Keeper of the Arts
The Story Begins...
Perfect Bound Softcover
Severe abuse marked D.J. Grant's childhood while he lived with his mother, until he was suddenly sent away to live with an unknown father. His life changed again when he and his father saw a martial arts movie, which influenced him to learn self-defense. Now in his early twenties and a student of Tae Kwon Do, D.J. is excited about a promotion from second degree to third degree black belt status.
D.J. had specialized in one style of self-defense. Now he faces disappointment when, instead of promotion, his instructor tells him to first experience the history of the martial arts world. During a walk home, a brief discussion ensues with two friends. D.J. is inexplicably separated from them and introduced to Nerrot, Master of all Keepers of the Art. This meeting takes place in SymDo, a subconscious, mystical realm existing within the minds of martial arts students and practitioners. For every martial artist, there is a Keeper of the Art who is responsible for maintaining the martial artist's memories.
Nerrot, the Master of all the Keepers of the Arts, has chosen D.J. to replace him as the next master.
Before D.J. can succeed Nerrot, he is pitted against Tarag, a former protŽgŽ who was exiled from the Five Sacred Temples of SymDo for stealing a pendant that can be used to control the mystical powers.
D.J. is taken to five countries to experience and learn their martial arts histories. Tarag's interference forces D.J. and Nerrot to physically experience historic events that put their lives at risk. D.J. must complete the experiences, helping Nerrot to save SymDo, while outwitting Tarag.
Chapter 3 EVIL TAKES A BREATH In every martial artist's, soldier's, and common fighter's subconscious mind exists a parallel realm known as SymDo. It comes forth when the present-day warrior sits in meditation, or daydreams, or dreams in deep sleep. Martial artists take time out to recall memories of any and all events from other practitioners that they've seen in addition to their own experiences. At such times, the warrior unknowingly fuels the activities of the SymDo realm. Memory workers are known as "Keepers" in this realm, and every martial artist, fighter, and soldier has a personal Keeper who refers to the martial artist as a DoMar. One of the Keeper's numerous jobs is to maintain the memories of that warrior as a computer operator handles a mainframe system. The warrior's fighting skills and training memories are guarded and emulated by the Keeper, who becomes an assistant instructor to the martial artist when he or she is asleep and dreaming. The Keeper utilizes stored memories from other Keepers to enhance the events of his or her DoMar's dream, giving the unconscious feeling of events actually happening. Nerrot was the Master of all Keepers. He had been searching for a new protégé to become the new Master Keeper of SymDo. Only Nerrot had the knowledge to control the mystical powers emanating from this realm. He held the key to the Keepers' existence and oversaw their responsibilities in maintaining their DoMars' memories. The Keepers had to use the assimilated fighting skills to defend against attacks by SymDo's enemy during the past two years. A student and protégé of Nerrot had been chosen to be the next master, but he stumbled upon SymDo's cosmic energy force contained within the sacred Temple of Medulla. This was where Nerrot trained hand picked students to meditate and become teachers to the Keepers. Only a few Keepers referred to each other by their ancient and traditional name, the Oblongatas. This student also found two mystical pendants, which could access SymDo's powers, and without hesitation, he stole one, a butterfly-shaped dream catcher made of willow fibers. The student was discovered by the touch of a fingertip, stripped of his rights as a Keeper, and exiled. No one knew that he had stolen one of the two pendants before he was removed from the Temple. He had been exiled for two and a half years, and he knew he had only six months left to maintain partial control of the pendant. As he fought to gain full knowledge of the powers, he developed a deep and severe animosity toward the five SymDo Temples, swearing vengeance upon them. Destruction of the sacred building in which memories of all warriors of the fighting arts were stored would threaten the existence of Nerrot and his Keepers. The ensuing battle would decide who would be the next Master of all Keepers; the new Master would gain knowledge and control of the mystical pendants. Deep within SymDo, a large, unearthly compound had been erected upon a large plateau. It was surrounded by a twelve-foot-high gated wall of thick, petrified logs that had been sharpened to points and barbed wire that stretched across the top. Twenty-five sentries were positioned strategically in a circular perimeter fifty yards from the walls. Nearby, once-grassy, rolling hills were now blackened terrain. Billowing clouds of black smoke filled the air as if a wildfire had just been extinguished. A dense black forest stood behind the smoky hills in an eerie, devilish tableau. Lanky tree limbs, stripped of leaves, stretched their long, skeletal branches out, hand-like, to snatch at the wind, creating a wolfish cry. A full, yellow moon accepted the howling and instructed the snow-topped mountains to respond with an avalanche. A tidal wave of large, snowy clouds led the charge down the mountain slopes. The compound was a rat-infested haven, populated with people from the worst ghettos in the world. A ten block square radius sectioned off people of Japan, Korea, Brazil, Africa, China, the Philippines, Thailand, and America. Disease and starvation were used to control the weak, and the strong indulged in misguided pleasures of criminal and oppressive nature. A large triplex structure, horrifically displayed as a black castle engulfed in dense fog, was located in the compound's center of despair. The first floor housed fifteen Chinese guards and two hundred black-robed disciples, known as the Wun Tou. They never showed their faces; they were excellent fighters under mental control to guard their master and the castle. The second floor held the master and creator of the castle, Tarag, attired in black silk gei pants. He was a Caucasian man, five-ten, with dark brows and black eyes that accentuated a face filled with anger and revenge. This was the exiled Keeper and former protege of Master