‘My son touched many lives’ through martial arts – says mother of murdered Sensei

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By Isanella Patoir

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The mother of murdered Sensei Garfield Newton said he impacted many lives and this has given her some amount of comfort. Newton was shot dead during a robbery on Christmas Eve last year.

Leona Walton-Barton described her son as a gem who worked assiduously to get young people in Guyana and across the Caribbean on the right path through martial arts.

She believes that all the karate movies she watched while pregnant with him was what pushed him into martials arts very early in life.

“When I was pregnant with Garfield, the only movies I would look at is karate – you know Silver Fox and Bruce Lee.  Those were my kind of movies and strange enough, Garfield grew up to meet Silver Fox and Cynthia Rothrock in person,” Walton-Barton explained during an interview with the News Room.

Newton was the one who brought Silver Fox to Guyana a few years ago to meet with the local martial arts fraternity.

Newton (standing second from right) along with Silver Fox (seated right) and others

His mother said he embraced martial arts with an unmatched level of discipline and respect. Through martial arts, he managed to restructure and reform many young people and even older folks. Newton traveled across Guyana and the Caribbean to conduct training camps.

“He always says to his students: This that you are learning is not for you to go and bully anybody, you have use this as a last resort to defend yourself, try talking the people down or just walk away,” his mother recounted.

And that was the influence Newton had on so many people.

“One person called me when they heard Garfield died, from Trinidad, and she said, ‘I am eternally grateful to Sensei G’ for the way her son is today.

A young Garfield Newton

“I feel very aggrieved but hearing the glowing tributes of both old and young give my heart a kind of peace and comfort,” the grieving woman said. Newton was the eldest of four children.

Among his numerous accolades in martial arts, Newton was inducted twice in the martial arts hall of fame in the United States.

“He was always the best in performance in whatever because he took what he did seriously,” Walton-Barton said.

Newton was attached to the Black Hawks Martial Arts Academy; he was a grade-A marksman and also worked as an assistant manager and trainer with the Beharry Group of Companies for over a decade.

Now, his 11-year-old son is following closely behind in his footsteps and is now at a green belt in martial arts.

Two men have been charged and remanded to prison for Newton’s murder while a third is on the run.

For his mother, all she has are memories of a son she was very proud of.

Newton poses for a picture with several of his trophies and awards
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