Friday, February 03, 2006
The Morning Weeps for Kenny
Today is the funeral for Ken Knudson. At 7:00 am it is cold, dark and rainy here in Oak Park. I went to the Laundry to pick up some clothes and got into a conversation with the lady there. SHe was telling me I certainly wore a lot of black. It is usual my bland artitst/dramatic look but today it was for a funeral I told her. She said "The morning must be weeping for your friend."
I talked to Jimmy Jones this morning to and gave him directions. He is driving from the south Chicago suburbs. When Kenny decided tobecome a championship fighter, he asked around about who was the toughest Karate competitior around at that time. Everyone said Jimmy Jones, one of the first students of John Keehan. Kenny would make his was from the Northwest side and workout with Jimmy's class. The films of him and Joe Lewis show what kind of exacting technician he was as a fighter. Martial Arts back then was not knockdown drag-out ultimate fighting. It was strategic, athletic and graceful. Jimmy learned form Keehan whom he said taught him to be a great martial artist AND a great teacher.
Bob Wall called me last night and made me laugh. First things he says is "Why is it always good guys like Ken Knudson who have to go so fast and not assholes like "????????" I duly told Bob that is not nice and he said "I am not nice!" I am learning that Bob can be as cold as he can be kind.
Before he got into the movies and became the most evil man in the world for causing the death of Bruce Lee's sister, Bob Wall was a competitor back in the early days of American karate. Bob Wall is sometimes referred to as "Bruce Lee's favorite white Boy." Bob shows a real concern for the martial artists he came up with back in the day. He founded World Black Belt.com. He addesses issues of business, offers insurance and health plans and provides some other interesting services. He is another person who has been very helpful, encouraging and supportive of my film. I have never met him before. We have only talked on the phone.
I went over my interview with Kenny Wednesday night. What a rich interview. You see him, Kenny Knudson, doing what he does best. in his Hawaiiam shirt, relaxed and lucid. If you really knew the guy this would probably be painful to watch. He is so relaxed talking about martial arts, he loved those memories.
It has stopped raining, now a little lighter outside. Outside my window hiss of rubber on ashphalt seems to be diminishing. Maybe it will clear by afternoon, when I make my way out to the cemetary.