Monday, February 26, 2007

My first sensei, Gregory Jaco Transitioned today.

I was trying to call my old sensei, Gregory Jaco the past three weeks, I called his ex-wife and found out he was in the hospital again. He was in a coma last week. This morning I got a call and she told me he passed early this morning.

Jaco is a good part of my youth. I met him through Clarence and Marshall Jordan who had moved to Maywood from Henry Horner projects. Jaco was not always present but he was an impactful presence at every meeting. We went to war together in Maywood one night against some guys who thought being Explorer. Scouts was funny. Nobody touched Jaco, he was a compact muscular dude, soft spoken, he looked dangerous when he wanted to. I would say we turned the place out if my ego would let me. Unfortunately, a young woman was badly injured by one of the bottles thrown by the Maywood ruffians. They all ran. we emptied the joint. These days we would have been shot most likely. I am kind of surprised we did not that night.

Jaco went into the military and came out to embrace Islam and to reclaim his heritage. I was surprised to learn that he had formed his children into an African percussion group. His son, Wasalu has gone on to become Lupe Fiasco.

Last time Jaco and I talked, he was complaining that he was not speaking to Wasalu. Signature Jaco. Wasalu was obviously trying to get Jaco to do something Jaco did not want to do. Wasalu is an observant Muslim and tries to reflect the influence of his father from what I have observed in his music. Jaco has two beautiful daughters as well, late additions to the family. Really smart young women. He wanted to raise them, even as sick as he knew he was. Illness did not make him any less bullheaded.

My son Djibril got to meet Jaco when I went out to interview him in Kankakee about Count Dante. We talked about Robert Tobias also. Robert was with us the night of our "Explorer War." Robert was studying with Dante as well. Jaco did not mind, Robert was always bringing something back new to pass on.

Gregory Jaco will have an Islamic Funeral. It will be held at the Mosque Foundation of Chicago, 7260 W 93rd St - (708) 430-3832. Viewing is at 9:00 am to 12:00 am. The Prayer will be from 12 to 1:00pm and from there the congregation will go to the cemetary.

You get to thinking about those times. Impermanence. How quickly it all happens. How quickly it comes to pass. As is usual with iconoclastic guys like Jaco, he continued to be controversial, bold and audacious, he was married again twice in the last 6 months. Don't ask me to explain. It is just signature Jaco.

I am still in shock. I was hoping he would pull through. Last year the doctors gave him until May of 2006 or something. He was a warrior. This last time he gave orders not be resuscitated. Jaco was one of my life's teachers. He gave me good and bad advice at times. Oh well. We loved him in all his bullheadedness, kindness and madness. I got stories about him and his federal gun license as well. My life has been full of wonderful characters.

My generation is transitioning, as is the natural order of things. There is loss nonetheless. I don't know how to talk about this yet. I will put up some of his video interview this week.


Rudy Wellsand said...

Interesting Site!

I got onto it because I see that you're a 'Chicago' guy! You told us that Jaco services are out west on 93rd street. I remember going to the Beverly Theater on 95th street! I lived out around 111th street and Longwood Drive, before I joined the Army (seems like 100 years ago already). Where DOES the time go? Sorry about your Muslim friend, Jaco.

Along those lines about how your 'faith' matters, you may be interested in the following...


See the "CHOSEN"Code and "COLOR"Code; VISIT: !

Save or Print it to study.


Anonymous said...

My name is Harry Parker, My nick name was PG when I began training with Jaco back in 1973. That is when he use to live on 79th and Vincennes in Chicago. I am grateful for the opportunity to have reunited with him before his passing, thanks to Floyd. We shared pictures and moments that I will cherish. Jaco's spirit continues to live in many of the lives he has touched. Oos to a warrior from his student Sensei Harry Parker (PG)

Anonymous said...

Hello this is one of Sensei Jaco's students or might as well say son. Elijah aka T-BONE I've been seriously trying to get in contact with Sensei. Now I'm too late. Sensei took me in as a son and raised me. He was, is, and always will be my father. Wasalu I hear is doing good I miss him too, as well as I miss being around afrika, Aesha, Sensei Fred, Ricardo, well to sum it up the whole karate school. So if anyone can help me out so I can pay my respects please don't hesitate to call me. (623) 399-2338, (623) 455-1010, or (623) 847-4210.

Anonymous said...

Gregory Jaco taught my father, Centenius Billingslea karate. It was strange to find out i listen to his son's music.

Anonymous said...

hi i'm so sorry for the lost of master jaco when i was 14-16 he use to come to my masters school sensi charles harris my name is mike they called me hurricane mike also know as swift kick master jaco use to bring his students to are dojo an we would all fight master jaco would shoot arrows at us an we would run but if anyone can help me out i would like to find some of his students or sensi charles harris of fontane my number is 773(503-9405)i'm know 36 years old an i still can fight.Once a hurricane an tornado always a hurricane an tornado!

Von Merhan said...

my name is sensei jevon trotter and im a student of tanaka sensei jaco,write now i am a instuctor with akari sensei fred jordan,i've noticed a lot of people were looking for past tornado students,we are still here carrying on with the traditions of sensei jaco, mu gi mushin ! you can find most of the old students by contacting sensei fred @

fred said...

Continuing the lagacy! Professor Gregory Jaco founder of Tornado school of martial arts and the Four Wind System provided leadership by example and left no rock unturned in search of true freedom. In Tanaka Sensei memeory, Torndao Univ Martial Arts Science continues his lagacy. As one of the largest institutes in the Midwest, Torando Univ provides diverse teachings of the Four Wind System. Akari Sensei Fred Jordan leads the efforts in providing human development and health education though martial arts science.
My Sensei Jaco and the CREATOR Of ALL be pleased with our efforts!
Mugi Mu Shin!

Tornado Univ Martial Arts Science
3065 E 93rd street
Chicago IL,

Gi zelop said...

So sorry to hear he passed away, we served in the military in FT.Devens,Mass , I wanted to visit him and also Earl Wislon, Wasalu, Sensei Dennis Perdue and his wife Maxin who both taught aikido at the YWCA in south Chicago. I lived with Jaco at 79th & Vincennes for a while and attended Kennedy-King Jr. college back in the day. He was a good friend and a good karate
instructor, I hate it when he'd tell me to fight with him in class, but he had a kind heart. My name is gil lopez, I will miss him.