I Hugged Benny Urquidez

Benny Urquidez

If you have been involved in the martial arts within the last five decades you know about the living legend, Benny Urquidez, nicknamed The Jet for good reason.

When attending martial arts functions, or just a gathering of fellow martial artists, we always seem to drift into conversations about our heroes, about who could hit the hardest or kick the highest or who was faster than who. These conversations always come around to Benny The Jet Urquidez.

Benny The Jet is one of those martial artists who every other martial artist relates to in some way. For some reason we each have a specific story, a meeting, a fight, or an event that we remembered or witnessed. The Apache/Blackfoot creator of Ukidokan is not Mexican, as is often believed. In the complicated and controversial world of martial arts, there is no living champion with such a sterling image, and there is no one who can make the factual claims that The Jet can. One would be hard pressed to find ANYONE who has anything bad to say about Benny. For instance, when I asked the legendary Jhoon Rhee who he most admired in martial arts, the only name that came to his mind was Benny “The Jet” Urquidez.

Most of the stories surrounding Benny begin with the words, I was privileged to fight Benny Urquidez or I met Benny Urquidez at or I was there when Benny Urquidez or do you think it’s true that Benny Urquidez and so on.

Some have heard a story or rumor that they perpetuate like the proverbial Fish Story. Some claim to be his highest ranking student, or have trained with him or learned their most valuable lesson from him, often trying to ride to martial arts notoriety on Benny’s coat-tails. Some claim to have beaten him in a point match at this or that tournament (usually on a technicality), but never does anyone claim that they are better than The Jet, especially in the full-contact arena which he helped create and where he remains 63 and 0 in professional title defenses. Within that record, there were 57 KOs and these bouts always ended with Benny’s trademarked back flip. In fact, near the end of his illustrious career, many fans and commentators expected him to win and the biggest draw to the bout was figuring out how long an opponent might last, and when Benny would do his patented Victory Flip.

It has been said by more than one champion fighter, and rightly so, that pound for pound, Benny The Jet Urquidez is the greatest full contact fighter EVER. He doesn’t often grant interviews, so I felt especially honored and humbled that he accepted my request for a one-on-one interview at the upstairs studio of the Santa Clarita Athletic Club.Santa Clarita Athletic Club

Inside this club, at the top of the stairs, is a first class training facility, which includes a ring. Above the ring is a banner that reads, “World Class Kickboxing, The Legend’s Final Challenge”. Here, at the dojo/gym that is managed by his niece, Gloria, we conducted the interview (exclusive to USAdojo.com) that is presented below. As usual, we offered this living legend an opportunity to tell his own story, in his own words and answer questions that he may not have previously had a chance to answer. The full text and video record of this interview will be made available in other formats under the LEGENDS AND LEGACIES brand, including a notable “Message in a Bottle,” already posted on USAdojo.com, which contains Benny’s answer to my first question.

Alfred Urquidez, Gordon Richiusa, Benny Urquidez
Alfred Urquidez, Gordon Richiusa and Benny Urquidez at Gordon’s induction to the Masters Hall of Fame in 2010.

(G) If you had one message to leave to the Universe, and you only had a few minutes to sum it up, what would that message be?

(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “First of all, hi. I’m Thunder and Iron Horse, known as Benny “{The Jet” Urquidez and if I were going to pass a message to the universe, my message would be not only to find peace of mind but to be able to understand what the purpose and reasoning of why you exist on this Earth. What’s my reasoning? Why do I exist here? What’s my purpose? Am I just here to get married, have some money and so forth? What’s the purpose of my journey? My message for those who are sharing this time with me on my journey is: understand the true value is not getting to the destiny, but the journey going toward the destination. What I really want to pass on is to learn how to be in the presence of today, because today is happening tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. If you can stay in the presence of today, then there will never be any regrets. So, if I could give a message to everybody in a short amount of time Id say, learn to be in the moment of the today, because a lot can happen in one day.”

(G) Can you tell us about some of your titles?

(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “They say I’m a Six Time World Champ. I hold six titles in five weight divisions. I’ve held these for the last twenty four years. My record is 63 and 0 with 57 KOs. These are title defenses. I’ve had over 215 fights, but I only count the title defenses. I’m the last of Mohicans. I started the sport in ’73. Now, its become cage fighting and mixed martial arts, which I was doing back in ’73. ”

(G) When did you start training?

