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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 1999 10:27 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
I'm not really sure this thread will go anywhere. When you broach a difficult subject carefully, you run the risk of completely losing folks who aren't familiar.

When I started karate, life was very simple. I had a teacher (of Japanese Shorin ryu) and he taught me stuff I'd never seen before. At the time, he was approachable, and the karate seemed only loosely connected to the messenger.

Since then, I have seen my original karate group go through many tranformations, and I've seen personalities come and go. And I started studying Uechiryu when all was one organization and every dan was a hero to me. Now we have us guys and youse guys and the udder guys. We have our S.O.B.s, and they have their's. Joe's pissed with Larry. John was seen grabbing ass at Dana's school. Master X does his blocks funnny, and works part time as a bartender. No matter how hard you try, somebody is wearing their feelings out on a sleeve, and they will be trampled on by the udder guys. And they will misquote youse guys and make a major issue of it for years to come. Oye!!

In the mean time, Joe Smith and Susan Doe have just signed up for classes at the Main street dojo in Anytown U.S.A. They think their instructor walks on water and they can't wait to get to the next class. It's all new to them, and they don't know that they should be concerned about that ***hole in the next state.

I just had a great conversation with a frequent flyer of the roundtable today. He called me up during some spare time at work, and we downloaded about a half year of frustration. As he put it, "Do these guys who run the show REALLY want to leave a legacy of being the jerk who couldn't be in the room with the next person? Do most people even care?"

I don't know.... It's the end of the day. I think I'll pick up the kids, play with them at home, and then teach a roomfull of youngsters who care little about politics and a lot about what is really important in life. I should have made a resolution this year to save my energy for those who truly appreciate it.


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 12:16 am 
I think I'm beginning to understand why Funakoshi said that no one should make their living from teaching karate. Np disrespect to all of you who do just that, but once it becomes a form of commerce, the **** hits the fan. Just look at the Olympics, the recent crap just didn't happen when there wasn't money to be made.

Sometimes I think it wouldn't be too bad if laws like that proposed in NJ came to pass. In fact, maybe we should lobby for them to outlaw the martial arts. then we could go back to practicing in secret in the dead of night, get rid of all the hobbiests, and carreerists, and dilletants---oh well, maybe not Image.

Like someone once told me, "Forget all that crap and just train!"

Or conversely, "Don't let the bastards get you down." (I like it better in English, by the way.}

What I'm trying to say is this, I think: the only thing that's important when you get to the bottom of it is to train.

The politics, both in the larger society and within the martial arts world will go an and on and on, and although you have to fight the good fight when you can, but when it gets down to it, you are going to train or you are not going to train, and it's you who's going have to do the sweating. If you really love it, are really dedicated, and all that stuff, you are going to train no matter what. So when you train, just forget all that crap and train.

I took up this stuff to train, and that's what I intend on doing.

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maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 2:32 am 
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Location: Washington DC
Bill,
You and Maurice have nailed down the important points, ... training, and passing along the art to those who are really interested and still maintain the joy of it all. When you've been around anything for a while it's easy to get jaded and forget the "fun" part of it. I'm new to the Uechi world (a guppy, or whatever JD uses as an analogy) but already I've seen some of the "dark side" and it ain't pretty. I look forward to sharing the "fun" parts of our art with others who are like-minded. If it isn't fun, why are we doing it? (yeah, yeah,.. the self defense part -- fun has many meanings; but you get my point) I am hoping to find "Uechi friends" when I return to the states, not "Uechi-enemies".

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[This message has been edited by Drew Doolin (edited 02-24-99).]


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 3:12 am 
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Posts: 2423
Location: MARSHFIELD, MA. USA
Well, some body also said that when you have two people on a street corner discusing politics its a caucus, when you have three, it's a political party.

"Was 'non illegitimi carborundum' the non english phrase in question?

Will somebody please fill me in on the proposed law in New Jersey that was referred to?

What concerns me is that when a government really gets 'afraid' of its own populace, many things seem to get 'outlawed'.

Nunchakus are 'illegal' in Masachusetts. Shouldn't it be a bit of embarrassment for a State to outlaw two pieces of wood tied together with a bit of cord? You must be awfully acareful here not to kick someone with your shoe on. That's "assault with a deadly weapon-to wit 'a shod foot'. these things are well intentioned attempts to protect us" from, in large part, ourselves.

