Dick’s ride at the top was cut short by a trio of unfortunate circumstances. The British Invasion cut into surf music sales. Dale had a falling out with his father and manager of many years. And in 1966, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Recovering from a surgery he later described as “Neanderthal,” Dale retreated to Hawaii, half expecting to die there.
Instead he found a new way of life. He hooked up with Ed Parker, founder of the American Kenpo school of martial arts and a personal trainer to Elvis Presley. The Kenpo exercises and physical discipline helped nurse Dale back to health. And the school’s underlying philosophy gave Dale a fresh outlook on life and on his art.
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(here is a pretty cool interview with Dick Dale)