joe lewis

The first time I met Joe Lewis was in 1985 at a sparring seminar he gave in Corona, California.

It turned out to be a great experience — even though he lambasted all traditional stylists (like me) who used formal stances (the horse stance, for example) in their training. His comments didn't bother me, however, because by then I'd learned to regard statements from martial artists with his impeccable credentials as constructive criticism. So I listened intently as he spoke, even though I never stopped doing those stances.

The next time I sat down face to face with Lewis came a decade and a half later. By that time, I was a regular writer for Black Belt, and I'd penned a few features about him after conducting telephone interviews. I had become a real fan — Lewis was a great champion, a smart fighter and a gifted teacher.

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