The "Club" at Ton Son Nhut Airbase, Saigon Vietnam
Jim Botsford was transferred from the Philippines to Vietnam in early 1967. Ed Sumner followed him within a few months. As Jim and Ed trained together, others would express an interest in joining them. Fairly quickly, the Base Recreation department approached Jim and asked if he would conduct formal classes as part of the Base Recreation program.
Jim and Ed became the instructors for the Ton Son Nhut Karate club. Training consisted of elements of Crosswinds curriculum and a strong focus on Okinawan Goju Ryu as taught at the Jinbukan. A heavy emphasis was placed on physical conditioning and kotakitai, or ‘body tempering.’ Jim and Ed each extended their tour in Vietnam from the standard one year tour, to an 18 month tour, in part to support the training at the Ton Son Nhut Karate club.
Other Black Belts joined the club, including Jack Swift, and Don Aldrich. Both Jack and Don made significant contributions to the training. Jack had extensive training in Judo as well as Shorin Ryu Karate, and Don was ranked nidan in Okinawan Goju Ryu.
Other Crosswinds alumni that visited the club from other duty stations around Vietnam included Duke Ali Shariff-Bey, Virgil Lucas and Luther Wood. Lucas and Wood were stationed in Pleiku, and taught there. Ed Sumner was frequently TDY’d (sent on temporary duty) to Pleiku during his last year in-country, and trained frequently with them while there.
As time came for Ed and Jim to rotate out of Vietnam (Jim back to Okinawa and a continued career in the Military, Ed back to civilian life and college on the GI bill), it was clear that another instructor would have to be found. At that time, a Tang Soo Do practitioner, Floyd Guidry, began to attend the training. It was clear that Floyd was an excellent practitioner, and a good person, and it was concluded that he would continue as the Base Instructor after Jim and Ed departed.