Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'Beginnings'


Michael Parry was a journalist with the Daily News 'back in the day'. He wrote the following in a memo:
Now I am writing a book about Jan de Jong and the philosophy of jujutsu and I want to be sure I DO NOT miss any stories to do with Shihan de Jong. This is where you can help. Think of any dealings that you have had with him and whether there is a story to be told. You may think it is a bit of a non-event, ... but I may find it fits into the overall picture I am drawing. Alternatively I would like to hear how jujutsu has affected your life, your attitude, your general day to day living. I want contributions big and small. How have you benefited from jujutsu? How has Jan de Jong influenced your life? Perhaps your few sentences will add up to much more when added to another's view of things. I would like to hear from ANYONE who feels there is a story to be told. Please contact me ... evenings or, if you like, at the Daily News ... or by writing to the address above. I look forward to hearing from you. Or we could meet: ... Don't let me miss out on your favourite Jan de Jong story.

Jan de Jong endorsed Parry's work with a hand written note saying he didn't like talking about himself and requesting help.

What ever happened to Micheal Parry? What ever happened to this project? Did he get some stories? This is one of the first questions that Tony Chiffings brought up when we began corresponding based on my interest in the story of the school of Jan de Jong. I never knew of this project. It was before my time, and, unfortunately, there was not a real sense of history about the school. Not until now that is.

If anyone can help in locating Michael Parry, I'd appreciate it. And like Michael Parry, if anyone would like to share their stories with me to possibly include in the Jan de Jong story that is this blog, again I and my readers would appreciate it.

One thing that Michael Parry wrote is echoed in a recent meeting over a coffee with another former instructor of De Jong's, Peter Canavan. This meeting was where Peter gave me two shopping bags full of documents from the past related to De Jong's school and which I am currently mining and analysing. One of these documents is Parry's memo and the draft of the first chapter of his book on De Jong. I'll share extracts from this chapter in later blogs. But one of the very first things that Peter said to me at our meeting was about how many lives De Jong had affected. It is true. I recall having an interview for a job at one of the top stockbroking firms in Perth, and the managing director told me he'd attended the school for a time when he found out I was an instructor there. I didn't get the job so I'm not sure if De Jong's influence was a positive or negative in that situation.

Well, first mission for my readers - find Michael Parry. Secondly, feel free to share stories with me for inclusion in the unofficial history of the school of Jan de Jong. The next blog will begin to share his draft first chapter.

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