always imparting his wisdom and technique with the greatest warmth and understanding.
Absolutely brilliant at a variety of skills including forms, sparring and weapons. Could fight mantis and dragon as well as the five animals methods and Wing Chun. Great with a staff.
The nicest, most lovable and peaceful human being you could ever encounter in the world but he was an absolute terrifying monster on the mat and his technique was impeccable. Wednesday night "back to back" sparring sessions were particularly grueling when you were paired off with David, he was fierce and plainly loved his craft, would give or expect no quarter.
I competed in the 1989 World Championships in San Francisco and watched David become Seven Star Grand Champion that day, beating the heavily favored and brilliant martial artist Shane Lacey in a major upset.
The school had its ups and downs. Financial woes. Our Sifu, John Vihildal, came down with major heart issues that forced him to stop teaching. The school had several moves and name changes. I had to stop working out as my knees could no longer take getting swept. I got cancer, remember training the same day as chemo, if you can believe that? Finally had to call it quits.
Sort of lost touch with the old gang.
This was interesting to me because in martial arts we preached bilateral symmetry and fencers tend to get large lead legs.
I was saddened to hear today that David is now fighting pancreatic cancer. It doesn't sound too good. There is a Go Fund Me page.
Say a prayer for him, light a candle, make a donation, or think a good thought for a great human being, whatever is your custom or inclination. I hope that he can make a recovery but I recognize the enormous battle he is now fighting.