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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 1999 4:18 am 
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Sad day indeed !

Regardless of any animosity between Mattson -sensei and some Okinawan seniors for "sins" past , or their perception of what GEM's " leadership " is at the moment ; fact is, it cannot be denied George Mattson was the pioneer of American Uechi Ryu and that he was very instrumentally formative to the system's present day popularity in North America and , especially in New England where large numbers of Uechi Ryu and Shoei Ryu coexist !

Snubbing GEM personally is one thing , but what about the huge segment of seniors who still love and respect the likes of Tomoyose , Nakahodo ,Yonamine et-al ! Surely they cannot be mad at us all ! They have known us so well over the long years ! And what about the hundreds of Uechi/Shoei and affiliated Okinawan Systems left hanging in disappointment ! Now they will have to spend thousands of dollars just to get in a workout with the masters way out of town ! What will the next generations remember ?

These new generations don't know and don't want to know and don't care about all the political nuances afflicting the "organizations" like a cancer ! They really don't care and should not care about any vacuous Cultural clash ! They were excited at the prospect of meeting and working out with the legends of yore ! And what do they get ? " We won't go to New England because of George Mattson" !

And what of the example it sets before the other systems ?

The Irony is that in spite of this snub I , GEM and the rest of the seniors would always welcome those Okinawan gentlemen in our homes and dojos as Royal guests and we will probably travel to Georgia to pay our respects to Tomoyose sensei !




------------------
[V[/b]an [C[/b]anna


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 1999 2:30 pm 
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Posts: 468
Location: Marlboro,MA US
Van Canna Sensie as usual hits it right on the head and hard. What will our students remember? Why nothing of course! Because of the stupid, petty bull that happened twenty years ago my students are penalized, they may never see the likes of a Nakahodo. For over twenty five years I have personally done everything that I can to propagate this beautiful thing we call Uechi. Now I cannot see teachers that I have known since I was a teen? This is leadership? I do not wonder anymore why people start their own 'American thing'. My fault, your fault, their fault, basically the whole Uechi world is embarassed (or maybe even an embarassment). I cannot speak for anyone else but I as a dojo owner, and long time Uechi practitioner have just about had it.

T. Rose
Rokudan, Renshi, Shihan


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 1999 4:26 pm 
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
Tracy and all:

This is not about anything that happened 20 years ago. If you remember, I hosted many Okinawan seniors throughout the 80s. I considered all close friends.

I can't remember the exact date when the split occurred. It is a date I'd just as soon forget. However, this is the date when GEM became an enemy to many.

It all boils down to a decision All Uechi seniors had to make. As it turned out, I was the only senior who elected to remain part of SOKE(The Uechi Family)!

On Okinawa, Kanmei Uechi stood by himself.

Ironically, this was a decision that was made with my teacher's recommendation! At the time my teacher was essentially retired from karate and certainly inactive in the politics taking place. Then all of a sudden, after my decision was announced, my teacher was asked by a politician (government type) to become President of the new organization. If you understand anything about Japanese protochol, this was a request that could not be refused.

Was this move designed to motivate me into falling into line? I think so. But I was determined to work with SOKE and attempt to rebuilt this organization.

Since the split, Kanmei remains pretty much alone on Okinawa. However, outside of Okinawa, the majority of dojo worldwide, have returned to SOKE! If the information coming out of Okinawa is correct, reconciliation of any kind appears slim. . . instead of a single or two or three organizations, there are now over 20 who have their representation in foreign countries and who issue their own dan certificates. (have you seen the fees structure for this piece of paper?)

What is the real issues that motivate executive decisions from Okinawa? In my humble opinion, they have nothing to do with martial arts. . . nothing to do with Bushido. . . nothing to do with tradition or history of Uechi-ryu. Its about power and money. Pure and simple. Naturally my detractors need a reason to dislike me and what I do. Because of my work, the world was introduced to the Okinawans. Nothing they can say or do will change this.

I don't take their negative actions personally. I understand why they are doing what they are doing. Its just business and politics!


------------------
GEM

[This message has been edited by gmattson (edited 03-12-99).]


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 1999 8:52 pm 
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Posts: 468
Location: Marlboro,MA US
from Bill Glasheen's forum:

Mark J Brelsford
Junior Member
posted 03-12-99 01:08 PM

Rengokai gone wrong?? Or......