(BENNY URIQUEZ) “Actually, I started when I was three years old. When other kids had fire trucks, I had boxing gloves. I was competing at age five, in 1958. In ’63 I started training in Kenpo Karate. From Kenpo Karate I went on to Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do and many other styles. Today I say that I’m in my 50th year in combat and that I teach my own style of Ukidokan.”

(G) Who was your first instructor?

(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “My first instructors were my mother and my father. My mother was a professional wrestler. My father was a professional boxer. There are nine black belts in my family. There are four champions in my family. It’s not ALL I know how to do, but it’s what I do best. I was actually being bred for competitive fighting when I was very young. When most kids were playing I was doing boxing, kick boxing or martial arts.”

(G) When did you get your first black belt?

(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “That was probably in ’67 or ’66. You have to remember, back in the ’60s you had to be eighteen years old to be a Black Belt. I was only fourteen years old and I was hurting [kids] and making all these kids cry. So, finally Mr. Ed Parker and others got together and forced me to put on a Black Belt. There were nine in the group who were testing me and when I passed the two-day test, everybody was so excited and everybody kicked me for luck and to say congratulations except for my oldest brother Arnold. He kicked me and put me in the hospital! He broke my ribs, because he was angry that I broke tradition. I didn’t ask to take the test. They forced me to take it and now I had my Black Belt. I was all excited. Remember, I’m just fourteen years old. When I went to the next tournament, being young and excited, I was strutting around a little like, “Look at me. I’ve got my Shodan, my Black Belt.” I walked over to where the fourteen year olds were and I’m still posing. But, the officials came up and said, “No, no, no you don’t belong here.”

At the Gym with Benny Urquidez

“And, I said, ‘yeah, I’m fourteen. This is my category. This is my group.’But they insisted, saying, ‘No, you’re a shodan now. You gotta go over there and fight with the other Black Belts.’ And, I look over and I’m looking at Chuck Norris; I’m looking at Skipper Mullens. I’m looking at all these guys and I’m thinking, I can’t fight these guys, they’re grown men! My brother looked at me and said, ‘You wanted to be a Black Belt That’s what you’re going to have to deal with.’ My first time I fought as a Shodan, I was so scared. I walked out with my tail between my legs, my head down and tried to find the smallest guy I could and stood next to him. I thought he wouldn’t hurt me too bad—so I stood next to him and ended up winning that tournament. I think I won it because I was so scared and I was running so fast that they couldn’t catch me. That was my first. For the next couple of tournaments, I was the cute kid, and they had a lot of fun with me. I was entertaining them as this skinny fourteen year old, but when I started beating them, after the third tournament, then they started standing next to me on purpose. They wanted to fight me and show me what it’s going to take. I had a rude awakening. The good part about it was, it taught me very quickly. I was already a good boxer as it was. I understood contact. Instead of looking at each of my opponents as a human being, as a person, I was looking at them as a rank. It really taught me something. So, I was the first in my family that broke tradition. As you can see now you have five year olds, ten year olds, seven year olds who have got Black Belts.”

(G) What do you think about that?

(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “I think my brother had a point back then, kicking me for breaking tradition. I didn’t understand it then, but now I understand.”

(G) I know that your brother Arnold is a big advocate of sticking with tradition, even these days.

(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “You know half my family is like Arnold… I’m one of those persons who loves to be fed mentally. I went from a soft style to a hard style and back again. As soon as I got my Black Belt in one system I went to another. When I got my Black Belt in a hard system, I went to a soft style, back and forth and I kept on going because I just wanted to be fed. Then I recognized, all I had to do was—kicking and punching. I was already jumping over six feet—I knew every kind of kick there was. I was a good gymnast. I knew ever kind of punch there was… elbows, knees… so I knew all the techniques. When I went into a different style I knew techniques that the teachers sometimes didn’t know… kicking and punching and throwing and so forth… It was easy after awhile. All I had to do was memorize some of the katas, some of the forms, some of the wazu, grabs which I knew easily. It was easy to get more Black Belts, because you can only kick, punch or throw in so many ways. I had a Black Belt in judo, too. It wasn’t so much the rank. I just wanted to be fed. But, half of my brothers, like my oldest brother Arnold, Mando and Rueben and my sister they stood with more of the hard style, the Shotokan style. Me, I went more into White Crane Kung Fu, Lima Lama, and Kenpo Karate. I was into fast, fluid motion. It was kind of a division in my family. Half were strict Shotokan and hard styles, and the other half were more open styles, free and kind of followed with me as I was going around.”

