Father, son follow different paths to reach same goal
Richard Bernard, 64, owner of the House of Samurai karate studio in Londonderry, shows great form. Bernard has owned the business since the early 1970s. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)
"By that time, he was already a black belt," Bernard said with a laugh. "It's funny how life happens sometimes."Life has a way of coming full circle, and now Porter, 43, is working next door to his father's Buttrick Road karate studio, having recently opened a business of his own.
"I attended a lot of courses in the school of hard knocks," he said.
About 25 years ago Bernard, a four-time black belt, opened his Londonderry studio, or dojo, at 28 Buttrick Road.
Then in his early 60s, Bernard sold the business to two longtime students several years ago and began giving lessons at the National Karate Institute in Salem.
Bernard ultimately bought back House of Samurai, with another pair of his longtime students, Jose and Rebecca Dimacali, stepping in as his master instructors.
"It was the only way I would have reconsidered reopening," Bernard said. "At first, I didn't expect them to say yes. That's loyalty, right there."
But soon word spread, and Bernard said his Londonderry classes are quickly filling up once again. He continues to teach at the Salem school one night a week.
"Here, we're a hard-core traditional school of karate," Bernard said. "It's very structured, and everyone wears the same uniform, exactly like the standards established by the Japanese Ministry of Education."
"When you see Greg's studio, it looks a lot like a jungle gym," Bernard said of his son's fitness studio, which is often favored by mixed martial artist fighters.
"We call it the 'Cross Fit Curves,'" he said.
Bernard smiled as he ran his fingers over the frayed ends of the tattered belt tied around his waist. Over the years, the color of his black belt has scratched off to reveal the color white, one of karate's lowest ranks, underneath. "Yes, everything comes full circle," he said.
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