The Other Side of the Coin


I tell you, I have seen and heard lots in the past few days about how upset folks are that various Okinawan Masters are not coming, I for one am glad they are not! As a member of Oki Ku Kai (OKK), I am glad my teachers have decided to not attend a gathering sponsored by Soke. I base this on my knowledge of a culture that few Americans seem to understand; sorry to say it is very much a them and us world. I find it hard that for people that train in an Oriental based mindset, it appears that few truly understand how others might be thinking. Now I know many by now are running for the corners and diving under desks, but wait a second. "WE" are not
members of Soke, and "WE" therefore do not want to attend a function not sponsored by OKK folks. Its that simple. For the folks that are taking this personally, its not, please don't read between the lines and try to make more out of something that it is not. I mean that's like being a diehard baseball fan, say for Boston, but you do your cheering at a game for New York. My basic question is… Why are folks worried about what some other group choices to do or not do? Also I get a kick out about, these "bonds of friendship"… I again see this as a one sided event. Why I can remember folks saying they do not need the Okinawans, and now they are upset because they are not visiting them, go figure. Okinawans, like many Asians, have very strong moral values; they stand up for what they believe in, regardless of the cost. They are team players as one can see in the business world. Okinawans take the term FRIEND very seriously. Think about it, if the average
person meets, shall we say, a fellow businessperson once a year (if lucky) and then only for a brief time, perhaps at an annual convention. Would you consider this
person a friend? Not likely, more like an acquaintance perhaps. Some might not like
this better term. Okinawan people are not quick to jump into such "Friendly" ideas.
On the other hand, Americans seem to need this; perhaps to make themselves out to be more then they are, for their peer's sake or even for their students. Sad but in some cases true. One last point, as for building bridges, it is much like kids in a playground. If one kid does not get along with his play mates, how many parents out there would tell their child to just ignore the other kid. You stay on your side of the fence and we'll stay on ours. If folks want to be friends then that's good, so be it. However, it seems like some might just be trying to make things happen that others want nothing to do with. Perhaps it's the drive of the ego or maybe for money, who knows. It seems like folks are making this out to be more then it should be, but I guess that's the American way.
Think about it!


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 1999 9:31 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Folks

Please see my response to this.

I think it best to not carry someone else's post over to another forum. The context can be lost. Best to just refer someone directly to the post as well as the context of the post. Let's keep the flames focused on the original fire.

Thanks

Bill


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 1999 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 148
Location: Boca Raton, FL
"This is not about anything that happened 20 years ago....It all boils down to a decision All Uechi seniors had to make. As it
turned out, I was the only senior who elected to remain part of SOKE(The Uechi Family)!"


George is absolutely correct. I was not part of the Uechi world 20 years ago but after joining, I was indoctrinated into the politics of it all by my instructor (he will go unnamed - suffice it to say he came to FL from Michigan and is now back there).

At the time of THE split, my instructor made his choice to follow the Okikukai, as did most other instructors at that time. When I opened my school, he was absolutely floored when I told him I was going to join with SOKE. Bad blood? You better believe it! We haven't spoken since.

Each instructor made his decision based on personal beliefs, as did I. Unfortunately, that decision labeled me an outcast. Every other Uechi school in the lower half of Florida was either Kenukai or Okikukai. If you remember, George, you finally got me hooked up with Buzz Durkin, who is also affiliated with SOKE, and I haven't looked back since.

The sad part is that I, and probably many others of you as well, know and even practice with many of "them." I had always assumed that once the senior-senior-seniors were all dead and buried, that perhaps the hatchet could be buried as well.

Unfortunately, it appears that the tradition of spite will now live on with the next generation of leaders.

So who really loses here? Right - all the students who don't give a crap about the politics - but would really have liked the opportunity to "touch and see" the legends they have heard about all these years.

What a way to perpetuate the faith.

Moe Mensale


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 1999 2:37 am 
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" Saevi tranquillus in undis "

{ Calm amid the raging waters }


------------------
Van Canna


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 1999 5:39 am 
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Posts: 468
Location: Marlboro,MA US
An honest and to the point posting! No one, American or Okinawan, can argue Sensie Mattson's loyalty and devotion to Uechi ryu. Mr. Mattson, you are truly the father of American Uechi ryu.

Maybe it is time for an independent National American Organization.

In the interim, all we can do as students is respect and support our teachers.

All we can do as teachers is respect and support are students.

This is the essence of Martial Arts. Where are the martial artists???

T. Rose
Rokudan, Renshi, Shihan


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 1999 6:21 pm 
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
I was asked to "sweep this under the rug" with the "official" announcement of the cancellation.

Dan was kind enough to publicly announce the cancellation of Boston and one Calif seminar due to the age of the participants. The other seminar was being conducted by his student, who was upset with this decision, but defered to his instructor's attempt to "save face" for me!

I learned long ago that the vermin of the world communicate among one another, spreading half truths, lies and innuendoes. This gossip then spreads unchecked. By the time the principals learn they are being smeared by a hate campaign, the damage has been wide spread and impossible to check.

