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Remembering Terry Gibson
Remembering Terry Gibson March 28, 1953 - September 26, 1997 by Mrs. Terry Gibson
On September 26, 1997 the martial arts world lost one of the finest men they ever knew. Terry Gibson, who had been battling a brain tumor for 12 years, passed away at 2:50 p.m. that day.
Terry was an inspiration to us, as a martial artist and a person. Martial arts were his passion and in 1986 he did what few people have the guts to do. He gave up his law practice of 7 years; with it’s monetary advantages and prestige, to follow his dreams and opened his first, full time martial arts academy. As many of Terry’s friends knew, Terry suffered from seizures. Although these bouts left him tired, weak and sometimes disoriented, he would pick himself up and continue as best he could. I cannot count the times he would be teaching class and would have to leave the floor to have a seizure, sometimes 2 or 3 a night, just to return to his class 5 or 10 minutes later to finish it up.
Terry told one of his students once that because of the effects from the cancer he would never be able to be the best fighter but he wanted to be the best instructor that he could be. I believe that anyone who was lucky enough to train under Terry realized the amount of effort he put into perfecting his teaching skills. But even more than teaching, Terry loved to train. He had a thirst for knowledge that few of us can understand, it was all consuming. For that reason, Terry took several trips a year to Los Angeles, CA. to train with his instructors, Guro Dan Inosanto, Ajarn Chai Sirisute and Pak Herman Suwanda. When his instructors were giving seminars within driving distance from his home in Tulsa, Terry would make the trip to see them and even traveled to Indonesia to participate in training camp with Pak Herman. Terry kept up his training through seizures and 2 years of chemotherapy, he was totally dedicated and it showed in his many accomplishments and certifications. He was a Full Instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts and Jun Fun Gung Fu under Guro Dan Inosanto. He had his beginning certificate under Ajarn Chai Sirisute and was the director for the South Central Region in the Thai Boxing Association of the USA. He had recently acquired his teaching certificate under Pak Herman Suwanda in Mande Muda Pencak Silat.
Those of us who were lucky enough to call Terry our friend know what an exceptional person he was. Always open, willing to make new friends and the first person to give you a big hug. Terry will be greatly missed in a world where he stood for the things he believed in, the things we all want to believe in. Loyalty, honesty, friendship, hard work, being true to yourself, kindness, generosity and love. Terry is survived by his wife Kathy, his parents Harold and Ruth Gibson, 1 brother, 3 sisters and many aunts, uncles, nephews, and friends. He will be sadly missed by all.
“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them...It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”—Ernest Hemingway - A Farewell to Arms
Ajarn Chai takes a break between training sessions at the Oregon Camp to go hiking with some of his senior students, (from left): Rob Kelley, Dickie Harrell, Ajarn Chai, Terry Gibson, Greg Nelson