• Friendships developed over the years, between my fellow team mates. Friendships which initially centered around competition. We had similar goals and a competitive spirit. The veterans were Wayne Kot, David Darling, Linda Weston, Tracey Colson, and Grant Reffell. I was young for that crowd, and they were closer in age to my cousin Roman. In my age group was Paul Babiak, Dave Murray and Bruce Law. Gareth Jones left after a few seasons to pursue cross country skiing. I remember him well because he was such a nice guy, and how hard he worked at each practice.
• The duo of Wayne and Dave was a welcome refreshment in the club. At the time they were nearing the end of high school. They were truly hip, and fun to have around. Being two divisions higher in age and maturity meant that I looked up to them as positive infuence. They introduced the Daveski and Waynski nicknames for themselves. That spawned Paulski, Daveski, Romski, and Gabski. Nicknames that still hold today, with my cousin.
• Morris once told us, “Never lose to someone by hundredths of a second. If you’re in a close race then make sure you win.” At a Western Regional Championship meet at Nepean, Ottawa, Canada I was in the 100m freestyle final. The leader was way ahead of us, but I was fighting for second place with a guy right next to me. As we swam to the finish I spearheaded my hand into the board. When I looked up at the clock I saw that I beat him by 1/100th of a second. That was a defining moment, and was proud of that I could action the words of my coach. I won silver, but winning that battle was more valuable to me. In swimming it’s said that 1/100th of a second is the length of a finger nail. As much as my middle finger hurt, I made the finish count, when it was necessary.
If you missed previous swimming posts, then click on these links:
AAAA Championship, Bruce Law, Burlington Civic Award, Burlington Ontario, Burlington Y Aquatic Club, BYAC, competitive swimming, Dave Darling, David Darling, David Murray, dusil.com, Eric Coulson, Eric Finstad, eurostartups.tech, Eva Dusil, Gabriel Dusil, gabrieldusil.com, Gareth Jones, Grant Reffell, Linda Weston, Mark Hopkins, Meg Midghall, Michelle Prendergast, Morris Vaillancourt, Roman Dusil., Sandra Moore, Sean Simms, Steve Babiak, Steve Belham, Swimming, Tracey Colson, Wayne Kot, YMCA
• I arrived in Košice on the morning of December 23rd. The train ride was ten hours, and not relaxing in the least. I initially bought a second class ticket, but ended up exchanging it for first class after seeing the uncomfortable seating arrangements. Even in first class our cabin soon filled to its six person capacity. Sleeping in a sitting position was terrible, but eventually people disembarked, allowing room to stretch out. On my arrival Richard and Csaba Kende greeted me at the train station. I stayed at Csaba’s, with the exception of two nights spent at Rišo and Terka’s.
• On the day of my arrival I was honored to attend Rišo’s grading for his second degree judo black belt. I took a few pictures. Most notable was the chronicle of judoka, posted at the entrance of the dojo, showing the first black belts. At the top of the list were:
Ing. Robert Dusil, Germany
Ing. Karol Dusil, Canada
MVDr. Vaclav Dusil, Canada, in memoriam
As I looked at my dad and uncle’s names, I felt proud. I was reminded at that moment of what they contributed to the history judo, in this small town.
• My week in Košice got me thinking of how it must have been for my parents when I was born. I began to realise the impact of their decision to leave their homeland in 1969. The fear and anxiety during those days, hoping that where they were headed was better than where they came from. As Csaba explained it, ten judoka left the dojo for the West. But from those who left, the club’s greatest loss has been the Dusil’s. How could they have all known they were making the right decision?
• I could have stayed in Canada, and continued to shut my eyes to the significance that Košice represents. But I chose to return to my parent’s homeland and learn. My week in Košice has also taught me the economic consequences of the socialist regime of the Eastern Block. We left twenty-four years ago because of politics, and my parents unwillingness to subject themselves to communist servitude. Now I’ve come full circle and moved back to my roots, to start a new life in Prague. The Czech Republic is now a free market, so my future resides in capitalist system. On top of that I get to learn about international business, culture, and etiquette. I intend to learn for my future and entreprenéurial destiny.
• So have I made the right decision? Will I prosper in Eastern Europe? Will I exceed, or at the very least, match the success of my parents? Will I become a stronger person? Will I be happy? These questions I will continually ask myself as I search for my identity.
If you missed the other Taci posts, you can link to them here:
• I was four when we left Brampton. I still refer to that apartment complex as the “red buildings”. My cousin Roman and friend Laco Dobis lived in the twin building next door. Taci worked in the local Veterinary office while mom was studying at Guelph University. At night Taci and I would go to Judo. As a second degree he would teach the students, and as a white belt I would participate in the warmup and then play at the back of the dojo. The summer before turning five we moved to Burlington. We slept at the Animal Hospital while our house in Tyandaga was being built.
