Remembering Sensei Bob Ozman

This post has nothing to do with the porn industry, but I’m including it in memory of someone who had meant a great deal to me in my earlier years.  It’s unfortunate that the longer you live, the more people you’ve known whose names you must affix with the word “late”.

I was sad to learn that Sensei Bob Ozman had died.  In 1965, I was one of his first students at his dojo in West Hollywood.  I was 19, an archetypical “angry young man.” Through karate discipline and zen meditation I mellowed out.  As a brown belt, I taught beginner’s classes at Bob’s dojos on Sunset and Van Nuys Boulevards .  To me, Sensei Ozman was not only a great instructor but also a mentor in dealing with life’s problems—something I desperately needed at that time.   Unfortunately, over the years, college, relocations and filmmaking duties took precedence over karate and I lost contact with Bob.  But I always looked back with fond memories of training with him.

Two Bob Ozman anecdotes:

He wanted to demonstrate to me the power of something I remember as a “chicken neck” or “back wrist,” in which you curl your palm inward and strike with the back of your wrist.  I didn’t think the technique was effective; Bob thought otherwise.  He had me hold a piece of wood about a foot square and three inches thick against a post.  Instead of the usual way of breaking—with the grain vertical—Bob wanted to try it AGAINST the grain (horizontal). With his powerful strike, the wood exploded into three pieces and my hands felt like they’d been shocked.  Point proven!

Second anecdote: Bob related this incident to me right after it had happened.   Gave me quite a chuckle. At the time, Bob drove a Triumph TR-3 sports car. The seat was low and from outside the car all you could see was Bob’s head.  For a big guy, Bob had rather small facial features, and other drivers might conclude he was a small man.  Somehow, while driving, Bob incurred the wrath of a bully in a big sedan.  This clown started cutting Bob off and playing dangerous games of car-fu.  Deciding he’d rather confront the idiot hand-to-hand instead of bumper-to-bumper, Bob pulled off the road and parked. The bully pulled up right behind him, got out and headed for the Triumph.  Imagine the guy’s surprise when out of this tiny sports car unfolded six-plus feet of solid muscle—imposing even without karate.  The bully ran back to his car, hopped in and slammed the door.  Before he could take off, Bob unleashed a kiai (karate yell) and a fist to the side widow.  The safety glass broke into a crazy spider-web.  The bully’s car shot backward, then peeled off down the road.  Hopefully, in the future, this jerk would think twice before choosing his next victim.

Farewell to a great karateka. RIP Sensei Bob Ozman.