JOHN T

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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 5:34 am 
Hi John.

It seems like laws are passed to punish the innocent and protect the guilty.<font color=orange>

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Allen at [email]uechi@ici.net">uechi@ici.net</A> on <A HREF="http://www.uechi-ryu.org[/email]


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 7:09 am 
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Posts: 181
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Glasheen Sensei:

Quite the conundrum you posit Dr. Bill. While I suspect there is truth in Mr. Libby's observation, as well as in that of Mr. Thurston's, I suspect it is much more complex and perhaps a bit more family oriented. While you may have started in the good old days when we all were together, that must have been before my time. The only time I know of when Uechi was wholly united in this country was when Mr. Matson stepped off the plane from Okinawa. Others who studied there before and after him have trained and taught on their own, foresaking any ties in this or any other country.

While we have at times seemed as one, there was even then a strong undercurrent of distrust. For those who trace their Uechi lineage to Mr. Mattson, as he has observed, there have been times of fractionalizing and factionalizing. He has lost long time students (and I suspect friends) for reasons as varied as the personalities involved.

Should we care about all of this and does it make a difference? Probably. The one thing the efforts at unification did prompt was an exchange between various practitioners around the country. No offense, but my original instructor wouldn't have known New England from New Helvetia. He trained on Okinawa. He married an Okinawan. He taught in California. He saw no need to check in with anyone else. The call to check in, issued by NAUKA, caused many of us in what were then issolated Uechi areas to seek out others practicing this style.

Thanks to Mr. Mattson, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Chrappa, and most of all Mr. Earle, I have been able meet other crazies who enjoy doing this weird dance as much as I do. And now, thanks to folks like Allan Dollar and Joan Niede, I have a ton of company in California to do it with.

What concerns me about the lack of unity, is what concerned many seniors when they began going around the country in the seventies...this stuff can take some scary turns in evolution. While one would suppose there is little opportunity to get creative or to corrupt San Chin, it's been done. Now, while folks in this far flung land were always free to slap a Uechi sticker on their gi and call themselves grand master, a lack of unity aides such a person's efforts. Who's to say they aren't a master? Okinawa? Mr. Mattson? Their students?

At least when we pretended to seek unity, a self promoted grand master had to deal with the probability he or she would be exposed. Now, I think outside New England, anyone can be a Uechi grand master, and it is unlikely anybody will care or catch on. Over time, this will do for Uechi what rapid expansion, commercialization, and lack of unity have done for so many other styles. So Dr. Bill, get ready for McUechi, its hot, fresh, tasty, and completely useless in a fight, but who cares.

Peace.
Robb in Sacramento


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 3:12 pm 
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Posts: 17068
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Nothing like a good workout and a night sleep to recharge the emotional batteries.

To all - my heart is warmed by the responses. Could it be.....that some seniors could actually learn from their STUDENTS? Obstructionists will not get their way if students are like water on the landscape. J.D.'s post brings a few thoughts to my brain.

The first that comes to mind is the last dan promotional that was held. We in the Mid-Atlantic area have - fortunately - been able to ignore organizational boundaries and put together some pretty special workouts and promotionals. The last big promotional was held in the D.C. area in the fall, and all the big poobah organizations in Uechi were represented (even if quietly so). One of my students was going up for shodan. He's about 6 foot plenty and has the body of a bamboo plant. He was matched in sparring up against one of Rik Lostrito's gang, a short guy with a very athletic build. This guy also spars in the same dojo with the fellow who won sparring in Alan Dollar's Golden Gate tournament last fall. Anyhow our hero (???) got into a grappling situation with this shorter, athletic fellow....and got dumped. He wasn't satisfied. So he charged in FIVE more times into close range and grabbed this shorter, athletic person.....and got dumped FIVE more times. Wow, what a surprise. After the third time, my head was buried in my hands. I couldn't bear to watch.