• In September 1974, and it was my first day of school at Holy Rosary. Mom was with me, and our first stop was the Principle’s office (A room I would frequently visit during my elementary years). That first day of Kindergarten was traumatic. When I walked into the classroom all the kids were playing. But, I felt as though everyone already knew each other – as if I was entering the class in the middle of the school season. I was very shy and it took me a while before adjusting to the new setting. My first friend was Patrick Pongetti. He was quiet like me. Neither of us were interested in following the alphas. Our friendship lasted until we graduated.
• Soon enough I became a trouble maker. Partly due to befriending Danny Berris, who got under my skin on several occasions. I’m sure I pissed him off just as often. All kids fight and I was no exception. Kids can also be very nasty, and I didn’t take that lightly. My first report card said, “Gabriel is still hitting the other children”. Budding in line, and name calling were dealt with five-year-old violence. A receptionist at the Animal Hospital – and seventh grader at the time, Michele Cieslik – once told me that she watched someone bud in front of me in line, and I punched him.
• Mom told me that that I was a real trouble maker for the first few years at Holy Rosary. Most of those memories have faded but I do remember one event that ultimately put closure to that behavior. It was grade three and I was in the Principle’s office with Danny, and our teacher. Principle Butt lectured us on our bad behavior, and all the while I was wonder if the pending strap would be on our bare bums, or not. So the time had come, and Principle Butt did me the honours, and Danny got his beating from the teacher. While getting the strap I was surprised how lightly I was being hit. It didn’t hurt at all. When it was all over, Danny was whimpering as we walked back to the classroom. I remembered vividly thinking how stupid it was for him to cry, because it didn’t hurt. So what was he crying about? It was the first and last time I got the strap. And from that point onward Danny and I were separated in our seating arrangements. Anyways,… the pants stayed on.
If you missed the previous Dusil posts, then click on these links:
• Introduction by Eva Dusil • Editing by Gabriel Dusil • 2014 November
• The first two years of middle school were hard on me. We learned about farming, agriculture, and how to work the land. But my studies had little to do with animals, and that demotivated me. I was immature and undisciplined. It also aggravated my teachers, and subsequently upset my mother. She frequently had to come to school to smooth things over. I was bored with sitting in class when all I wanted to do was be on the farm. By the third year I found my calling since we were finally allowed to spend time on the school’s farm. I loved to be around the horses. I befriended one of the shepherds and many of the farmers. I was in my element, but quickly learned that the horses were not bred for the aristocratic activities that I had imagined. Instead, once they were mature they were sold to co-ops for farm labor.
• One summer my father kept pestering my mother, asking why I was spending so much time on the farm. He didn’t know what I was doing, or even if I was lying about my whereabouts. Most teenagers my age spent their days at the city pool. I did as well, but then went to the farm in the afternoon. By this time my father had retired. My mother eventually had enough of his nagging and told him to go see for himself. So he dressed up elegantly and accompanied me on this one and only visit to the farm. It was the closest he had ever come to such a grassroots lifestyle. When we arrived he talked to the farm employees and I showed him how I taught a mare to kneel, rear up on her hind legs, and kick on command as I tickled her rump. He was amused and it satisfied his curiosity. Then he watched as I disappeared into the distance on my dappled horse. My father had an excellent sense of humor so it became a running joke, among family and friends, that his daughter was more interested in four legged animals than the two legged kind.
If you missed other Mamička posts, you can link to them here:
• Introduction by Eva Dusil • Editing by Gabriel Dusil • 2014 November
• According to communist propaganda, only rich people could attend university in the West. They told us many lies, trying to convince us that Socialism was superior to Capitalism. Constant propaganda brainwashed citizens in believing that the West was an evil imperialist empire. History has told a different story. Either way, the borders were essentially closed to the public, except for a select few who were allowed to travel and see the real picture with their own eyes. This included politicians and top athletes. Communist leaders told us that they were protecting our borders from the evil capitalists. But the ongoing joke was asking why border guns were facing their own citizens, and not the enemy.
• The younger generation believed much of what was told to them. When you grow up seeing, hearing, and reading propaganda, you believe it. Especially when you don’t know any different. Most citizens didn’t have any idea what the West was like. When we finally immigrated to Canada in 1969, our stories filtered back to family and friends in Czechoslovakia. The Canadian government offered us English language courses for free, and financial help get us on our own feet. We bought a cheap camera and took pictures among the fruit stands of a grocery store, to show our parents we weren’t starving. In those days our friends and family had to line up for toilet paper, potatoes, bread and other daily necessities. Store shelves in Eastern Europe were practically empty. Once in Canada, our eyes finally opened to the success of democracy and freedom. It was hard for the Communists to keep that a secret.
