My Dear Friends,
As you might be aware Senior Ustad Eric Heyreh Passed away on the 6th Jan 2015.
Ustad Eric's loss, personally to me, the Art Form and the Association is profound and deep and leaves a huge empty space in the fabric of my Life and the Association.
Eric started training with me in 1967, when as a teenager I opened the first club at Heath Town Baths. Eric was the first person to walk through the door and take part in the session. Within a few weeks the club had grown to 9 strong members with Ustads Onkar Sunar, Fred Smith, Bhajan Lal, Barry Terry, Mohan Lal and Vinnie Patel amongst them The Training was strict, disciplined, Basic...and looking back.... brutal!! but those were heady days, we were all young, at the prime of our lives, a New World order was evolving, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and The Beatles were shaking the world of music and culture, and Man had landed on the Moon!
Eric's defining qualities were a deep commitment and loyalty to others, a strong Will and a wonderful honest personality that offered comfort, support and help to everyone who ever came in contact with him. I can categorically say that without his support and encouragement to me in those early years the Association might never have come into existence. Eric guided me through those early years, helped me to formulate the Constitution of the Association which we still use to the present day, helped me to structure the early Grading syllabus, design the first Symbol and the layout of the first Licence Document. In recent years he was the main architect of our affiliation with NAKMAS.
In those days we were not big enough to hold our own Competitions, so to enhance the reputation of the club Eric, Fred, Onkar, Bhajan and the others would enter competitions of the two main Systems in the UK...Shotokan and Wado-Ryu (Taekwondo and Kick Boxing were unheard of then!) and they would bring back trophies galore! It was tough but it was a time of great fun with a wonderful camaraderie. There was not much TV, no Internet, working days were regular 8 hours, Life felt less rushed and Training most evenings in the park with Friends was a joy and something to 'look forward to'. Eric was an awesome practitioner of the Art Form, his forte' was pragmatic and geared towards Application, an exceptionally powerful Man....He was a True "No, Nonsense Martial Artist!"
Eric never sought praise or adulation for himself and in his quite, purposeful way played a monumental role in the Life of the Art Form. Every Student who has ever trained in the Art Form owes Ustad Eric Heyreh a huge debt of Gratitude. I deeply miss My Dear Friend and I will deeply miss the 'life-time support of those broad shoulders' that were ALWAYS there to give me anchor.
Selection for Black Belt Grading 2015