Nerrot, banned from the sacred SymDo temples. The third and final floor consisted of living quarters filled with exquisitely designed Asian furniture. Within the second floor's pillared chambers, Tarag's uncontrollable powers were being invoked. Hundreds of images of martial arts instructors and students, past and present, were summoned and individually trapped in clear, perfectly shaped floating balls. Their faces showed confusion and dizziness and balance was lost while Tarag compromised their life energies, standing in the midst of the floating balls. "I must acquire their knowledge and skills before anyone can interfere! I must concentrate. Yes, here they come. Soon, soon, I will control all the powers of SymDo and the Keepers," Tarag declared with a loud, wicked laugh. His arms stretched out to the sides, the Black Panthers' brands prominent on his forearms, as electrical bolts emanated from his hands and entered the balls. The Dream Catcher pendant he had stolen from the Temple of Medulla was roped around his neck. The Butterfly design had changed under the duress of Tarag's hatred into a Panther. Its willow fibers began to glow with a neon-like intensity as black waves returned from the floating balls to the Panther pendant and slowly started to form a black silk gei top at mid-chest. Suddenly, the electrical waves reversed and sped back toward the balls, causing the gei top to vanish from Tarag's body. "No! This cannot be!" he shouted. "I almost had them in my grasp...time is running out. Damn it!" All the people contained within the balls quickly returned to normalcy when each floating ball began to burst like bubbles at a child's birthday party. When the final bubble burst, a Butterfly appeared, hovering before it exploded into colorful trails of stardust and vanished. Tarag's body was nearly drained of energy, forcing him to stagger before he regained his balance. He held his head and drew in long, deep breaths to scream at the top of his lungs. Several Wun Tou disciples rushed through a doorway hung with a black cloth. A Praying Mantis and a Monkey were painted on the cloth. A Chinese guard stepped through the silent crowd, eyes focused on the floor. "Master, we heard you screaming! Is everything okay?" Tarag's screams ended with deep, gasping breaths. Needing more oxygen, he pushed the guard and a disciple out of his way and stormed down to the main floor and outside for fresh air. When he appeared outside, several large vultures quickly took off from the ground and trees. A gray cat froze in her tracks, hair standing on end, as if she had seen a dog or the devil. The cat made her rapid exit with a burst of speed and agility, leaving Tarag alone to scream at the sky. "Damn you, Nerrot! I will not allow you to deny me my destiny! I will destroy you and all your followers before you can find another to take my place!"
Born in Reno, Nevada on October 5th, 1959, Jackie Grant Miller was joined by his brother, Mark Edward Miller on June 11th, 1961. Their parents were a Blackfoot Indian Mother and an African American Father.
At an early age, while living in Oakland, California, their parents separated. The Mother decided that moving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota would increase her chance of passing as a white woman. Four years later, they returned to Reno.
Helen Cruickshank had a dream that her grandsons were being subjected to violent physical and mental abuse from their Mother. Miss Cruickshank convinced the boys Mother to put them on a Greyhound bus bound for Oakland and their Father.
Jackie and Mark lived in East Oakland for two years. They were always in neighborhood fights as the new kids on the block and for having light skin, curly hair and green eyes. One day, the boys and their Father saw a movie titled Five Fingers of Death. The action packed martial arts film influenced Jackie and Mark to learn the way of life.
Before they could find a school, a life changing event happen to their Father that sent the boys to finally live with their Grandmother.
During the 8th grade, Jackie and Mark started training at the Berkeley Wado-Kai Karate Dojo with Sensei Yoshiari Ajari. In high school, Jackie studied with a friend named Doug Jones on a Chinese Kempo style from the Al Dacacosa's school of Kung-Fu.
Later during his J.C. college years, after failing to make the school's basketball team, Jackie met Julius Baker Jr. He was teaching a Tae Kwon Do class at the college. After training with Mr. Baker for 4 years, Jackie received his Black Belt.
Mr. Baker also formed a demonstration team called "Baker's Martial Arts Theatrical Troupe." The concept was to substitute the sometimes boring display of kicks and punches in formation. Choreographed fight routines with dramatic and humorous themes were performed for audiences in several local states.
Jackie was introduced to Capoeira by a senior black belt named Ken Pitts. Mr. Baker eventually met Mestre Accordion and allowed him to teach the African-Brazilian style at his school.
In 1982, Jackie wrote a stage play titled "Dream Maker" that later became "Keeper of the Arts". Mr. Baker's Demo Team was the play's main characters with a supporting cast of;
- Sensei Bruce Klickstien's Aikido Institute Demonstration Team.
- Master In-Hyuk Suh's Kuk Sool Won Demonstration Team featuring Master In-Joo Suh.
- Mestre Accordion and the World Capoeira Association Demonstration Team featuring Master Instructor Julius Baker Jr. and 5th Degree Ken Pitts.
- SiFu Bills Owens and the Kasami Vijiti Stick Fighting Demonstration Team featuring 5th degree Black Belt Ken Pitts.
- SiFu Anthony Chan and the Berkeley Institute of Wu Shu Demonstration Team.
Jackie Grant Miller participated in the 1st World Capoeira Association's Tournament held in Alameda, California. He also won the middle weight kumite division for black belts at the Kuk Sool Won 1st Open Tournament held in San Francisco, California as well as many other tournaments.
With the death of his Grandmother and Jackie Grant Wilkerson, his father, he moved to Southern California. There, Jackie found a video production called "Cadillac Dreamz" and H. "Spanky" Jackson." After working on several filming projects and screenplays, Jackie decided on fulfilling a life time dream of writing a book.
The author currently lives in Southern California. He has two boys with the oldest named Torren Grant Miller a.k.a. "Nerrot" and Daniel Jackie Miller a.k.a. "D.J. Grant."
Perfect Bound Softcover