I began training with Mike in 1976, and trained with him for about 18 months. I attained a good foundation in his art, "NOVA", as he liked to call it. Mike believed that one should be able to first SURVIVE an initial attack...partly because he was already trained in attack himself, after having begun with Bruce Lee when he was 13, or thereabouts. When he wasn't training with Bruce Lee, he was training with Jesse Glover, his half-brother. Mike assisted Jesse in training quite a tough early group. He was often pushed by that older group, as the link with reality which drove matters in the early school, was important to many. He had to learn to deal with full grown, tough guys, from an early age. He did so.
Like Bruce Lee, Mike saw that the key was training far beyond what others were willing to subject themselves to. He ran 20-30 miles per day, for YEARS. His NOVA was based on the ability to first. "Close the hole" one makes, when attacking, in order to survive...by touch. He could not outdo Jesse in close range, as Jesse is quite "rooted", and far more experienced at that situation, so he introduced a form of "mobility" based on his running, and other abilities he generated from long study, and VERY hard work. But he could also apply force from a close range..he could, with a flick of his wrist, while moving, send me completely airborn. I weigh 225.
He was driven, and invented equiptment noone has seen, or heard of. He built some to train on, to get stronger, and other to train his "sensitivity" to force and motion. His art was based on inventing a two man training set out of wing-chun forms. It compliments Jesse's training nicely, and that is how I have used it now, these many years. One thing to remmber is that Mike could already DO Jesse's art, as it was in 1976. That means he could already spontaneously "fill the hole", wherever it might be. This is a key that many of Mike's early students didn't grasp. One of his students, Sverre Thorbenson, trains with me to this day, and he has come to understand that situation.
There are many stories about Mike, involving many who came to Seattle to visit...from top ranked boxers, to heads of international martial art schools. Mike wasn't there for talk. He would challenge those who questioned parts of his activity to FIGHT, HERE and NOW! You could train with Mike, and for that I felt fortunate. But, one must remember that his abilties came from Bruce Lee and Jesse's incredibly sound foundations. Most don't understand "touch" based systems. These are the systems which allow a practitioner to proceed blindfolded, when in contact. Since ALL conflict involves force, he also practiced with extreme force. This might mean, as his close and dear friend Ed Hart used to say, that on one end, the art plugs right into grappling, and on the other, right into striking. Also, it should be noted that all conflict ends up close range. Mike had several "philosophies" he developed, dealing with all this.
He was concerned only with FUNCTION. He intended to apply it through extreme relationship with the opponent. Mike was stronger than anyone I have ever met, and aerobically trained, as well as weight trained. He was as funny as Whoopi Goldberg, whom he resembles when smiling, with that "it's a little too close to reality, isn't it...?" wit. He was an enigma, and some of us have wondered if he ever was truly, happy...that is the double edged sword of being a "fanatic" about conflict. I have come to appreciate Jesse's perspective in such matters, that life should be lived in balance. Still, the training that Mike generated serves all in example.
IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT THAT YOU ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF A SIX FOOT EIGHT, 300 POUND GARGOYLE WHO IS BENT ON YOUR DESTRUCTION..WHAT IS TRULY GROTESQUE ABOUT THE SITUATION IS NOT THE PROJECTION OF THIS IMAGE, BUT YOUR LACK OF TRUE RELATIONSHIP TO BASIC FIGHTING SKILL. NOW..NOT LATER..BUT NOW. THIS ANIMAL HAS BUT ONE THOUGHT AND PURPOSE: YOUR DESTRUCTION. THERE ARE NO RULES TO PROTECT YOU, NO ONE TO HELP YOU, AND ALL SOCIAL BARRIERS HAVE BEEN REMOVED. YOU ARE ALONE, YOUR ASS HAS BEEN PLACED IN LIMBO, AND THE NEXT MOVE "MAY" BE YOUR LAST, THAT IS IF YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE IT..YOU MEAN YOU HAVN'T MOVED YET? WELL! HE MOVES FIRST LIKE A SPRINTER OFF THE BLOCKS, YOU LOOK UP AND SEE A FULLBACKS UP-LIFTING CHARGE, YOU BLINK AND THE FORCE AND WEIGHT OF A SUMO WRESTLER IS ALMOST ON YOU, LESS THAN A YARD AWAY NOW, YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO BLINK OR THINK. NO STANCE OR FORMS WILL HELP YOU, 6 OF YOUR BEST PUNCHES WILL NOT DO, YOUR SLOW HIGH "FLICK" KICKS WITH NO POWER ARE USELESS, YOUR ASS IS ABOUT TO LOOK LIKE THE SAME GRASS THAT HE HAS JUST COVERED, TRAMPLED AND FLAT..NOW DO SOMETHING. TOO LATE YOU ARE DEAD. YOU ARE LUCKY HOWEVER BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY YOUR IMAGINATION AND MY REALITY