Sensei Michael Gent 1958 - 2006
“Live life as if one is living a dream, for anything is possible” -- Michael Gent
Michael Gent was born on 30 th of April, 1958. As a young man, Mr. Gent was a frail little white boy, growing up in Te Koporu, Dargarville, New Zealand. He was bullied for many years during his early childhood and hence hated school. One day, his life changed, a boy at school stole his locker keys and when confronted Mr. Gent decided to fight back. He punched him in the face, it was a wet day so the young man slipped, knocking himself out on the concrete floor. Mr. Gent said this was the turning point for him as he felt the energy of this win ignite a hunger for fighting.
The fighting continued and at 13years of age he knocked his uncle out with a punch to the jaw because he was teasing him at a family party. Most days at school, he would get into fights and so ultimately by the fourth form was asked to leave. He started training at the local boxing gym discovering that he was ambidextrous. His first job was in the forestry, where he continued to fight and gain experience with a group of men, much older than himself.
At 16 years of age, during a dispute he shot someone with a .22 rifle and was sentenced to 18 months probation. But he had no where to stay in Auckland and having to report regularly to his probation officer, he could not leave. So instead of straightening out his life this took him deeper into a world of violence and crime as he became involved in motorcycle gangs, learning more about fighting with weapons and strategy. He gained much experience good and bad, estimating that he had fought in over 300 street fights and never lost. This was a stage of life, Mr. Gent stayed in for a long time and spent his last few years trying to wipe his police record clean. His nickname among friends was “The Assassin” and Mr. Gent said that if he were to write an autobiography he would be arrested.
He wanted to be a better fighter...
“Bruce Lee was making those movies and he had just died. Yama was killing Bulls with his bare hands so I wanted to be strong and fast too”. MG
…so at the age of 17, he began Karate which he trained in for 4 years, gaining his brown belt, was awarded the best Kempoist of the year and became Grand Champion for sparring in his division. His realistic approach, thirst for violence and fighting outside of the school displeased his Sensei and ultimately saw him leaving before his black belt grade.
Following his Karate training, he simultaneously trained in Mantis Kung Fu from Northern Shaolin, Wing Chin with William Chung and Kendo. Meditation was also a very important aspect of his daily life, especially during his twenties and thirties.
At age 24, he formed his own style, Ho Chi Kung Fu, at a time when it was uncommon (in New Zealand) to develop your own system. Many people came to test this “new art” and he welcomed their challenges. It was based around the Chinese Systems and included Sensei Gents experience from the street. Ho Chi Kung Fu stood up to these tests. He drove his students hard, punching, kicking and knocking them relentlessly, dive rolling from vehicles at 50kph, jumping off cliffs in darkness and blindfold training were all part of the syllabus. It was a school of hard knocks and reality training, designed to push the individual and strengthen the mind, body and spirit.
Continually looking for growth, in 1987 he traveled to Australia to train in Ninjitsu. He introduced the Bujinkan into New Zealand and opened up many Dojos’. He traveled to Japan on various occasions to train with Grandmaster Hatsumi Sensei, attaining his 7 th Dan. He had great respect for Hatsumi Sensei and many wonderful experiences when training in Japan.
“I had hurt a lot of people within violence and for that time in my life I needed to follow a way that had compassion for other people” MG
Sensei Gent’s training remained very realistic and was not for the fainthearted. He put his skill on the line in every class and tested his students continuously. Many classes were taught using live blades, much blood and sweat was shed. In 1996, Sensei Gent formed The Maai Hyoshi Dojos (Schools of combative distance, and timing). The name was born from an experience through which he was drawn in during Muto Dori (unarmed against weapons). This is what the Maai Hyoshi Symbol represents. His highest ranked students also experienced this type of training achieving a very high level of skill.
Mr. Gent performed close protection security for many national and international celebrities, VIP’s, rock band’s, sports teams and worked all three Premierships for Lord of the Rings. He founded and instructed WASP, Women’s Anti-assault Self Protection programme and DCAT, Defend, Control and Arrest Training for the Department of Courts.
Sensei Gent continued to train hard, hosting many world class instructors like Enson Innoue, John Will and Anthony Netzler to name a few, always improving and bringing the best training to his classes.
On March 14 th 2006, at home in his dojo, he trained like a true warrior right up to the moment of his unfortunate death. His vision and teachings live on through the Head Instructors of Maai Hyoshi Dojos, his family and dedicated students. Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi Sensei has recorded Sensei Gents name at the Hombu in Japan. The Gent Family and Maai Hyoshi Dojos’ are honored by Hatsumi Sensei's respect and sympathy.
Ninpo Ikkan – Magakoro ni masare` - Shikin Haramitsu Dai Komyo
(May I abide by the codes of Ninpo even over the dictates of my own heart)