Monday, December 10, 2012

This Rocks!


For some reason, this video's contents escaped me all of this time. Madam Julia Urban Kimmerly and her husband Robert produced this really well made piece, with a sound track that actually set me to a pause. I received an e mail today from Robert and Julia giving the official oky doky as for me to publish it here. In answer to my comment about this being the perfect song for The Sensei, she agreed that it was apropos. That's a word that was not in my vocabulary until Madam Julia's father introduced to me. You had to broaden your vocabulary just to keep up with his conversation, and I easily did, just from learning new words from The Maestro. That learning has effected many facets of my life. Anyway, back to the sound track, I'm not a member of the Kansas Fan Club or anything, but this is a PERFECT song for this Urban presentation. How apropos...

Incidentally, in the picture that you see before you click on the video, In the forefront of Sekwii Sha, Madam Julia, Albert Gotay, and Dayton Guinee, is an urn with The Maestro's ashes, covered by one of the hats that I had made for him. Yes, this video set me to a pause... Osu! Sensei.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


While doing some research on a totally different subject, I stumbled upon some vintage footage of the Yamaguchi tournament that was run by Sensei Aaron Banks in NYC back in November of 1967. Many of us posess or have seen the footage of this event narrated by GMstr. Gary Alexander. Maestro Urban sent some of us that video many years ago. However, this seems to be the missing footage. Here you will see Yamaguchi Gogen and Gosei Senseis performing, and a 16 year old Kayo Ong receiving his trophy from The Cat. If your not familiar with Dai Sensei Ong, please use the search engine on this site to view the article about him. Later in the video you will see some IsShin Ryu footage that came from the folks that have been harboring this vintage footage . Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

In loving memory.

This really makes me sad. To have to post about something that I know is tearing a friend of mine apart. Sensei, Margaret "Peggy" Kelljchian, beloved wife of Grand Master Joseph Kelljchian of the United States of America GoJu Federation, passed away on November 13th. My heart deeply goes out to GMstr. K, and their son's Senseis Greg and Jeff. This lady of quality has been part of our extended GoJu family for longer than most people reading this have been around. I ask that you all keep the Kelljchian family in your prayers during this time of extreme sadness.

Osu! Sensei Peggy, until we meet again in His big DoJo in heaven.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Chojun Miyagi remembered.


Today is the anniversary of the passing of the founder of GoJu Ryu, Miyagi Chojun, KenShi.

A lifetime of martial study and practice sewed the seeds that created a perpetual harvest of some of the finest martial artists known to this world.

Okinawan born on April 25th 1888, Miyagi Kenshi was the first KaraTeKa  to have the title of Kyoshi bestowed upon him by the Dai Nippon BuTokuKai, which speaks volumes as to his contribution to having KaraTe officially recognized by the "powers that were" in mainland Japan at the time, which was the beginning of a snowball effect that has never ended.

Miyagi Chojun KenShi died on October 8th, 1953.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Hey! Look what I found!


My friend, Grand Master Peter Siringano Jr., recently posted a video on Facebook, that he had in his archives since 1977. After viewing it, I asked him if I could post it here for the benefit of my Satori readers, and as I suspected, he happily obliged.

The video was taken at Grand Master Aaron Banks' KaraTe Hall Of Fame in 1977. For those of you who grew up reading Official KaraTe Magazine like I did, this video is Heaven sent.

 GMstr. Banks, shared the mike and stage with Shihan Ed Kaloudis of KoeiKan KaraTe, GMstr. Johnny Kuhl of American Combat Karate, a very young Shihan William Louie of Chinese American GoJu, who seemed surprised to be included along with those that he felt were his seniors, GMstr. Frank Ruiz of Nisei GoJu, a young Hanshi Wilfredo Roldan of Nisei GoJu, GMstr. Peter Siringano Sr. of GoshinDo Kempo & Samurai JuJitsu, This was at the time when GMstrs. Siringano and Ruiz, were the Damon and Pytheas of KaraTe as I wrote about long ago on this blog, Professor Florendo Visitation of Vee Jitsu, Professor Moses Powell of Sanuces Ryu JuJitsu, GMstr. George Cofield of Shotokan, Shihan Don Nagle of IsShin Ryu KaraTe, GMstr. S. Henry Cho of Tae Kwon Do, Master Al Weiss, owner of Official KaraTe Magazine, and well known martial arts writer, John Mcgee. Those who have been around a real long time, will remember his articles in Black Belt, and Official KaraTe magazines, and Shihan Louis Neglia who at the time, was with Moses Powell.