My shodan candidate did pass his test. He did some very stupid things in this sparring match, but it didn't take away from his overall performance so much that he was failed. He was unanimously passed by a multi-organizational board. I was, however, a little bit embarrassed. When it came time to announce the result, the first thing I did was have his young challenger come forward. I then asked my student to thank him for his wuppin. I couldn't have arranged a better lesson. I guarantee he'll never forget. There were extenuating circumstances....but the lesson was still crystal clear.

There is something very unnatural about isolation. In nature we see what happens when part of biology is isolated from the whole. These beautiful, odd birds evolve. Then the gap is bridged, the Starlings come in, and POOOOF...no more beautiful odd bird.

And since we have Robb here, I'll bring up basketball. The A.C.C. seems to put more teams in the NCAA tournament every year. Why? Probably because there are a couple of good coaches that create dynasties, and these dynasties wupp up on all the other teams in the conference. Does it destroy them? Hell no. It only makes them stronger. Last year the Virginia coach was "let go" because too many of his recruits were ending up in jail. Good! Virginia stole Pete Gillen from Providence (take that, Raffi!!). Poor Pete Gillen comes in with only six scholarship players left, and a handful of walk ons. As Pete said in an interview before the season started, "I sleep like a baby at night; I wake up every few hours and cry." In the beginning of the year they were trounced, pasted, destroyed, humiliated, pummeled, wasted, etc, etc, etc. Duke comes into University Hall, and the third string has a dunk fest. But guess what's been happening? This last month Gillen has been taking this rag-tag band and winning more games than he has been losing. Last weekend only a prayer of a shot with one second left kept the perennially successful but universally-hated North Carolina Tar Heels from being beaten by this gang of short nobodys. Guillen's gang made them look very average. If it doesn't absolutely destroy you....

So....you think you have something special in your exclusive group? Keep on thinking it. In the mean time, those that know better will be quietly and humbly making their rounds and getting their butts beat. Many will laugh.....


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 6:00 pm 
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Posts: 2423
Location: MARSHFIELD, MA. USA
Allen:

I am afraid you are quite correct, but, there are well intentioned people behind most of the legislation, even if I don't agree with it.

JD: Work out or shut up sounds right to me. I actually had a chance to see, however, "Sanchin" really being done "wrong" at the behest (again well intentioned) of a Senior some 8 years ago. At the time I was just visiting a well respected Dojo. The Senior (no names OK) at the Dojo asked me to watch his Sanchin. I don't know why, since he seriously "outranked" me then and now.

I won't go into details. However the response I gave to his question was "with all due respect Sensei, it seemed to me you were leaning a little back". This was taken in perfectly good grace accompanied by a plausible but incorrect (can't help it no ego intended) explanation.

In the interests of instellar amity I really made no further response, leaving it to others to make a perceived correction. The correction, as far as I know was made at the next visit by some Okinawan Senoirs.

Now trust me when I say I have no ego on this point. I go into my Sensei's Dojo with, I hope, a "white belt mind" to be corrected and, as you suggested, to work out. Period.

I don't care if the guy running the Hojo Undo and Jubi Undo is "Junior" to me. (He is slightly, but I actually like his form and skills better than my own-he works out MORE and is "sharper".)

The point is in agreement with yours to emphasize the notion that without some "structure" even "Sanchin" CAN be misinterpreted fairly aggregiously. That's all in the past and I hope the point is made in agreement with yours without me sounding egotistical.


Your scholarship is way ahead of mine BTW.

JOHN T

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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 9:00 pm 
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Posts: 988
Location: Randolph, MA USA 781-963-8891
Dear Sensei Glasheen and the rest:

I certainly know what you are saying about politics and how it affects training. When I started Uechi (many years ago), I didn't know or care what orgainization my sensei belonged to. I was more concerned with going up the ranks and learning from the many black belts in the dojo (remember John T.?). I more than once got my ego handed to me for my enthusiasm. But that's ok; some of the best lessons of my life.

Anyway, as I moved my way through the ranks and began to get more curious as to why "we" were not affiliated with anyone or anybody from the Uechi family. I remember my sensei telling me why everyone else was jerks and only out for personal glory. Of course as a youngster, I believed him and stayed very loyal and "out of the loop". But as time moved on I moved out on my own due to problems with my sensei. I moved to another dojo (that was also on their own) and continued to train; however, this dojo belonged to a "American organization" who didn't know anything about Uechi. They were just somebody to verify rank.

