He made Shodan in 1966.
“The thing I will never forget is when Sensei Kim asked us to bring our dictionaries to class and he made us look up and cross out two words, ‘TRY’ and ‘IMPOSSIBLE’. To this day, they are still crossed out of my dictionary.”
Leong was Sensei Kim’s constant companion and traveling sidekick. To see Sensei and not see Leong was, indeed, a rare occasion. It was through Leong that Sensei would teach many of his lessons and it was also through Leong that we all knew our place in line. A fellow merchant marine (Engine Department) Leong met Sensei in 1947 on a picket line. Sensei looked at him and said, “Go back to school kid.”
He continued training and traveling with Sensei Kim´s right up to the end. He became an international champion in open hand and weapons kata. When interviewed, all he could say was that he was the luckiest of us all, as it was he that Sensei would correct the most and it was because of this he changed his character.
On the 1st of January 2013, at the age of 89, Hanshi Robert Leong left us.