(G) Is that why you formed Kenpo-Shotokan?
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “That’s right. We formed Kenpo-Shotokan, because, we are both a hard and soft style. We didn’t know what to call it, so we called it Kenpo-Shotokan. When we first put it together, people would ask, ‘Are you Kenpo or are you Shotokan?’ We had nine different styles in our system, back in’73. When you looked at our style, a little bit of Kenpo, Shotokan, White Crane, Judo etc., you could see it was a mix. We were mixed martial arts, right then, because that’s how it was when we were fighting. When I went to Japan they had never seen this type of fighting before and they asked, What do you call it? We said, KENPO-SHOTOKAN and they said, ‘No. You have to be one or the other. Whatever you are doing you have to name it, so that we know what it is and how to rate it.’ So, it took me five years, but I came up with Ukidokan. Ukidokan is my system, which I started. The rest is history from there, really.”Benny Urquidez On Camera

(G) This is basically the same story as with Goju Ryu, hard and soft styles mixed together…
(BU) “Pretty much. That’s right.”

(G) I’m just going to ask you a couple of Rorschach Inkblot type questions. You can answer as long or as short as you like. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I ask…What is your secret?

(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “The secret is knowing where to get your power and how to receive it. I asked about 700 black belts in a seminar once, ‘Where to you get your power?’ Some said, ‘From God.’ And, I said, ‘Well, How do you access it? Do you go to church and say, ‘God give me power!’ The answer was, ‘Well, no, I’m not quite sure about that.’ Others said they get their power from within and others said from chi power. So, again, I asked, ‘But, how do you access it?’ One said,‘Breath Medicine.’ And I asked, ‘What kind of power?’ They said, ‘I can break bricks. I can break boards. I can break ice.’ I said, ‘That’s EXTERNAL. How about INTERNAL POWER?’ They said, ‘I’ve never been taught it.’ So, I asked another person, how do you get your power? The answer came, ‘Like a little bit of what he said and a little bit of what the other guy said.’ But, I kept asking a third guy, “Where to you get YOUR power?” And, he repeated…’a little bit of what the first two guys said.’ So I said, “So you really don’t know?” Then a fourth guy said, ‘I am a sixth degree black belt and I raised my hand because I was embarrassed not to, but the truth is I don’t know.’ I told that guy that he gave me the best and most clever and most beautiful answer of them all…that he didn’t know. That’s what I want to give to people. Most don’t know where their power comes from and if they do think they know, they don’t know how to access it. That’s the problem. What I want to be remembered for is that I was the one who showed them the way…how to gain the power and how to access it, and how to use it in a good way.”

(G) How do YOU access it?
(G) Yes.
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “You know, you are the first person to ever ask me that. Of all the 700, I was waiting for one of them to ask me that. In my mind, I have a workshop. In this workshop only me, and My Maker can enter this workshop. This workshop is covered with such light that no dark energy can enter it. In there is a passageway and I have the only way to get in. I become the Invisible Man and only I can enter this workshop. In there I have all the gifts I came into this world with. I know that my body has every chemical–better chemicals than any pharmacy in the world– everything needed to heal anything in my body. I’ve already proven it many times. In the workshop I also have all my gifts with labels and all my uniforms that I use, whether I go to war or whether I come to relax and so forth. In there I can create, rejuvenate or heal. When I come out of this workshop I stop. I use three different meditations. The CONCENTRAION, The POWER MEDITATION and the ACTION MEDITATION. The Concentration Meditation is how I get into the workshop. The Power Meditation is when I’m in my workshop, gathering up my power and my strength. When I come out of my workshop I go into the Action Meditation. That’s how I access my power. This is what I’ve been doing. People ask how I access it, I say I created a place where I know where to get my power. I can go into my workshop, grab a doorknob and within minutes I can come out with such power of understanding. If you’ve ever felt like a ten before, you know a ten feels so good; it feels like everything that comes out of your mouth is just so right on… Look at me, Rico Suave… I can access that same type of feeling within a matter of seconds just by going into my workshop. THIS is what I’d like to pass to the world.”

(G) Musashi said, ‘The way is in the training.’ As you are saying, “How you train is how you will develop your skills as a martial artist.”