Well, to make this shorter than it should, I went on to buy this dojo and swore that I would remain apolitcal and separate from everyone. I sought out various Uechi people to train with, but always refused to join any organization. But then it hit me. Why am I doing the same thing that my sensei did to me? Why am I unintentionally withholding information and keeping the "legitimacy" from my black belts? I decided to seek out those people who my original sensei spoke badly of and see for myself. I went to all the people in my area (GEM, Walter Mattson, Frank Gorman, Bob Bethony, etc.) and decided that Sensei GEM was not the person my sensei said he was. He was extremely willing to help me with the art, and although he was the head of one of the "factions" of the newly split Uechi style, he never pressured me to join his group. Well, as everyone knows, I did and have not regretted by decision yet. I still do not care what group a person belongs to as I will openly learn from anyone or teach anyone. That's what it is all about. And it is a pleasure to know that my Sensei (GEM) believes the same thing. Life is too short to go on bickering about things none of us know anything about personally.

With this in mind, Stan Crump (the person who won Alan Dollar Sensei's tournament) was once my student and part of the SOKE. Well, he moved and began training down in Dixie and has done extremely well with his new sensei (Rick) which is part of Shinjo's group. Although I give Sensei Rick all the credit for Stan, Stan called me after his victory and promotion to Shodan and thanked me for all I've done. As nice as that was, the point is that two people from two different organizations helped create a wonderful talent in the martial arts. Politics meant absolutly nothing to Stan (and I hope they never do). This is what it is all about. Hopefully, this new generation will see fit to learn from all of what we do and have done, and have the sense to fix what we have not been able to do as of yet.

I think I have rambled on long enough.

Yours in Budo,

Mike


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 1999 11:02 pm 
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Posts: 92
Location: Washington DC
"SHUT UP AND TRAIN!" Ok, who's gonna get the silk screen done and distribute these new Uechi T-shirts! Put me down for one!

Anthony: I am headed your way in late June or early July (Have to get my car out of storage in Ocala)

D2


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 1999 12:21 am 
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Location: Wheeling, IL, USA
The summer camp I spent most of my childhood attending had the slogan, "People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges." I wish I was mature enough to remember that at times.
David Kahn


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 1999 2:10 am 
Mike, I like what you said:

"Life is too short to go on bickering about things none of us know anything about personally. "

This forum seems to have been content so far to talk about negative mentalities amongst members of different groups. There is NO reason to be negative against other groups unless you want to be. It's the sameo sameo: my style is better than yours is, or my instructor is better than yours. Slowly this attitude is changing but I don't envision that it will ever go away.

What about this? There are many senseis, instructors, and students, in New England alone, who welcome others into their dojo and also visit the dojo of other 'groups.' Certainly there are many more then not and these positive attitudes far outweigh the negative ones and deserve more mention then what they are currently receiving. <font color=orange>
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Allen at [email]uechi@ici.net">uechi@ici.net</A> on <A HREF="http://www.uechi-ryu.org[/email] </font>

[This message has been edited by moulton (edited 02-25-99).]


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 1999 11:36 pm 
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Posts: 181
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
X, M.D.

I thought I had. Peace.


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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 1999 2:28 am 
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Posts: 2423
Location: MARSHFIELD, MA. USA
J.D. San:

Compliments given free of charge when earned.

MIKE!!!!:

Hey pal I learned as much from you as you did from me!!!! It was really good seeing you when I stopped by, I will try to come by again. I remember how bad I felt when you "earned those SHoken pins". A lesson taught well teaches the teacher and the student. Bob G. , originally my student and now the same rank as myself and still my friend and partner is the best lesson I ever had.


Allen: Points well taken.



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 Post subject: A rose by any other name
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 1999 2:36 am 
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Posts: 2423
Location: MARSHFIELD, MA. USA
P.S.:

Bill Sensei et al:

Sifu (which I am priviliged to have as well as a good Sensei, and as I was privileged to have GEM Sensei help me so much in the '80's)
States that sometimes the BEST way to learn something is to try to teach it.


The T Shirt idea sounds great.


JOHN T

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