Gregory Ross Gillett     1954 - 2001
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Jaimie Polson
Tony Maclean
  Jaimie W. Polson, Ph.D.
Cardio-Respiratory Control Research Group
Department of Physiology
School of Medical Sciences
University of Bristol
BS8 1TD, United Kingdom
Overseas Research Fellow, Heart Foundation of Australia

November 2001.

Dear Sue,

Thank you for informing me of this sad news. I did not know of Greg's death, and I would appreciate it if you could let me know the details. You must all be saddened with Greg's passing, and I am sure you and all Greg's family will miss him very much. Please accept my condolences.

I was one of Greg's martial arts student's: training with him from 1980 until about 1989-1990. I remember when I, and my school friend Bruce Williamson, first called Greg at his acupuncture clinic in Balgowlah and asked to speak to the "kung fu" master. His reply, to our bemusement, was "which one". We were fortunate that Greg answered the phone, as we had called to speak to his colleague, who also was a martial artist, although I am sure not as gifted as what Greg was. We were young and innocent, and Greg invited us to visit him and he would explain to us about different martial arts. We quickly joined Greg's "school".

I was always in awe of Greg's skills in martial arts. And even more so in his understanding of the principles behind them: an understanding which I think he imparted to me and his other students. I am very fortunate to have been taught by Greg.

However, Greg's influence on my life was much greater than the martial arts he taught me. I appreciated his philosophies on life, and his dedication and caring for those people who knew him. He was a man who did not let things upset him. He always seemed content and at peace. We did many things other than train in martial arts. I remember going with him to a Buddhist temple (somewhere, I don't know where) to hear the Dalai Lama speak - an honour I did not appreciate fully at the time.

I remember watching Marx Brothers movies in his bedroom on a Sunday morning. And Bruce Lee movies at the Dendy Cinema in Martin Place on a Sunday afternoon. I remember sitting down in the back yard learning to meditate. I remember him talking about the philosophies of Krishna Murti. Greg was my first mentor.

In later years, after I had stopped training in the martial arts, I kept in contact with Greg sporadically. I remember receiving faxes from Greg while I was working at the University of Sydney that contained jokes, typically from Gary Larson, pertaining to medical research or making snide comments about "schools of the gifted". Those faxes, old and faded, were still on my office wall when I left the university last year.

I have not spoken to Greg for a few years. The last time I saw him was over lunch in Manly about 3 or 4 years ago. We talked about how his new heart and lungs were going. He was having some troubles, on and off with rejection, but generally things seemed okay. He described to me the differences in exercising with a transplanted heart, which, being no longer connected to the autonomic nervous system, meant that his heart rate did not rise quickly when he started exercise. He told me that because of this, he had to warm up more slowly, to allow the hormone levels in his blood to rise - but other than that, he could still train effectively.

I sent Greg a postcard from my new home in Bristol, England about 6 months ago, with my email address. I did not receive a reply, but I know now that he received my card, and copied down my address.

I have many more memories of Greg that will stay with me forever.

I can honestly say that even now, more than 10 years since I stopped training in kung fu with Greg, that very few days go by when I do not think of him, at least briefly. He was a remarkable man, and I was very privileged to know him.

Again Sue, thank you for letting me know of Greg's passing.

With best wishes,