(BENNY URIQUEZ) “It’s like anything else. It’s the internal understanding that is important. Physical training is an external thing. You kick. You punch. You stretch…you work on endurance. I believe 80% of success is mental. Only 20% is physical, but 99.99999% is also emotional. The moment you allow your emotions to enter into your 80% mental, you will start to get results you are not looking for. Or, you will be creating results that you ARE looking for… one or the other. For me, the internal part, the Bushido Way, is what most people are not getting in their training. The internal, meaning inside-out instead of outside in is the difference. I’ve been around this globe five times seeing how people train and right now, I see everybody concentrating on the external. I say, what about the internal? That’s where your power is. That’s where your strength comes from. That’s where your understanding comes from. The vision of your eyes can give you understanding. It’s where all your senses start to find balance. The yin and yang is about internal. I think that this is what’s happening with most martial artists. They are forgetting that balance. You need to go from one extreme to the other and then find a balance in it. So, that way you understand it. Most people are not trained that way, which is the sad part. “

(G) Tell me something about some of the great lessons you’ve gotten from some of your teachers.
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “You know, the greatest lessons I’ve been taught have not come from my teachers. They’ve been taught [to me] by my students. I’ll give you an example. One time, a lot of us were on the beach and I got a great lesson from this little kid, probably six or seven years old. You know, I don’t drink and I don’t smoke. It was hot, though. We were training. We all were taking a break and somebody handed me a beer. I didn’t even think about it. It was that hot. I started to drink some and it tasted pretty good, because it was cold. Suddenly, I felt eyes on me. I looked and saw this kid turn away and he was wiping the tears off his eyes. I hesitated for a second and then I looked at my beer and thought…ahhhhh. So, I didn’t hide it. I went right up to him and I said, ‘Are you OK? Are you upset that I’m drinking this beer?’ He kind of shook his head, yes. So, I told him, ‘you know I really don’t drink.’ I explained to him that it was hot, etc. and then he was O.K. with it, but, I realized that my students listen to me and watch me. So, I know that I came here as a teacher and throughout the years I realized you learn four ways. You learn to memorize. You learn to do it ‘til you know it. You learn to do it until you own it, when you don’t have to think about it anymore. Then, you learn to give it back. And, this little kid taught me something that I can give back. The lesson that I learned was internal. I recognized that even though I have a sense of humor sometimes, my students take every word seriously. Another time, I was joking with one of my students and made a casual comment. This kid did not sleep or eat for three days! He finally came up to me and asked if I was upset with him. I asked, ‘Why did you think that?’ He knew exactly what I said, what I was wearing, the time, what I said and how I said it and he repeated it to me. I said, ‘I was kidding!’ His face changed automatically. ‘Oh, my gosh! Did you know that I didn’t sleep or eat for three days? I thought you were serious!’ he said.’ So, now I recognize that words are powerful. I don’t use them plainly or just to talk. I’m very careful of what I say, because I like to have my words impeccable. Even I learn, constantly. Don’t get me wrong. I had some great teachers… Mr. Parker… but actually, I think my best teachers were my mother and my father. Although I’ve learned some great disciplines from some great masters, I think my father and my mother were my best teachers. “

(G) And, who have been some of your best students?
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “The good part was I had a lot of Black Belt brothers and sisters and we all worked with each other and for awhile we kind of beat each other up. I haven’t certified a lot of Black Belts myself. Over fifty years I have maybe twenty-eight Black Belts that came from my system. Most have been with me for thirty years or more. I have some great students, loyal, very loyal in the Bushido Way. If I trained my students today as I trained them back then, they probably would have sued me for mental and physical abuse. We can’t train the students of today the way we did back then, because the mentality of this generation is different, the way they think and feel. Not ALL but most seem to be… not timid, should I say… but it’s almost like they are thinking, ‘I’ll train, to a certain point and I’ll train mentally but that’s it.’ The generation of today is like, ‘I’ve got my Black Belt so I don’t need to train anymore,’ or they start off asking, ‘how long will it take me to get my Black Belt?’ I feel, if that is all you want then here… take the Black Belt! Now that you got it, then what? Now what are you going to do? Most will realize that they don’t want to get it like that. My students know they will get the Black Belt when they earn it. If that’s all you’re here for, then there went your journey. The journey in martial arts is to understanding what Shodan means. To get the Black Belt is the beginning to understanding your journey.”

