Patrick A Cotter & Family

Dalton Judo Club
Dalton, Massachusetts

I just started - more to come: vjc   -   06-14-03   This page is under contrruction.

the gentle way - art of deflection

I live, breath, and teach Judo every day, but it was not possible when I was younger, until I met Cotters.  I credit Cotters as my Friends and adopted family, because they insisted, and taught me through example, do to their pressure, encouragement, and insistence upon hard work from me. Now I believe in myself strongly enough to be gentle.; this is forever embedded in me naturally without need of thought.

I moved to 71 Sunnyside Drive, Dalton MA, on a Friday, helped unpack the moving van over the weekend, then late on Sunday afternoon, I rode my bike down the Tower Road hill, searching for Saint Agnes Grade School, so I would know where to go the next day; the first day of third grade.  That was 1963 I suspect.

Many years later I realized that this first day of third grade was a new school full of strangers for all of us, but to me, it seemed that I was The Stranger.  I came to town with serious lack of self confidence, except for my brains which I understood to be special, but even that made me shy.  I was physically uncoordinated, clumsy, and scared as I had ever known.

That day I would have done anything to be normal, but I feared every stare, and with nine fingers, nine toes, bright red curly hair, it was impossible to feel invisible.  That first day I overheard snickers and my new nick name, 'The Four Fingered Mars Monkey'.  That first day I met a kind and loyal friend too, Steven Cotter, someone I hope will never be forgotten, as from that day forward I cherish loyalty above all other human strengths, and think of Steve.  Steven taught me, through example, the difference between friend, an acquaintance, and Friend, a trusted loved one. 

Steve immediately dragged me into his family, the Patrick Arthur Cotter Family, and I was adopted, which of coarse meant I needed to learn judo, help repair GE pallets on weekends, build forts all over the woods, learn about motors and cars from the older brother Tom, and how to make the best chocolate chip cookies and home made root beer from Shirley Cotter, my newly adopted mom.

Steve was crazier than me, he pushed me toward adventure, I pushed him toward prudence, we were quite the team.  One of our routine adventures was running down North Mountain, if I remember well enough.  Climb the Tower Road hill to the top, past Sunnyside, both of them, and keep going straight, head up the rocky old river bed,  and up the mountain, near the reservoir was a super fort, a true log cabin. 

We went to the log cabin often, so we could run down the dry mountain creek at full speed; in a barely controlled free fall.  There was no way to stop except perhaps to grab hold of a tree, and swing around it, but that was the last resort for me, as it chewed up your arms, chest, face, and there was little hope of having a lesser collision anyway, it made sense to push and keep trying to maintain near-control.

Each time we flew down that rocky river bed, I was really busy flying-not-falling , and I can not tell you what Steve was thinking, yet for me,  mostly I concentrated on getting my rear leg in front of me fast enough to light on the next rock, so I did not fall on my face. 

Since I could not balance on my right foot, I was pushed to keep up with Steve, who always took the lead, as we glided down this dry rocky river bed. This was the beginning of my introduction to running, which I developed further after moving to Milwaukee, on April fools day, when I was is ninth grade, in 1968.

This experience, barely controlling a fall to run, eventually led me be able to gracefully and effortlessly run by falling, even up a hill, and eventually, and accidentally, to discover the 'Knot' or Cnotta as I termed it (Cnotta Research Institute

I am not knowledgeable enough about how the Anglo Saxons pounced their words, but I smile to suspect it might sound like 'Not A Research Institute'.  My dyslectic humor bubbling up, for sure.

Judo though, was the greatest gift Cotters gave to me.  The Dalton Judo Club, the original gang, and my adopted father, Friend and Professor, Sensei Patrick Cotter, helped me find and develop coordination, self-confidence, wisdom to know when and how to fight back, and the courage to be gentle.

Vincent J Cataldi

more details to come

Vincent J Cataldi -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202 - USA
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