The Passing of Rod Oka

Rodtg2Rod Oka, long time student here at the Academy, passed away on the third of this month. He had been fighting pancreatic cancer for about a year.

During his time with us he had studied Shaolin and Tai Rodtg1Chi. In both arts he brought a combination of martial spirit and good humored comradeship. He literally raised the spirit of a class just by attending. While training to refine his martial skills, he was a long-time master of puns, funny ideas and questions about how much damage could be done to students Rodtg4other than himself.

Rod was fearless in volunteering his fellows to improve the classes overall knowledge. Many times he would suggest, “Could you show that arm wrench on Harvey (or Robert, or whomever). Being of Japanese ancestry he preferred to be known as “The Craw”, somewhat confusing since Rob spoke perfect English as his first language.RO1

Rod was one of those people who evinces kindness, concern that is as immediate and pure as mountain water. His air of respect for the art, his fellow students and himself was a constant addition to our community.

Speaking for myself, Rod Oka was the kind of student that makes a teacher want to go to class.

I won’t say he will be missed because I think he will be with this school, always.

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2 Responses to The Passing of Rod Oka

  1. Helen Lancaster says:

    Ted, you said it so beautifully. I taught Rod French for many years and he was the perfect student… kind , curious, and engaged. Wonderful to see pictures of him doing what he loved. Thank you.
    Helen Lancaster

  2. Stuart Wright, N.D. says:

    While I never knew that Rod was a student of the Martial Arts I did know him as one of the handful of teachers with which I have been blessed in my entire life. I have not spoken with Rod since the late ’90’s when I studied Chemistry with him….And I have thought of him often, laughed at his humor and never forgotten him. I will always love Rod.

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