A week ago Wednesday I got a call from my teacher, Art Rabesa. He was going to Brockton that night to work out at Bob Bethoney's dojo and invited me to go along. I have been very reluctant to do kata in front of anyone mainly because of my handicap and inability to "do them the way I use to". But I packed my gi and picked up Art at 6 PM and off we went. It was without a doubt, a night to remember. Bobby was finishing up the kid's class and in the back room was Van Canna, working power techniques on the heavy bag. Van put a monster bear hug on me through which I felt his sincere concern and friendship. What a welcome for someone who was very nervous even putting on the gi. Art and Van worked on some of Art's favorites, in close power kicks and strikes. Once Bobby got the main class going, he joined us in the small back room. The lights were turned off, one door slightly ajar letting in a small ray of light. We had loosened up and proceeded one after the other to do kata. Each took turns individually for the other three. I can not hope to describe how this has impressed me. Being very dim, the intensity, the shear power and explosiveness could be felt throughout the entire room. I felt myself become part of this and these three were so patient and helpful to me, before long I was doing kata as I never ever thought I could do again and steadily improving by the minute. Pointers in how to adapt without hurting or injuring my body. I quickly realized that here was some of the most elite,the ultimate Uechi-Ryu practitioners. Their goal, to bring their uechi to the limits when there is no limit and their knowing that there is even more. The mutual respect shown, the left hand being a student, the right hand being a teacher, each thriving off the other. What an honor for me to be a part of this. I felt like a white belt all over again. It makes me realize how fortunite for all of us, for me, to be friends, associates, students, of men like George Mattson, Van Canna, Art Rabesa, Bob Bethaney and so many others who have reached such a plateau and continue to reach for more. Through my sickness, my loss of Uechi-Ryu, this has been an emotional time for me. I know I can never ever be in the same boat with these men but they have convinced me I can continue on,adapting where I need to, and seek whatever is out there for me.My sincere thanks to the above mentioned friends for leading me to one more step up. I have taken it and am going on to the next. I was back up with them this Wednsday night and will be going up again and again. I hope to post more about these sessions that have inspired me to "Go for it"!! I am not handicapped!!! One more thing, the post title, "The Torture Chamber" came from Van, not me. He named it, they didn't torture me even once!
[This message has been edited by caddybill (edited 01-15-99).]