I could not help but notice that there was someone missing.

Sup with that?

Special thanks to Grand Master Peter Siringano Jr.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some thoughts about kata. Part 1.


I have spoken to a few of my peers in the martial arts lately, on the subject of kata standardization.

The fact of the matter is, that during my tenure as Maestro Peter Urban's representative for the state of Florida, I was responsible for kata literacy among the Fight Schools Network affiliated GoJu Halls of what I named GoJuLandia South. With the help of Hanshi, Keith Teller, we were semi successful, which, all things considered, isn't too bad. But to be quite honest, it was a full time job, to maintain standardization within the circle of my own GoJu Halls, meaning my dojo locations as well as those of my direct students.

My focus these days, is on teaching my ShobuDo GoJu Jitsu curriculum, and Close Quarter Combatives, as I teach to the Sheriff's Tactical and Rescue Squad.

Let me begin by saying that as far as my house goes, there is standardization. I could care less anymore, about what others are doing. It is no longer my business, unless I am asked for my opinion.

Now adays there are so many factions of GoJu, teaching what they believe, and or claim to be "the correct way." When I say factions, I speak of all of the various Ryu Ha, and then the sub styles, break aways, do it your selfers, etc....

It seems kind of futile, to expect everyone to be on the same page anymore, however, the knowledge of the origin / origins, and the labeling of what it is that we do, is necessary in order to perpetuate accurate material. For example, I practice and teach KoRyu = old school kata, as well as what was later developed in Japan and America. The trick is to be able to decern which is which and how and why they differ.

Here is a re posting of a page from Urban Speaks "Maestro Urban's newsletter," that validates my knowledge of the katas of his system. Bragging rights don't you know....

The rest, I picked up during my travels and training in Okinawa and throughout the Orient, as well as from my seniors, such as Dai Sensei Kow Loon "Kayo" Ong, from whome I have learned more about the KoRyu through casual conversations, than I could have by training exstensively in many of the so called Traditional dojos claiming to teach "The original stuff."

AS most of you know, the schematic of kata, is meaningless as opposed to the technical content = the meaning of the motion and the application in tandem exercise.

The stressing of Jiyu Kumite = free sparring, especially for competition, has most definately effected the essance of some schools of thought, which carries on to their approach of kata understanding. Not that kumite is not an important facet in our training, but the sparring mentality, vs the actual life and death combat mentality, brings to mind the age old addadge, "When all that you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

It is also necessary to train the body, in order to be able to pull off some of the more sophisticated techniques of the katas. However, sometimes I must admit that I get a laugh out of some of the unrealistic techniques that some think they are actually training to perform.

In Freemasonry we have an expression,"Daubing with untempered mortar". This alludes to the  futility of delving into more advanced steps, before the work at the level you are on, has been squared away.

In the three years that I was stationed in Okinawa Japan during my Marine Corps days, I was exposed to quite a bit of this type of technique, such as kicking with the toes, striking with Ippon Ken, nukite, etc. This is not to say that these techniques were practiced speculatively, in theory, or waving in the air. They were strengthened during taiso and tempered on the makiwara, and on other striking devices such as tires, sand, rice and rocks.

Back in the 70s, I used to go to the Hare Krishna Temple in NYC with my friends, specifically to take part in their yoga classes, that were sometimes followed by transcendental dance, where the toes would be banged on the floor to the rhythm of the beat, which stimulates a chakra I suppose.

While training at Yonamine Sensei's Ueichi Ryu and KoBuDo dojo, exercises where usually punctuated with the same toe banging. I later found out that this was a prelude to makiwara toe kicking and even later tameshiwari in order to test the toes....

The same went for IpponKen "single knuckle punch," and especially NukiTe Spear Hand.