(G) Not necessarily a martial artist, but if you could sit down with anyone in history, and just talk to them and pick their brain who would it be?
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “There is one his name is [Augusto] Pinochet that comes to mind. He isn’t someone who most people admire. In fact, most feel he was a scoundrel and I don’t really admire him as a person. He was a famous jungle fighter, and had brilliance about his thinking in guerilla warfare. This is an example of how you can be fascinated by some aspect of an individual, but not really like that person. He was ahead of his time, almost like Bruce Lee when it came to war and combat and I read a book about him a long time ago when fighting was the only thing on my mind. I got a chance to meet Bruce Lee in ‘65. I never understood him back then, but Bruce Lee was ahead of his time. So, this gentleman I’m speaking about, he was ahead of his time when it came to warfare. I teach the art of war… mental warfare, physical warfare, spiritual warfare, and character warfare. All carry energies that attack you and this is what Pinochet was about. If I had a chance to stand face to face and talk to him, I would really love to understand his thoughts on capturing the enemy. I say the enemy could be any type of energy. I’d like to know how he would approach this type of capturing? Would he physically stake it out and do whatever? Or would he mentally, go onto a spiritual pathway, shape-shifting his body into a different type of form? Shape-shifting he could be in the presence of his enemy, but in a different form that they would accept, like a dog or cat or…something that they would not be afraid of, but allow him to be in their presence. I would like to know how he feels about this concept and how he did it, because most warriors that are great at what they do also have this spiritual understanding, even the scoundrels. For myself, my soul takes flight when I fight. I’ll give you an example. My last flight I was fighting at the Mirage Hotel and [the opponent] was Tagami; in the first round, the bell rang I came out and I felt myself, my whole soul lifting up. I was actually looking down at me fighting Tagami from a high position. When the bell rang, at the end of the round, I sat down and I felt my soul come right back in me, right back down into this shell. I said ‘O.K. that’s good.’ So, I had a chance to see him from a different point of view. I thought, ‘if I can see through three different windows, looking with the same eyes, then I can have a better understanding… in the art of war, in the way I see things, how to defeat this man.’ I was in a stadium of sixty or seventy thousand people, yet I could hear my opponent’s heartbeat. The sound of everybody else was silenced, but I could still hear him breathing and so forth. It’s hard to explain, unless you’ve been there. Most athletes who are experiencing, what they call the mental edge, that state of mind that I’m talking about, would understand that… wow… that you can take your soul and travel to the opposite side of your enemy, see something that you couldn’t see in front of you. Then, you can bring your soul back and look through the windows of your own eyes and say… ‘There are his weaknesses that I could not see from where I was before, but now I can see them because I am seeing from more than one perspective.’ If I could talk to Pinochet, these are some of the things that I’d really, really like to ask his thoughts about. Did he travel like this and how did he capture his opponents?”

(G) O.K. and what one technique would you say would be most associated with you?
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “Everybody knows me for my jump spinning back kick. The reason for that is that I was the first one who was able to do such damage with it, and be so accurate with it, and not ever be afraid to turn my back. To this day, with this MMA fighting, everyone is afraid to turn their backs. If I was fighting in the MMA, in the cage today this is the first thing I would do, because everybody is afraid to do it. I would be the first to do it. Not that a lot of people aren’t throwing the jump spinning back kick, but they are not throwing it with such accuracy and such follow through. That’s what I’m known for, my jump spinning back kicks. To this day, I’m still doing ‘em.”

(G) So that will be the thing that you EXPECT people WILL remember you for? That would be the LEGEND?
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “Well, you know what? I think people will remember me as a teacher, not as a coach, not as a trainer, but as a teacher… because the fighting, it’s just something that I do. The teaching, I love. So, I’d like to be remembered as a teacher. I’ve always thought I was a better teacher than a fighter… to this day.”

