Friday, December 06, 2019

Recently, an acquaintance of mine made a statement about the imperfection of his master’s persona. This gave me pause, and some real food for thought, as to thoughts that I’ve been thinking for many years.
The examples that I site here, are to be nameless, as to protect the guilty. As no one is innocent…
Often we put expectations on the teacher, that are unrealistic to say the least.
Personally, I have been very close to quite a few luminaries in the martial arts throughout the course of my life, and martial arts career. Having started my journey in the arts, at 5 years old in 1965, and with a father that was quite well known in the arts, I was not only exposed, but excepted within the inner circle since I was a child.
I was classmate to so many that would become well known, and accomplished masters. I trained with, and under these people, and was intimately involved in the ongoing history, and development of the arts throughout my life.
I trained not only in the United States, but as a United States Marine, had the opportunity to live on the island of Okinawa for three years, and meet, train with, and often become personal friends with quite a few famous masters.
During my time over seas, I was also able to travel to Mainland Japan, Korea, The Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore. I’ve met, trained with, and competed against some of the best, and some of the worst.
As martial artists, we are brought up with the concept of Do = The Way.
The Japanese ideology of BuShiDo, the Chinese Tao, or the originally Indian Buddhist teachings, that supposedly mold the persona of the martial artist, often lead us to the expectation that the master is the personification of such ideals.
In a perfect world, I suppose this would be fact. But as you know, we do not live in a perfect world.
Only God is perfect.
We as martial artists, often strive for perfection, but will always fall short. That keeps it interesting, I suppose…
On another note, but very similar, we put these divine expectations on the Priest, the Pastor, the Rabbi, the Imam and the Monk. To look at any human being as being the personification of The Way, is to set oneself up for immanent disappointment.
Look at all of the things that happen within the various religious factions, and organizations. From Pedophilia, to Terrorism. This is what causes people to lose their faith, or maintain their atheist or agnostic disbeliefs.
As a FreeMason, I have been raised, and brought through the steps, to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Masonry is a fellowship who’s goal is to make Good men Better. Does this make me a shining example of the light that we seek in Masonry? I think not. My rough ashlar is far from smooth. I just have a level and plumb bob to use as a reference, however I am far from the Great Architect of the Universe, that is for sure = understatement…
In KaraTeDo, we have The Way.
But if you look at the life of a gentleman that most think of as the epitome of KaraTeDo, you will find that he abandoned his family in order to bring KaraTe to Japan, and often spent way too much time combing his hair.
Another great master and Patriarch of the martial arts in the west, had so many skeletons in his closet, that Walmart could easily use them as inventory for all of their stores, each and every Halloween.
However both of the afore mentioned masters made great contributions to, and were responsible for what we know as KaraTe here in our lifetimes and understandings.
As I mentioned before, I have had the pleasure of quite intimately knowing many masters throughout my life. Both American, and Asian.
I could be here all day telling you horror stories.
Although for the most part, the good, at times, outweighs the bad, but none of them are, or were perfect in any way, shape, or form…
I am a 59 year old HanShi = it is December of 2019 as of this writing.
HanShi literally means exemplary person, or one who sets the example.
My life has gone from good, to terrible, to great, to mediocre.
I’ve made so many mistakes, that I can easily be used as a templar for what not to do.
I often say the same thing about my first instructor = my father. I suppose that the apple falls not far from the tree…
Thankfully, we learn from mistakes made, either by ourselves or by others.
As for myself, my story is not over, and I intend to do great things, that will overshadow my shortcomings past.
So, where am I going with all of this you may ask?
View the master as a compass.
The compass points the way.
The compass is not the way.
No person is greater than the art or style that they represent.
Someone much greater than I, yet still imperfect, once said:
“ It is like a finger, pointing at the moon. Don’t look at the finger! Or you’ll miss all of that heavenly glory!!!!”
All fall short of the glory of God.
Keep Punching!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

An interview with Maestro Peter Urban.

Here is part of an interview, done with with Maestro Peter Urban in Puerto Rico circa 1986.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Ultimate Bruce Lee Collection!

The Mother Load of Bruce Lee pictures. Very rare and unseen by most. I also included audio with an interiew with Lee Jun Fan. If you have an interest in Bruce Lee, give it a look. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

KaraTe Beneath The Surface, A Book by Roy Kenneth Kamen

I'm pretty prejudice when it comes to writings and publications on the martial arts. 

