The Basement Days

Person: Charles Graham

The Basement Days

I started my training with Grandmaster Graham in 1979 after the Warriors Institute (located at the Browns Mills F.D.) had closed down. I was 9 years old and met him when he was teaching at my grade school (Denbo School). I immediately felt that this is where I wanted to be. After a short time attending his class at the school, he invited me to begin training at his house on Phillips Ave.

The basement days were the absolute best. My fondest memories are training during those times. The basement was packed with students and it was the real deal training. Very often, we would be visited by black belt instructors who were either students of his or friends from other organizations. This included the Wade brothers, Herman Moore, Jeffrey Whitehead, Roy O. Donald, Stanley Heath Jr., Jeffrey Jakubikki, and many others. Again, this was the best of times.

On Saturday, February 19, 1983, I was promoted to 1st Dan Black Belt under Grandmaster Graham. Testing occurred in the basement. There were four of us: two from Connecticut (Stanley Heath Jr. students), Chris Andrews and myself (Ray Thomann). The certification board was a who's who of the time. The Wade Brothers, Beth Ann Nick, Jeff Jakubikki, Roy Donald, Jeffrey Whitehead, Herman Moore, Bruce Chapman, and others.

Just thought I would share.

Sources: Ray Thomann