A Real Man

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In today’s time, we don’t see much use for a black belt, or any self-defense training. We usually
think if we have a gun, we’re on top, or no one will hurt us during the day, or I live in a safe town, I won’t
get attacked. Most of the time we would be right, but in life there are always exceptions. When I was
little, there were many times that I didn’t want to go to my mom’s house, because of Paul. Paul was my
mom’s boyfriend for about ten years. For ten years it was like walking on eggshells. You never knew
what mood he would be in, and half the time you didn’t want to find out. Paul by nature exists as an
irrational being. He could be happy one minute, and it would take only one little thing to set him off a
tornado of rage. When he was mad, he was mad things bad for everyone. He called my mom names that I
shouldn’t have heard at my young age, and he called me and my brother mistakes that never should have
happened. Sometimes he was to mad or drunk to use words, so he resorted to using his fists That was the
worst part of it all. Paul was no small man. He was in the Army Rangers for eight years. There he was
trained how to subdue a man using only one hand. In addition to this he was an extreme athlete. He was
far stronger than most men of his build, and he knew it. But nothing could change the fact that he was a
coward. He prayed on one woman and her two small sons for five years. Until they weren’t
so small anymore. Then he just resorted to beating on her while they weren’t around.

This is why I started taking martial arts classes. This had to stop, and I knew that at the time my mom
wasn’t strong enough to be the one do it. In the process of working my way to being a black belt I learned
much about being a man, and about honor. None of which Paul knew about.

Now I’ve only known a few real men in my whole life. My dad and my Master Alexander, are two of
them. My dad remains one of the greatest men I know, even though he led a rough life when he was
young. When he was a little older than me, he became a father. His first daughter Elizabeth was born in
1977. My dad was only 19 at the time, and all his life he had known nothing but violence. His step
brothers and father had all be in the Vietnam war, and were all mentally unstable. He had to live with the
torment of P.T.S.D, or post-traumatic stress disorder. His torment involved being stabbed in the foot by
his brother, while he was in a drunken rage. Being shot at by his other brother, because he thought that he
was an N.V.A soldier. In short, my dad’s childhood was no walk in the park. At a young age my dad
learned how to survive on the streets. He learned a life of petty crime through coning people and illegal
gambling. Because of this he wasn’t the best young father you could imagine. He was physically and
verbally abusive to his first wife, and after only a year of marriage he deserted her and my older sister. He
latter married my other sisters mom and they had her in 1984 (ten years before I was born). After five
years together my dad and his then wife divorced. He was tired of the battles and everything that came
with it. He stopped drinking and started going back to school to become a general contractor. He latter
started his own business, and became very successful. Me and my brother were born in 1994 . This is
what really changed my dad. He gave up everything for me and my brother. He has never laid a hand on
me, or raised his voice in anger. He has always been there. I never told my dad about Paul’s beatings,
because I know he would feel that he had failed in protecting me and my brother, and I never want him to
feel that. I already know the remorse he holds for never being in my sister’s life, and the way he was
when he was young. Now at the ripe old age of fifty two however he has become an amazing person. He
is a real man, to have come out of that situation.

The other man, Master Alexander passed away about two years ago. He was running the torch for the
special Olympics, when he collapsed and had a heart attack. He was an Olympic Ice skater, a 4th degree
black belt in three martial arts and he served in the Marines for twenty five years. He was probably the
greatest man I ever knew. He was a real man, who knew how lead people without having to yell at them.
His presence alone, made people listen. He was kind and gentle to all. It was easy to see in his deep blue
eyes, with wrinkles around them, that you could tell were from smiling , and hear in his soft voice, that
had a tone of satisfactions, coming from a long life of happiness. He had a wife and daughter, but many
other kids considered him to be like a dad to them. I was defiantly one of them. He taught me how to be a
real man, with honor, respect and kindness.

It was hard learning said things, with all the bad influences in my life, and the pressure to be more like
other kids my age. It was especially hard when I had a step dad like Paul and friends like the ones I had at
the time. I would say it was far easier to make bad decisions, with them around. Then it was to make the
right ones. Master Alexander taught me how to change and that I owe my life to. I would be in a bad
place, both morally, emotionally and self-esteem wise, if it weren’t for him.

So what is a real man? To me a real man is someone soft spoken, kind, thoughtful, understanding, moral,
gentle and strong for others around him. Am I quite there yet? No, but I’m on the right path I’d like to
think.





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