No, we didn't bang our fingers on the floor, and neither did the Hare Krishnas, to my knowledge.....  I kid.

Having already spent years developing SeiKen, UraKen, TetsuiKen, ShuTo and HaiTo by hitting the Urban board, and at Ron "The Master Breaker" Jeter's dojo, hitting anything that didn't move, until it did, I was at first given pause, when first I saw the sewing of the a for mentioned seeds in Okinawa, and especially when first seeing the harvest.

Maestro Urban called me Iron Hands for a reason, but I can tell you stories about Arakaki, Yonemine, Shinjo, and others that have me beat by a mile, and can really do all of the stick your fingers into someones rib cage, or rip your heart out stuff. "Incidentally, it takes doctors quite a long time in the OR to cut a heart free of the body using scalpels" so lets not get carried away with ourselves.

Picture it! Chinatown NYC early 2000 something. Some of my students and I where hanging out at Dai Sensei Kow Loon "Kayo" Ong's house, with Kayo and his family and students. We were waiting for a boxing match to start on cable, when our conversation went on to the subject of DaNaKow "Loosely translated, encounter, seize and rip," and the use of the NukiTe "Spear Hand". Knowing that my older martial brother has the KoRyu conditioned body, I sequestered him of his capabilities with the spear hand. With this, sitting on a small Chinese stool, "which I always suspected was actually a weapon," Kayo twisted at the hip and pierced through a large heavy duty corrugated cardboard box full of something, that was sitting on the floor behind him, with Ippon NukiTe "single finger spear hand," leaving a quarter sized hole in it. So Kayo could pull it off.

Yeah! I know, I keep bringing up Kayo, but I'm just saying...............

So, the moral of this story is:

Unless we have the skills to pay the bills, for real man, for real, then we must look past fantasy.

DaNaKow is the essence of SeiUnChin which means something to the effect of March far quietly, pull off balance and fight.

What is it exactly, that you are doing in the initial movements of SeiUnChin? And if you don't resemble the armor piercing people a for mentioned, perhaps this will shed light on a more realistic idea.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The death of a legend.

 It is with great regret, that it must be announced that Joe Lewis has passed away.
He was ill for quite a while, so it was expected. Yet, it is always unnerving when someone that you looked up to as a youth, to the point of mimicking his technique and look, passes. He used to show up at quite a few events in NYC back in the 1960s and 1970s, and was more approachable to a kid like me at the time, than he was to a lot of the adult black belts. I actually used to talk with him, asking him questions, and joking with him, when he would say something off the wall and look at me, as if it was a private joke.

In this picture, event promoter, Aaron Banks raises Joe Lewis' hand as Referee Peter Urban looks on.

For those who don't know a damn thing about America's KaraTe history, "Because if you don't know about Joe Lewis, then you don't know a damn thing about America's KaraTe history," He was the undisputed Heavy Weight Champion Of The World in Full Contact KaraTe, and was one of the main Champions on the KaraTe tournament scene since the 60s. He began his Martial Arts studies in Okinawa, Japan, with Shigeru Nakamura, of Okinawa Kenpo, and of course, his main instructor, Eizo Shimabuku of ShoBayashi ShoRin Ryu,while he was stationed there as a US Marine, in between tours of Vietnam. He later trained with Bruce Lee. As mentioned earlier, Joe also had a Hollywood career, appearing in, and or starring in quite a few movies.

Here Joe Lewis poses with Bruce Lee, American Kenpo founder, Ed Parker, and KaraTe Champion Mike Stone.

Incidentally, I later was part of the group of Marine KaraTeKa that brought Eizo Shimabuku to see Joe's Jaguar movie at the base theater of Camp Hanson in Okinawa, the night it opened. I kept in contact with him over the years, and happily, had a decent report with him in the last couple of years of his life. He even read this blog! Yes! I am proud to say that while I was living in California, Joe, emailed me after reading some of my stuff, discussed what I had written about the side kick, and invited me to a training session.

Joe Lewis will be missed, but will live on through his System, students, and all of us that he had influence on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Sensei!

               Today =  Now, is Maestro Peter Urban's birthday.

