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Words of Wisdom: Benny "The Jet" Urquidez

benny urquidez

Black Belt Hall of Famer, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez has been an icon and a role model for decades. He continues to educate and inspire future generations of martial artists and fighters. Benny shares with us the best and worst advice he's received.

Best Advice: Keep her.

Urquidez said his best tip came from Ed Parker at the 1967 Long Beach International Karate Championships after Urquidez introduced his girlfriend Sara to the American-kenpo founder.

“Mr. Parker looked at me and said, ‘She’s a keeper.’ I had no idea what that meant — maybe it was a secret code or something. I went home and thought about that for a long time, trying to figure out what a keeper was. Several months passed before I saw Mr. Parker again, and I asked him, ‘You said my girlfriend was a keeper. Exactly what does that mean?’ Mr. Parker looked me in the eyes and said very slowly, ‘Keep her.’ Then it sunk in it was two separate words. He was telling me that Sara and I were a perfect match and that I should keep her. Sara and I just celebrated our 47th anniversary.”

benny urquidez

Worst Advice: Make people fear you.

“The worst advice I ever got was from my father,” Urquidez said. “He told me, ‘If you want respect, you must put fear in everybody.’ So I did just that. I didn’t care who it was or where we were — I put fear into anyone and everyone. I was a tough kid looking for trouble back then.

“But my mom saw what I was doing and said, ‘That’s not respect. That’s fear. People are afraid of you. Is that who you want to be?’ Mom made me realize that respect must be earned. Thanks to her, I changed.”

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