In memoriam: Grandmaster Ronald Balas
I first met Ronald Balas (Dec. 9, 1930 to Feb. 13, 2016) in September 1966 at the Cleveland Heights YMCA on Lee Road. He was teaching martial arts classes. I was 5 years old. This meeting was the beginning of a 49-year relationship.
Ron has been a constant presence in my life for the past half-century. For thousands, he was the founder and Grandmaster of Tai Shin Doh Karate. He traveled the world to teach this art form and is widely known and respected for this achievement. But he was so much more—a father, husband, brother, grandfather, and a friend to all.
Ron had a gift. He would make you believe that you were the most important person in the world. He shared this gift with countless people who came to him.
Ron led a professional life of unmeasured service to this community. After serving in the Korean War, he came home and earned his Ph.D. He went on to use his degree to help returning U.S. military veterans facing the struggle of re-entry into civilian life. He created and founded an organization called Awesome Heroes. He was a tenacious advocate and supporter of veterans' issues, always seeking to bring awareness to their unique and specific needs.
He never tired of helping others. He taught, led and shared of himself during his lifetime unlike anyone I have ever known. Ron was a great man. It has been my privilege to call him teacher and my honor to call him friend. All who knew him are truly blessed. We will never forget Ron.
His spirit and teachings will continue to live on in my classroom and in my students. This is my gift in remembrance of Ronald “Ron” Balas.
David Jones is a Tai Shin Doh karate instructor who teaches at the CH Recreation Center. He has studied martial arts since he was a young boy, and helps countless people, from children to the elderly, learn how to defend themselves.