(GR) So the thing that you WANT to be remembered for and the thing you EXPECT to be remembered for are the same? That’s a unique quality.
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “When it comes right down to it, I don’t want them to remember me for what I DID. I want them to remember me for who I AM. I came in as a teacher. I want to leave this world as a teacher. There are other things that I’d like to let you know about me. I LOVE sky diving, things that give me a natural rush, that I have no control over. When I’m jumping out of a plane–a perfectly good plane, many feet high–and I’m just free falling…between Heaven and Earth, man… that is such a great feeling. I love things like that, like bungy jumping, when it first came out. I don’t just like them because they are dangerous. Everything is dangerous, I love things that challenge my inner thoughts… things that most people normally wouldn’t do. Those are the kind of things that I love doing. I love motorcycle riding for instance. I love speed. That’s why they call me The Jet. I love speed. I love going fast; I love fast cars, fast motorcycles. I had a Harley Davidson, ’46 Knucklehead. It was so fast, but I was only 15 years old, and little. I had to jump off it and hang on at every stop light and wait for the light to turn green, before I could jump back on a go again. The bike was bigger than I was at the time. I’m not a glutton for punishment, but I like things that are challenging. I’m a stuntman and stunt coordinator, and in that business you have to be able to do things that most people would not want to do. I like doing what nobody wants to do. If I see others are reluctant, I say, ‘I’ll try it! Let me try it.’ There’s a blessing in everything that people don’t want to do. When people ask, ‘Who wants to be first?’ I’m not only raising my hand, but I’m already walking forward, because I want that blessing. I want to know what’s it’s like to be the first of emotions to know why we get to this point of nervousness. I want to know, on the inside what makes us fear based. I want to know what makes me move. These types of qualities make me The Jet, the person that I am.”

(G) Would you say you are happy?
BENNY URQUIDEZ) “I have to check off ‘All the above,’ the good, bad and the ugly. When it comes down to it, I can only tell you one thing… it’s great being me.”

(G) Have you ever been Unhappy?
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “I get sad for people that are not in a good place and are not very fortunate. I get sad for them. When I was young, we were taught that crying was weak and to show that kind of emotion was weak. Most boys were taught that. The problem with this is that it stopped us from showing emotions. We couldn’t express what we were feeling at the time. So we hid our feelings and when we became young men, we became FIXERS. We fixed things instead of understanding a woman, or a girl, because they are usually very emotional. We were taught that’s weak. I was taught, from a young age by my sisters and my mother, that it’s o.k. for men to cry and it wouldn’t be a show of weakness. So, when people ask me if I cry I say, ‘yeah I cry.’ I cry when I go see Bambi. The point I’m making is that it was never taken from me, the emotional part of life. I have a better relationship with the opposite sex because of that reason. I would be lying to you if I said that I understood women completely, but I have a better understanding than most men. I think that’s what makes me a good teacher… that I understand…”
(G) You have empathy?

(G) I teach writing at the college level. I have a website called Vision-Revision (www.vision-revision.pbwiki.com) where I tell my students that when I teach them writing, I’m teaching them Martial Arts Principles… what I call The Five Principles of Everything, and within this, I share my belief that words have power. Is there anything you’d like to finish with, along these lines?
(BENNY URQUIDEZ) “I want everyone to understand, when I open up my eyes… you want to call it prayer, you want to call it meditation… My eyes open up in the morning, my first words are THANK YOU. Thank you that I have another day to be with my loved ones, the people that I want to be around. I am grateful that I get a chance to be with people who I truly love. Therefore, I don’t take the day for granted. Second, I ask for the courage to do something that I couldn’t do yesterday. If it’s asking for forgiveness or giving forgiveness… so be it, but to have the courage to do it… today. Then, I ask for sight that I may see my gifts because if I ask for help and I can’t see it… if help comes my way and passes me that would be a tragedy. I ask for sight that I may see my gifts. When I ask for help, and it comes my way then I can receive the blessings, so that I can move forward. Most of all I want my words to be impeccable. I don’t talk, just to talk or hurt people with my words. I ask that I may use my words, in a wise way that I may make sense to people, in a way that might help them on their journey. That’s what I want you to think about… when you think about The Jet.”

(G) If I may share one last story about Benny Thunder and Iron Horse Urquidez. Many years ago I wrote a story about one of my first instructors titled Who is Johnny Atkinson, and why are people saying such great things about him? Johnny was one of many martial artists who live and die in anonymity. He was dying of liver cancer and I wanted to publish the article before he passed. Benny Urquidez sent word from Canada (where he was working on a film, I believe) and said he wanted to give me a quote to use in my article. He graciously said that “People call me The Jet, but that could have been Johnny’s nickname too.” Since being given this quote, I’ve always believed—as I heard everyone else say–that Benny was the classiest guy I’d ever met. This interview only confirmed my suspicions.

In my book, The Five Principles of Everything I write, “Instead of lamenting that we can no longer do the things we used to do, we should rejoice in what we now have that we did not have previously.” At this point in the interview, I turned off the camera and told Benny that I hoped he didn’t mind, but I couldn’t help myself. I let him know that I was about to do something that probably no other interviewer had ever done. I walked around the camera and I hugged Benny the Jet Urquidez.