Fair winds and following seas

It is with a heavy heart that I pass on news of the passing of an IKS black belt. Shihan Robert "Bob" Epstein held black belts in multiple styles, but is best known to us for his work with Enshudo in the early days of O-Sensei's art.

Shihan Epstein, was a good man, and a solid, highly skilled, technical black belt. He often worked with both Kyoshi Burpee and myself throughout the 1990s in Enshudo. Classes with him were always full of exciting new techniques which he brought to the dojo from his extensive travels. Before even Enshudo came to be, he worked with Kyoshi Susalka in the IKS on Main St. in Nashua in the 1980s.

Working out with him was always a challenging session, but his sense of humor and skill ensured any class we took together was memorable. He brought a wealth of "old school" experience to Kenpo and Enshudo alike. Despite being precocious teenagers, he was always happy to spend time working with all of us, and did it with a smile. He was a tireless advocate for the school, and brought many new students into the fold throughout the years, including students who went on to become top black belts and Uchi-Deshi.

Shihan Epstein also served his country in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. We are thankful for his service to our country and his influence on our dojo and culture. I've attached an image of Shihan Epstein and myself. The picture is grainy, but it was taken in 1994 as we worked with O-Sensei while developing the curriculum for Enshudo Jujustsu that we still train on today. I can clearly hear his laugh mixing with O-Sensei's as though I were once again 15 years old, learning various escapes and counters early on a Saturday morning in the dojo.

We are better for having known him. He leaves behind a generation of black belts who remember him fondly as well as a wonderful family full of children and grandchildren. Fair winds and following seas Bob, you will be missed.

Hanshi Marsh