Karate sensei Reese Rigby began his martial arts training in 1969 as a way to fill the void of what would have been a wrestling scholarship for Lycoming College coming out of Caesar Rodney High School.
His mother left via a divorce and, to make a long story short, that put a damper on his college plans, Rigby said. But he decided to pursue another course that would bring him fulfillment. Namely, he saw a karate class advertised in the local YMCA and started training for the next two years.
That led him to more instruction in Salisbury, Md. and, by 1973, Rigby had opened his own dojo.
“We were one of the first karate schools in Dover,” Rigby said.
Almost 40 years later, Rigby and his wife, Judy, oversee the education of 250 karate students at Rigby’s Karate Academy just off South Little Creek Road as well as 50 tai chi and 50 kickboxing students.
But, last year Rigby felt the need to take pause and write a book about all those years of learning and perfecting the Japanese martial art of karate.
He sat down around Thanksgiving in 2011 and worked on his karate book for the next year. This autumn, he published “They Call Me Sensei” through Authorhouse.
“They Call Me Sensei” is about his journey into the one-heart way, Rigby said. “Our style of karate is called Isshin-ryu, which means one heart method,” he said. “It comes from Okinawa, Japan.”
The book is an autobiography of Rigby’s 39 years of teaching and it contains information about the unique karate style he teaches and his thoughts on how it should be taught.
“I wanted to leave my students and family something, not that I’m retiring soon,” he said. “I love what I’m doing too much.”
To sum up his view on karate’s power, Rigby said “it is there if you need it.”
“Karate is a self defense and that’s the key word there, self defense,” he said. “Now, once we start our self defense we can get rather aggressive but it’s to defend yourself, bottom line.
“In karate, there is perfection of character. We want people with good attitudes more than athletic abilities. We can make them into karate people if they have the right attitudes.”
IF YOU GO
WHO Author Reese Rigby
WHAT "They Call Me Sensei" book signing. "They Call Me Sensei" is now available at www.authorhouse.com, amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
Page 2 of 2 - WHEN 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday
WHERE Rigby's Karate Academy, Tudor Industrial Park, 560 Otis Drive, Dover (just off South Little Creek Drive)