Rudy Timmerman believes in giving back.
Well-known for his years of involvement in martial arts, he is a ninth degree black belt and Grandmaster of the recently formed Legion Hap Ki Do Club.
All funds raised through club membership fees go to Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25, where Rudy’s club meets and trains every Monday evening.
Rudy told SooToday “I grew up in the Second World War in Holland, and our country was liberated by Canadians. This gave me a great affinity for Canada’s veterans, and I want to do whatever I can to show my appreciation, so 100 per cent of the membership dues we collect are donated to the Legion.”
After giving each other karate chops on the Legion branch second floor (well, it’s not ‘karate,’ which is Japanese, but rather Hap Ki Do, which is Korean for those of us not familiar with martial arts), Rudy and his club members can be seen happily munching cheeseburgers and sipping beverages in the Legion’s downstairs lounge as another way of supporting the local branch.
One of the group’s more musically inclined members joined the Legion band, other members assisting with the Legion’s annual Poppy Fund drive.
“We wish to go back in time to an era where martial artists were highly intelligent warriors, whose code was to protect the nation and its citizens. In fact, the motto displayed in Korean characters on the back of our instructors uniforms translates to ‘defenders of the nation,’ very much what Canadian veterans did, and still do,” Rudy said.
The club, which accepts members as young as eight, hopes to attract new members, train twice a week beginning in May, and take part in martial arts competitions.
Rudy, a Prince Township resident, worked as a cabinet maker until suffering a back injury. With the exception of two years of recovery from that injury, he has been active in martial arts for 69 years, having began studying martial arts in 1950 at the age of 10, then competing and teaching around the world.
He sold his martial arts school on Gore Street in 2012, and said “I slowed down some since, but I still teach martial arts seminars to Masters and school owners around the world.”
“During some forty years of teaching, I learned that martial arts are a great tool to enhance fitness, health, good work ethics (any person joining his club who absolutely cannot pay membership dues are expected to do volunteer work), self respect and pride in one’s self. These are attributes that promote good citizenship.”
“I’m not just rattling off some promotional stuff to get people to join our club. I have proof positive from the countless letters I’ve received from students I taught many decades ago. I received such a letter recently, and the man who wrote it tells me he had tears in his eyes as he wrote it.
An excerpt from the letter reads:
‘God bless you! You told me I could do whatever I set my mind to, but at the time I just didn’t understand why you thought I could. But the physical things were nothing compared to what you taught me in the ways of life.’
Rudy said “over the years, I received many such letters, so how can I not continue to do whatever I can to give my fellow citizens a purpose in life that may help them cope with their hardships?”