I've been reading martial arts books since I was a little kid in the 1960s. My teacher wrote a very famous book about KaraTe, and encouraged us to read everything available, as to broaden our prospectives. 

Reading martial arts books enhanced my reading comprehension to the point that in 7th grade, my reading comprehension level was that of a college sophomore. 

With that said, and considering just how many martial arts books I have read, and reread over and over, I just may know what I'm talking about when it comes to this subject. 

My martial arts library has always been very large, and varied. Recently, I relocated back to Florida, and had to leave much of my belongings with my son until I establish myself. I took only one book with me. That book is KaraTe Beneath The Surface, By Roy Kamen.

Roy Kamen is a personal friend of mine, and fellow GoJuKa. Like me, he began his martial arts training in 1965. He started out in IsShin Ryu KaraTe under his brother Rob Kamen, who incidentally wrote and produced the movie The KaraTe Kid. Both brothers later moved over to ShoreiKan GoJu Ryu under Seikichi Toguchi. 

    Seikichi Toguchi and Roy Kamen

Later both brothers would come under the direction of Dai Sensei Kow Loon "Kayo" Ong, in the Chi I Do International Organization. 

    Kow Loon Ong, Marina and Roy Kamen

Roy Kamen is not just a physical type of KaraTeKa. He is deeply involved in the spiritual and holistic aspects of the art. He is also an accomplished music producer, and applies this same spirituality to both his martial arts and his music.

KaraTe Beneath The Surface is not a book about punching and kicking. It goes way deeper than that. Roy breaks down the original premise behind the Embusen or performance line of the kata of GoJu Ryu, as they are actually Mandalas. 

 San Chin




KaraTe Beneath The Surface exposes the actual purpose of the breathing done in our kata, which are actually and originally Mudras associated with the afore mentioned Mandalas.

When I say that Roy Kamen is very much into the Spiritual and Holistic side of the arts, I don't mean to say that he neglects the physical. Quite the contrary, his KaraTe is very practical and effective. This book serves to enhance ones understanding of the art, and the physical can only be strengthened by a deeper understanding of the Spiritual.

The book contains stories of Roy's early years, and the way various experiences shaped his life, and outlook on the arts.

The feelings and emotions that the kata represent are very well explained.

Some books you can read a chapter or two, put them down, and continue another time.

This book is hard to put down. 

If you are a serious martial artist, or just have a serious interest in the martial arts, I highly recommend this wonderful work by Sensei Roy Kamen.

If I had to rate it on a scale of one to ten, this book would definitely be wearing a RED BELT...

Double click on the video to enter full screen.

Dai Sensei, Kow Loon "Kayo" Ong explains Da Na Kow.

The art of Naha Te / GoJu Ryu, is actually the Okinawan version of Fukienese Chuan Fa = Southern Chinese Gung Fu.

Throughout the years, much of the substance of the art has been lost, omitted, or just not learned, by those who practice for competition, and or hobby.

There are intricacies that few actually know, but if one looks deeply enough, and is willing to do the research and foot work, they are still there for the taking. 

A few years back, while visiting my old friend and Older Martial Arts Brother, Dai Sensei, Kow Loon "Kayo" Ong, Chairman of Chi I Do International,  at his home in New York City's Chinatown, I had the opportunity to video tape a part of our long and detailed conversation. In this rare video, Dai Sensei, Ong explains the concept of Da Na Kow.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dr. Ernest Hyman

Osu! Today is the One Year Anniversary of the passing of my old friend and senior, Dr. Ernest  Hyman. It seems like only yesterday, that I watched this demo at Aaron Banks' Oriental World of Self Defense, at Madison Square Garden... RIP


Monday, November 18, 2019

Styles, Systems, and Ryu Ha. A look at the development and metamorphosis of KenShiKai KaraTeDo.

There are many styles and organizations of KaraTe these days. Far too many to list here. However, I thought it may be interesting to take a look at the development and metamorphosis of one of the newer ones...

This is far from a complete history of this style. If anything, this is the abridged version.

Having recently featured our own Shihan Russell Bianca here on That's My Satori, I thought it apropos to write a piece about the fine group that he comes out of, and how it began.

When KaraTe was originally practiced in Okinawa, it was referred to as Te, meaning Hand.

Okinawa Te consisted of 3 separate entities, which were named after the location that they were practiced, Naha Te, Shuri Te, and Tomari Te.