If you missed the previous Dusil posts, then click on these links:
• Throughout the 1960’s, both the men’s and women’s judo teams in Košice were far more cohesive than the opposition. During competition they routed for each teammate with far more enthusiasm and passion. It was partially due to their deep routed friendships. Perhaps it was also due to the financial and physical hardships they shared. The team members spent a lot of time on trains – Košice is situated at the extreme East of Slovakia (Czechoslovakia at the time). So traveling from Košice to any tournament was lengthy and taxing. A trip to Prague was over 700 km and took over 11 hours. They would typically travel on overnight trains, and compete the day they arrived. A sleeping car was out of the question, because it was too expensive. An overnight train meant sitting on benches in a cabin that would hold up to eight people. The judoka learned to sleep on overhead luggage racks, or in creative places where there was a chance to stretch out. Friendships survived decades, including post-emigration, and continue to be strong today. Members often participated in many extra-curricular activities, such as hikes, camping, or going to the movies. Many teammates were best friends – Karol Dusil, Pepo Vosecky, and Igor Fridrich were closest to my dad.
• Lokomotíva Košice was the rail company’s sport club. In the communist system, state factories sponsored various sporting sectors. So Lokomotíva had a sports organization spanning over 20 “oddiels” (translated as “sections” or “divisions”) – these oddiels were in judo, wrestling, boxing, European football, handball, basketball, etc. One perk for the judoka was relatively cheap travel costs. For instance, an express train ticket from Košice to Prague in the 1960’s would cost only 20 Czechoslovakian Koruna (around $1 American dollar in today’s exchange rate). That same retail ticket today costs €54 ($76 US$).
• Košice Judo
If you missed previous posts on Košice Judo, you can find them here:
• My dad tried his hand at boxing before seriously taking up judo. When I was a kid I remember watching Mohammad Ali on television, with my dad growing up. I also had the privilege to accompany my dad to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Ontario, Canada. We attending judo and boxing events. I later learned that Larry Holmes had fought in one of them.
• 4 minutes 46 seconds
• 4 minutes 13 seconds
• This is the men’s Lokomotiva Košice team. In one tournament, Edo Novak scored a spectacular Ippon against the Czechoslovakian Champion Norbert Pomp using a Ura Nage judo throw.
• 5 minutes 50 seconds
• Standing (left to right) – Karol Dusil, Edo Novak, Csaba Kende, Mr. Gonda (secretary of the Lokomotiva Košice Sport Club), Ing. Robert Binder, Pavel Petrivalsky, Juraj Bialko, Dusan Halasz • Lower row (left to right) – Robert Dusil, Vaclav Dusil, & Joe Nalevanko
• Robert Binder was the founder of Slovak Judo in Bratislava in 1954. According to my uncle, he was a fantastic person and a great help to Lokomotiva Košice, and in the development of Košice judo. He “belted” my uncle from yellow to brown. Joe Nalevanko coached Slavia Košice, the second Košice Judo team, consisting of mainly engineering students, but Lokomotiva Košice also retained him.
• 3 minutes 32 seconds
• In 1965 my dad, Pepo Vosecky, Igor Fridrich, Vlado Makovsky and Stefan Bartus went to Split, Croatia (Yugoslavia at the time). They attended a judo tournament, competing in both individual matches, and five-member team competitions. In the spring of 1967 Lokomotíva Košice men’s team went to Leipzig, East Germany for another judo tournament and a reciprocal tournament was held later that year in Košice.
• Documents & Articles
Adolf Kostrian, Andrej Collak, Anna Collakova, Berco Allman, Csaba Kende, Czechoslovakia, Darina Poprenakova, Digital Restoration, Dusan Halasz, dusil.com, Edo Novak, Gabriel Dusil, Hluchan, Igor Fridrich, Ivan Spisak, Janosik Bastam, Joe Nalevanko, Jozef Arvay, Jozef Grusecky, Jozko Lemak, Julia Tothova, Juraj Bialko, Juraj Mazanek, Karol Dusil, Košice, Ladislav Kende, Lokomotiva Košice, Maria Collakova-Korytkova, Michal Korytko, Miro Brozek, Nyarjas, Orendas, Pavel Petrivalsky, Pepo Vosecky, Pista Oravec, Pozemné Stavby, Robert Binder, Robert Dusil, Sano Drabcak, Slavia Košice, Slavia Žilina, Slavo Sykorsky, Slezan Opava, Slovak Judo, Stefan Bartus, Ura Nage, Vaclav Dusil, Vašek Dusil, Vinohrady Bratislava, Vlado Babilonsky, Vojtech Agyagos
• All three Dusil brothers were active in Košice judo until they emigrated in 1968 and 1969. Two years after our arrival my uncle and his family moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and began training at the Kawasaki’s Rendokan Judo Academy. We moved to Burlington in 1973 and my father joined him, to train under Sensei Kawasaki. Mitchell Kawasaki was a elite athlete, representing Canada in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in Greco-Roman wrestling. I also trained at the Rendokan Academy with my cousin Roman, but we mainly fooled around at the back of the dojo for most of the session.