I cannot think of a more appropriate way of observing this, than by teaching a class using some of his favorite material.

Fortunately Tuesday is the regularly scheduled day of the private lessons that I give to my student Travis Hartwell, and my fiance Audra was on hand to take these pictures, so the birthday celebration was on!

We spent a good time of the class working on The 5 Implicit Actions, as composed by Sensei Urban.

The nuance of these movements, being so distinctly  Urbanesque, it made the party seem as if the guest of honor had arrived.

From the finite points of the Shock Shove concept, to funny stories, such as how the use of  IN HOC SIGNO VINCES, and the coat of arms, actually originated when the Latin words on a pack of Paul Mall cigarettes, caught the eye of a young Peter Urban while in High School.


The coat of arms later appeared on certain rank certificates, and the Latin words were on our GoJu Hall # fist patches at one time. This is particularly interesting to Travis and I, as we are both Master Masons, and those Latin Words, meaning In This Sign We Conquer,are used in The Knights Templar, which is a very high level in the York Rite of Freemasonry.

 Peter G. Urban, PhD, 10th Dan, Grand Patriarch of All American GoJu Systems, lives vicariously, through the Legacy That Urban Built, before his joining The Great Architect Of The Universe.

Happy Birthday Sensei! Osu!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Big Knuckles and Soft Blocks.

The other day, I was working on a kotekitai , arm pounding routine, with my student Travis Hartwell. When I saw him the next day, he was excited about all of the things that we had covered. He then showed me his forearms. Jokingly, I offered to review the arm pounding routine with him. His arms showed the expected bruises, and even though he looked as if he was ready to go for it again, albeit tentatively, I assured him that we would wait until the bruises healed. We are also in the process of building a proper out door makiwara now that the weather is getting better. The development of the body through exercise in breathing, and the conditioning of kotekitai, as well as makiwara are the foundation of our training which gives us the base on which to build upon.

As I was thinking about this later, it reminded me of an experience that I had while living in Okinawa Japan.

Having already been in the martial arts for so many years, I had a kind of radar when it came to finding dojos and Sensei’s on The Rock. A kind of makiwara homing device, if you will.
On numerous occasions, I followed the distinct sounds of the whack of the post, or the chains of a heavy bag, as they echoed in the calm Okinawan air, to find a pot of gold “DoJo” at the end of the proverbial rainbow.

So, KaraTe calibrated eyes and ears established, and with no further ado, it went something like this:

Picture it, Futenma City Okinawa, 1980. A few fellow Marines and I ventured up the hill from our barracks into the city, which although developed, was more like a busy town. We were actually looking for a record store, when an Okinawan guy, around my age and height, dressed in a track suit, and carrying a bag, confidently walked past us. He was not cocky, he was confident. It was that decorum of confidence that originally caught my attention. Then my makiwara homing device went off.

Upon closer observations, all done in a matter of a few seconds, I noticed that he had the unmistakable Golf Ball sized knuckles indicative of a serious KaraTeKa of what is now unfortunately referred to as Old School training. I hope that I won’t be construed as showing off, if I mention that I also caught the distinct sound of Tonfa clacking in his bag as he strode by. “Im serious…..”

So, after signaling my compatriots along, we followed him down the block, until he turned into an alley. Looking down the alley, I saw, that he saw, that we were behind him. He turned slightly and his expected suspicion was quickly changed as he watched me utilizing my miniscule kanji knowledge as I read what I could of the sign at the entrance of the alley, out loud to my friends. “ShoRin Ryu KaraTe Do DoJo.” BINGO! My BuDo Bloodhound powers strike again!

The guy with the knuckles waved us toward him and into the dojo, which belonged to Grand Master Seikichi Arakaki, 9th Dan ShoRin Ryu. No relation to my other teacher by the same last name. He introduced me to Arakaki who was extremely hospitable. After a brief conversation, consisting of introductions and a laugh after telling them the story of how we wound up there, Arakaki Sensei suggested that being that we were stationed walking distance from there, that we come train when we could.
Arakaki Sensei was a baker by profession, and would bring little Okinawan pastries in for students to eat during break, along with ice coffee. I remember thinking that this place was going to be fun, being that I was an ice coffee junkie and the thought of pastries at break made what was anything but a cake walk, seem like it was going to be a bit more kicked back. Yeah. I got kicked back alright…..

