MU Professor Gets Kick Out of Both Jobs
"[I'm] kind of a specialist in turkeys but I do broilers also," said Jeffre Firman, whose jobs as turkey producer and karate instructor couldn't be more different.
"We do a lot of pushups and situps and crazy stuff like that," he explained in describing his karate routine.
Firman teaches Okinawan Gojo, which is considered a "hard-soft" style, which began in the mid-1800s when Kanryo Higaonna traveled to China to study kempo karate but returned and integrated it with Okinawan styles.
Firman's "hard" side includes teaching MU students the art of Gojo, but his "soft" side emerges when he goes to his turkey research farm near Centralia.
"And they're cute when they're little," he said. "When they get bigger, they tend to be less cute."
Jeremy McGill, a master's student who works at the farm with Firman, has never seen his iprofessor's karate moves but that's not a problem for him.
"Yeah, I can imagine him," NcGill said. "I don't want to try to find out if he can, but I believe him."
In addition to his turkeys and karate students, Firman teaches several MU classes and has five children at home.
"It's a struggle, constantly trying to keep up with getting grants and teaching classes and working with the club activities and taking care of things at home and traveling internationally and such," he admitted. "But, that's part of the fun."
Firman enjoys teaching all his classes, especially karate.
"This is,to me, the ultimate way of teaching because you really are thinking about the entire person," he explained. "So, we talk about mind, body and spirit, where, in the classroom setting you are really very discipline-oriented and so you're really talking about a specific part of their training."
Reported by Jeremy Goldmeier with Photographer Le Nghiem