Phil Torney enlisted in the Air Force in December
1968. After being trained in Aircraft navigation equipment, Phil was sent
to Ubon, RTAF base in Thailand. After seeing a few Chinese Kung Fu movies,
Phil caught the bug to join an authentic Thai Karate class. He lived with a
Thai girl there and she told him about
Mr. Precha and his class. Phil
joined Lotus in the summer of 1972. In 1973 the Lotus class moved to
the new dojo.
When it was time for Phil to take the black belt
test on August 11th, Ajarn Precha decided to have the entire test in just one day. All the pushups, sit-ups, katas as well as the
self-defense techniques. Phil commented, "I am not a big
guy, so that was extremely hard. I felt a little slighted by this since
all the previous tests were over a two or three day period. I passed and
got my black gi and black belt.
Just before I left in October, I got the
famous black belt ring. I did not teach very much and I felt that I did
not have the character for teaching. Since I was thin and bespectacled,
opening a class in the states was a reach since most karate instructors at
the time were big and brawny."