I'll do whatever I can to help George out. He has been here for his teacher (Tomoyose Ryuko), the Uechi family (particularly Uechi Kanei), and the many people who wished to share in this unique martial and cultural treasure.
So as he helps us along, fair is fair. Come to Summerfest 2011 because...
George Mattson wrote:
I just wanted you to check the IUKF website, since I know you don’t normally have time to view it! J
In fact, I already knew you were ready and I [now] wish to formally notify you that after much soul searching research into the subject, would like you to attend the Saturday, Aug 6th Masters Celebration to accept your 8th degree black belt (Hachidan).
Ps. I’ll try to contact David [Finkelstein] to get his blessings.
So... You will honor me by honoring George and taking part in Summerfest 2011 - this year in new digs in Plymouth, MA. Obviously I will be there, as will many of the usual experts who give their all at camp and fill us in with even more goodies after-the-fact via published books, online discussions, and personal teaching.
Let's celebrate together. And just for the record... this isn't about me. This is about the people and processes that made my training and the training of several generations of my students possible. It's about furthering the fellowship - through good times and sad times - which helps each and every one of us realize our dreams.
On a similar note... George makes reference to Dave [Finkelstein] in the note to me. A bit of history... I started martial arts in another style. But I continued it at UVa when Rad Smith started a club there. He subsequently moved on to get his MBA at Harvard, and left the club to us. He gave me his blessings to seek further instruction elsewhere, which I picked up via David Finkelstein in New York. Dave subsequently "kicked me upstairs" to George. The rest is history. In any case, I never forget where I came from. Rad unfortunately passed away unexpectedly from ideopathic lung cancer. His lovely wife (artist Rena Koopman) and his two kids survive him. Dave however is around, and I told George that it's only fair for me to ask Dave for his blessing before proceeding.
I want to make this camp and my test a dedication to my late instructor Rad Smith (passed away from lung cancer) and my late highest-ranking female student Vicki Scheffler, a.k.a. "chef" (passed away from pancreatic cancer). Their bodies are now food for worms, but their spirits live on through me and all the lives they have touched.