So come and train we did. Of course my 20 year old hot dog mentality felt it mandatory to demonstrate my Billy Badassness, by hitting the giant makiwara with Jodan Yoko Geri and Ushiro geri, so as to be taken seriously in my own mind. But in reality, the next thing I know, we pair up, with me paired with “of course” my new friend, Knuckles.

Oh! Did I mention that while we were warming up, Knuckles pulled out those Tonfa that I had heard clacking when he walked by, and commenced whacking himself on the shins?
Writer’s note: Told ya so…

Anyway, the plan was for one of us to go on the offense with punches and kicks and what not, while the other moves backward and blocks.

The standard Shorin Ryu jodan uke, chudan uke, and gedan barrai, where the blocks that everyone was using. Now keep in mind that I’m here, paired up with a guy with makiwara knuckles and a weird use for tonfa, and I now realize that blocking his forearms or shins was like blocking a baseball bat. It was no fun being blocked by him either! So, what to do?

After going back and forth the entire length of the dojo a few times with him, I realized that the only way to continue would be to use soft blocks.

Picture me being advanced on by my baseball batlike buddy, as I move backwards doing basically what looked like Tensho. Thankfully, when my partner saw how I was doing better with soft blocks, he started to do them also. Whew! Thank God.

So, what did I get out of all of this?
1. It is good to be in the position that no one wants to block, or be blocked by you.
2. When in doubt, soft blocks rule.
3. A strong foundation, built upon brick by brick, with properly tempered mortar, is what battle ready fortresses are made of.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Shihan, Ric Pascetta passes.

I cannot believe that once again, the new posting on That's My Satori is being done to announce the departure of another important figure in our GoJuLandia Americanus.

Most of you know all about him, so we will not go into the Ric Pascetta story here.

If you, for some reason, are not familiar with him, go to

What will be mentioned here, is that Shihan Pascetta was one of the people who Walked The Walk first, before he talked the talk, which he did also.

His accomplishments were real. His organizational skills, superb. His knowledge and ability were exactly the caliber of what SHOULD be expected of a Shihan / Hanshi / 10th Dan.

His fight record is historic.

His legacy, internationally, is impressive to say the very least.

I had the Golden Opportunity to work with an Italian Team from Italy that came from his stable when they attended one of my seminars. The teacher can be judged by his students. Well, in this case, I can tell you first hand, THIS MAN WAS AN EXCELLENT TEACHER. = period.

He made a difference.

Friday, March 09, 2012

S. Henry Cho passes.

Sadly, it must be announced that Grand Master, Sihak Henry Cho, a pioneer of Korean Karate on the East Coast, passed away on Thursday, March 8, 2012.

In 1968, Grand Master Cho's now famous book Korean Karate Free Fighting Techniques was published. This was at a time when the newly named Tae Kwon Do was basically unknown to the majority of the American public. So the name Korean Karate was used on school signs, advertisements, and in this case a book, to describe the various Kwans or styles that mostly amalgamated into Tae Kwon Do.

One could go as far to say that "everyone" regardless of style, had that book. With great step by step illustrations and very comprehensive directions and information, Grand Master Cho introduced the Korean art to so many readers, and through his active participation, along with Peter Urban and Don Nagle, as one of the 3 big leaders of the East Coast KaraTe scene.

In this picture, Sihak Henry Cho is flanked by Frank Ruiz and Peter Urban. Far right is Cho's champion student, the late Julio Lassalle.Squatting in center is Mas Oyama.

Grand Master Cho was easily one of, if not the most successful long time tournament promoters in the country, with S. Henry Cho's All American Open Karate TaeKwonDo Kung Fu Tournament, which was held at Madison Square Garden starting in the 1960s for many years. His participation with inter style competition made for him to be an ambassador of sorts, even during a time when there was decention between the various arts and their practitioners.

Although it changed locations a few times, Grand Master Cho also ran one of the, if not the longest lasting and most successful martial arts schools in New York City.

This man left a legacy.