Practicing Baguazhang in Beijing: John with Master Liu Xinghan (1988)
"Stories from the Path" Weird Stories and Collection of Anecdotes by John Bracy
Almost ten years ago, George Drasnar (Jiri Drasnar) acclaimed Czech writer, martial arts master, and my friend, passed away. A few years ago, one of his friends and martial art student from the Czech Republic asked me to contribute to a website he was forming to commemorate George’s life by sharing a story or anecdote about the man. This is what I wrote.
George trained with me for several years in the late 90s / early 2000s. He was a true master of martial arts in his own right, and I also learned a lot from him. I was also privileged to call him a friend and we enjoyed too many tall glasses of top quality vodka together.
I was asked to share a story about George and this one immediately came to mind.
Around early 2003 George met me at a doctor’s office in Los Angeles for private training. I was was treating patients at the office and that location was much closer than my studio in Orange County which, depending on traffic, could be much more than an hour away.
The events after one session with George left an indelible impression. At the start of our session George had promised to buy me a tea at the Starbuck’s across the street from the office. But he forgot. When we walked out of the building and were about to go separate ways, I teased George a bit. “Oh, you were going to buy me a tea!” I joked.
He answered, “Let’s go now.”
I answered back in a teasing way, “I don’t want it now.”
But, he insisted. “No, let’s go.”
I answered back, “No, forget it.” and I playfully pushed him away.
What happened next was one of the most memorable martial art moments in my life.
As I pushed at George, he somehow, without my awareness that it was happening,
got my arm in a kind of joint lock that is called a “come along hold.”
I was trapped! And I didn’t even feel it was happening!
So, here we are at a busy street intersection in the west side of Los Angeles. The light to cross had changed to green, and Master George walked me across the street in front of all the stopped cars. It was embarrassing but I was laughing at the same time. I wondered what all those people in the cars must be thinking as I was walked past them totally under the control of George and his aki-jutsu.
However, the most amazing thing was that I didn’t feel him put the joint lock on me. I’m really good at joint locks and have taught all sorts of them for decades. How was it possible that I didn’t feel him putting it on me? The lightest touch with total control. Now, that is true mastery!
I was privileged to have George in my life for those years. He is still missed. I am grateful for the support and friendship he offered during difficult times. Maybe I am imagining it, but sometimes I still feel he is around and offering advice. Wherever he is, I am sure he is still practicing martial arts.