I’ll tell you that Larry was truly a God-send in my life. Because when I moved here at the age of 13, I was looking for a good martial arts school in this area, and I just wasn’t satisfied with the ones I had found, and I was praying to God that he would direct me to a good school. A few days later, God answered me when I was walking down the hall of my school, and a young man handed me a flyer about a martial arts school just opening in the Balls Creek area. Turns out, this was not even a mile from my house. But it seems God had more in mind for me, you see, I wanted martial arts but God wanted to give me a mentor that would help me and guide me for the next 26 years and beyond, because one of the things that Larry taught me was that there was more to martial arts than just kicking and punching, and if that was all I learned, I would be missing what it was really about.
I remember the first couple of classes I really had a chip on my shoulder because I thought I knew some really good stuff, and I thought I trained hard, it only took a few classes with Larry to realize that I really knew nothing, and that I had not trained as hard as I could. Larry had such a way of teaching that you could understand and see what he wanted you to do, and you knew he was the real deal. I can’t share everything I learned from Larry here today, for we would be here a decade. But I do want to share what I remember about traveling with Larry to other people’s schools and seminars, he would talk to me about God and his family and my family and he helped me work out a lot of things. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Larry loved his family and that he would do anything he could to see that they were happy and healthy, but most of all that they would know their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Somehow I feel I became a part of his family and there even once was a joking statement made on a phone call I made to Larry, and I think Cher answered the phone and said, “It’s your son.” At that time, my father and I weren’t getting along that well, and Larry had become like a 2nd father to me. I know that Larry loved God and knew his savior as well and that he is with his Lord today. For the Bible says in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 8, “To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.”
And also it says in Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 1, “We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses” and I know that Larry is a part of that great cloud and he is closer to us today than he has ever been. I will miss my sensei and my friend and a great loved one. But I’m sad mostly for those who did not have the opportunity to know him and learn from him. I can only hope that I would be half the instructor and half the man as Larry Beal.