Later, when KaraTe became more established, and was being introduced to Mainland Japan, these 3 types of KaraTe were given more distinct and descriptive names. Naha Te became GoJu Ryu, Toon Ryu, and Ueichi Ryu. Shuri Te became ShoRin Ryu, and Tomari Te became Okinawa Kenpo.

Once introduced to Japan through College KaraTe Clubs, Naha Te / GoJu Ryu was promoted by Gogen Yamaguchi and the GoJu Kai, while Shuri Te / ShoRin Ryu was promoted by Gichin Funakoshi and the ShoToKai.

The RitsumeiKan University KaraTe Club "GoJu Ryu" Captain, was Nei Chu So, a native of Korea, who became a Japanese national.

The Waseda University KaraTe Club "ShoToKai" Captain was Geiko Funakoshi, son of Gichin Funakoshi.

This was the beginning of the popularization of KaraTe in Mainland Japan.

Having been recognized by BuTokuKai as a legitimate Japanese Martial Art, KaraTe was thriving now in Mainland Japan, and being promoted through competition between the College KaraTe Teams.

A Korean born, now Japanese national, named Masutatsu Oyama studied KaraTe under these two afore mentioned Team Captains, first under Geiko Funakoshi of ShotoKai and later under his fellow Korean expatriate Nei Chu So.

After years of training in both ShoToKai and GoJu Ryu, Masutatsu Oyama formed his own brand of KaraTe that he named KyokuShinKai.

Proving his new style through many challenge matches, and demonstrations, Oyama's KyokuShinKai became very popular all over the world.

Oyama had two champion students, Shigeru Oyama, and Tadashi Nakamura, that he later sent to the United States to teach, spread, and promote his KyokuShinKai. They developed many champion students of their own, often bringing them back to Japan to fight in their teacher's tournament.

After many years of serving as Oyama's representatives, these two men made the decision to branch off on their own, respectively. Nakamura forming his own SeiDo Juku Organization in 1985, and Oyama forming USA Oyama KaraTe.

Both Organizations and teachers became quite successful in the West.

Nakamura had a student named William Oliver, who became a very well know champion of both the Oyama events, and on the New York tournament scene. He was also Nakamura's Chief Instructor.

Many will remember him being showcased in the movie Fighting Black Kings, which was a vehicle for Oyama's KyokuShinKai, and tournament.

After many years, serving as Chief Instructor at Nakamura's DoJo, William Oliver decided that it was time for him to do as his teacher did, and as his teacher's teacher did, and in 2001, moved on to form his own organization, KenShiKai KaraTeDo, with the help of his classmates / students, Monte Allen, Leighton Barker, Leroy Bennett, and Paul Sookdar.

On November 20, 2004 William Oliver passed away in his DoJo.

KenShiKai KaraTe Do is now prospering in the various DoJo in New York, and South Africa, that belong to this organization.

One of these DoJo, is The Brooklyn KenShiKai DoJo, headed by Shihan Russell Bianca.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Shihan Russell Bianca, Kata Arakaki No Kon

Shihan, Russell Bianca of KenShiKai KaraTe Do, has been training in KoBuDo with me for quite a while now.  He is ranked 6th Dan with KenShiKai under Shuseki Shihan Monte Allen.

Having originally began his KaraTe training in USA GoJu, I recognize his 6th Dan with KenShiKai, and gave him the USAGA Fight Schools Network GoJu Hall # 280-6, as a member of my ShobuDo GoJu Jitsu Kai.

Shihan Bianca teaches at The Brooklyn KenShiKai DoJo in Brooklyn NY. 
A professional in many ways, he is an editor for The American Kennel Club Magazine, An accomplished musician, family man, and Sensei.

I am very proud of his progress in our KoBuDo training.

Here he performs the kata Arakaki No Kon.

On the topic of Martial Arts literacy, and literature. This video is about books...

The Zen Staff.

Here is a commercial video that I did for The Zen Staff. This is a weapon that was designed by my friend GMstr. Hui Cambrelen. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Malanoski Seminar at Daniel San Nisei GoJu School Miami Shores Florida

Osu! It's been a long time since I made a new post, but it seems apropos to begin posting again. So here goes... My seminar at Daniel San Nisei GoJu DoJo, went quite well. Shihan Daniel Lemus is a fine instructor, and his DoJo is full of very good students. I taught 2 separate classes last night, and a wonderful time was had by all. I look forward to returning to this fine DoJo in the near future.