By Herb Borkland
Multi-talented soke Scot Conway is also an attorney-at-law and real estate broker, pastor, prolific science-fantasy author, keynote speaker and organizational trainer, and producer of audio-training programs. Conway’s multi-arts background includes judo, Chinese kempo chuan shu, Grandmaster Sam Kuoha’s kara ho system, and kajukenbo. All of these led to Conway synthesizing his own kempo-based Guardian Martial Arts.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Scot Conway: I was born in Hawaii and grew up in California. My Coast Guard dad retired and went on to become a Jaguar dealer.
HB: How did you first hear about martial arts?
SC: I started training in 1971 as a first grader, when I walked into a YMCA judo class holding my mother’s hand. Lots of bloody noses! I went on to snake and crane kung-fu, tai chi and many others. You see, I had ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] and dyslexia. But martial arts taught me a way to harness my scattered mind, to see the world differently. The end result is a lot of personal accomplishments, but there are common principles found in them all which bind my endeavors together.
HB: Turning point?
SC: The long-term use of the arts to order and energize my mind finally led to the creation of our kempo-based Guardian Martial Arts Dojo. Yes, I was crazy enough to do it, but only after Royler Gracie whipped me effortlessly twice (laughter), proving a complete martial art requires a good ground game.
Studying many systems leads to an understanding of what elements do not change from one art to another. I earned my first black belt from kempo Grandmaster Sam Kuoha, direct inheritor of Professor William Kwai Sun Chow’s kara-ho style.
At one time, I sat on their National Board and was named Regional Director for the Western United States. But Grandmaster Kuoha and I had a falling out over competing definitions of honor. I also have a 6th dan in Chinese kempo chuan shu from Professor Generalao, and a 7th dan in kajukenbo also from the professor.
Meanwhile, I kept busy earning my college degrees and a PhD, practicing law and doing real estate. I kept running into a very interesting truth: the common threads from martial arts also run through the law and business.
Eighty percent of the problems were at the human level. If people could act like we did in the dojo, ten problems were solved! The trick was to talk as human-to-human rather than fighting. The essence of business and the practice of law is: Can we settle the matter? It’s the same as martial arts, but instead of a physical stake, we seek an economic or legal outcome.
When it comes to handling issues, I take a logical stand, diplomatically: “I have a point; you may have a point. Let’s discuss this.” That comes directly from martial arts and, especially, from MAIA’s (Martial Arts Industry Association’s) SuperShow. I do the same thing in politics and religion. No right or wrong. I just want to understand your point, and, if we can dialogue, we both win.
SC: Taking the organizing principles and philosophy of Guardian kempo into the world at large by giving speeches and holding seminars. I want to see generational continuity.
Herb Borkland can be reached at [email protected]
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