• When I turned fifteen I decided to take up martial arts again. My attraction was to the striking disciplines rather than grappling, so I decided to try Karate. It just so happened that my mother’s painting instructor’s husband, Ray Davis, was a Shotokan Karate (松濤館) Sensei. He held a fifth dan black belt at the time. On my first day Sensei Davis gave me a personal lesson. That was uncommon, since normally a blue or brown belt would teach a beginner on their first day. I was hooked from the start. After four years I graded for my black belt in my final year of high school. My training continued throughout university.
• In my final year of university studies I met Jim Flood, a world champion martial artist, also with a background in Karate. He had recently opened his own club. For the next two years I trained at Floods Positive Impact Martial Arts in Hamilton. I taught children and adult classes as well. It was the best training facility in the region. Tuesday were memorable because Jim would invite black belts from any school, to come and spar for free. In the early 90’s before Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) began, it was a unique chance for us to learn from different styles. It was a positive and motivational atmosphere. Jim had us check our egos at the door.
If you missed my previous posts on Judo, you can find them here:
• In 1963 my father was granted permission to travel abroad. He visited Belgium, the Netherlands and France. At the time his younger brother didn’t know if he would return, but he did, to finish his veterinary studies. And he didn’t want to break his mother’s heart. She died the following year of breast cancer.
• After the Warsaw Pact invasion, on the 21st of August 1968, over 300,000 Czechoslovakians would leave during a relaxed 13 month window. Many escaped without proper documentation – on foot, through tunnels, swimming across channels, or by other creative means. Some paid with their lives.
• For most of my life I described the event as “escaping”, but that wasn’t the case. We legally crossed Eastern and Western borders with proper documentation. The basis of our travel was vacation, but we simply didn’t return. The act of Unauthorized Emigration, i.e. “failure to return”, was a crime. My parents and others that did not return within the approved timetable were considered political criminals. They were subsequently “convicted in absentia” and would have been jailed if they returned to Czechoslovakia. On the 22nd of August 1969 a new, so-called “Truncheon Law” was approved and signed in secrecy. It was not publicized at the time. But a renewed grip on travel restrictions meant that the borders were essentially closed. My family learned of the new travel restrictions when they arrived in Paris on the 5th of September 1969. In hindsight it was fateful timing. That day we also celebrated my father’s 27th birthday.
If you missed the previous posts on Dusil, then click on these links:
• This photo was taken in Košice in the garden of the house where the Dusil’s lived. The house is still standing today, across from the main police station on Moyzesova street, but has since been converted to offices.
• Anna Collakova stayed with the Dusil’s when she attended high school in Košice. She was from Stankovce, a village around 25km east of Košice.
• My uncle did his military service from Aug 1961 to Aug 1963 in Opava together with Sano Drabcak, another judoka from Košice. The other two soldiers just happened to walk by, so they have not been identified.
• 8 minutes 12 seconds
• This photo was taken in front of “Dom umenia, Centrá kultúry” situated beside the Dusil family residence. That day my dad came to Košice from Brno where he studied veterinary medicine for one year. It was an emergency visit because his mother had terminal cancer. One breast was removed in February of 1964, but her cancer had metastasized to her entire body. She died on the 24th of October, 1964.
• The Dusil brothers, with their mom visiting their father in Plzeň-Bory, while also competing in a judo event.
Andrej Collak, Anna Collakova, Attila Kende, Csaba Kende, Darina Poprenakova, Digital Restoration, Dusil Family, dusil.com, Edo Novak, Erika Dusil, Eva Dusil, Gabriel Dusil, Ivan Spisak, Iveta Kende, Juraj Bialko, Karol Dusil, Kende Family, Ladislav Kende, Maria Collakova-Korytkova, Maria Dusilova, Michal Jr, Michal Korytko, Nyarjas, Orendas, Pepo Vesecky, Robert Dusil, Robert Dusil sr., Slavo Sykorsky, Stefan Kende, Vaclav Dusil, Valeria Kendeova, Vera Kendeova