Rather that assume that everyone would make "nice-nice" with this news, I decided to go public with the events surrounding the tour. I'm sure some people are upset with my circumventing the gossip web. . . the truth seldom is as satisfying to these people as the stories they invent.

There is no question in my mind that this situation was orchastrated by a single Okinawan, solely to get back at me for personal reasons. Certainly he would not rest with simply having the seminar cancelled. He would certainly capitalize on the opportunity to rub my face in his power!

I could not "sweep" the truth under the rug.

Its over and it is time to move on. SOKE continues to maintain an "open door" policy for our activities. We will not knowingly schedule an activity to conflict with another group's activity. We will continue to act in a positive manner, building Uechi-ryu rather than spending all our time trying to destroy another group. We will continue to communicate with all students and teachers, enabling them to make informed and intelligent choices regarding their martial arts decisions.

When the option presents itself. . . we will "Shut up and Train!"

------------------
GEM


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 1999 7:51 pm 
Mattson -sensei,

I am, by nature, a Ronin, an thus i have an inbred mistrust of organizations.( The good thing about being a pessimist is that you're hardly ever disappointed).

Every style I have every been associated with, directly or tangentally (sp?) has been torn about by political machinations and fractures. Shotokan --well, there are a few books that could be written there, Shorin Ryu (which I've never officially studied, but have been close enough to see the schisms), Washin Ryu (the first dojo I ever trained at was run by a former student of Hidy Ochiai who split for ostensive reasons that I tought were pure bull**** and ego). Even Wu style taijiquan was wracked by political fights and rancour--and this was within the Wu family itself. And on it goes.

The bad thing is that it all just gets in the way of training and communication.

I'm sorry to see you involved in this turmoil, but I am gratified that your reaction is honest, forthright, and restrained. Your attitude is an inspiration.

I am proud to know you and be associated with you, however indirectly.

Now, everyone just shut up and train.

------------------
maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 1999 11:28 pm 
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Really folks , " the thing speaks for itself " !

Yes , I can understand cultural schisms ; they are inevitable , but the answer is to always put up a front of mutual respect for the benefit of future Uechi generations without any need to have to kiss ass ! It is a two way street plain and simple regardless of our status as 'foreigners' ! The Okinawan / American blend has done wonders for the system world wide !

It has been written that those who propagate evil reports, frequently invent them, as detraction is bred from envy in self aggrandizing deficient minds !

Mindless detraction always proves the weakness as well as meanness of the one who employs it engendering a conscious inability to maintain a reputable standing on honorable grounds !

"Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat " [ Fosdick]

How true ! Judging by the tone of the response to Mattson sensei' candor , the OKK mistake was a colossal one mired in Cadmean victory __ A victory placing the victor in greater danger than before ! In Greek mythology ,Cadmus slew a dragon and sowed it's teeth from which sprang armed warriors who attacked him !

Try as they will , the "vermin of the world" will never prevail upon Mattson sensei who is loved by thousands as an American Uechi Ryu icon and who commands great respect and loyalty for baring his soul in public and for his open door policy and utmost consideration of all practitioners ! Why else do you think his Saturday morning classes at the Hut are jammed packed with 50 or more students representing a cross section of our system including Shoei !

What it boils down to , much depends upon a man's courage when he is slandered and reviled ! Weak men will be crushed by detraction , but the brave hold on and succeed ! Such is Mattson sensei , and he will be enriched by this sordid experience the world over !

I wish more of you would join in and be counted in support , But as I have said before on my forum , when the going gets rough , most people dive under tables and hide behind heavy drapes !






------------------
Van Canna


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 1999 12:09 am 
It is so easy to talk bad and spread juicy, often untrue, rumors about others and so hard to talk good about them. Why?

Why is it that human nature has it that it takes 5% effort to spread 95% hate and discontent in stride but to get 5% success in generating bonds of union, comraderie and friendship it requires 100% continued commitment and vigilance.

I learned a lot more of and about Uechi-ryu and related groups and their people that I care to since I wrote my first Uechi-ryu book in 1995 than I have during the entire 20 years prior to that. Some people from different 'groups' continually fed me negative information; most I have since learned from research, was pure unadulterated bull****.

One thing that I learned during that time was that there is a common thread, an adgenda if you will, to turn people against others. And it sometimes sounds too convincing. so there's good and bad. I'll take the good.

Another thing I learned over the past 3 years was a piece of who Mattson Sensei is. He is one of the few who posesses the shining qualities of the Oak, the Pine, and the Willow in abundance.

Real blunt? If it were not for he, there would be no Uechi-ryu in the USA today, only splinter groups of what could have been. Not only has he survived, but he has thrived; and because of him so has Uechi-ryu. No one else could have done it.

Is there anyone else of his stature and continuously in the public eye who frequently welcomes EVERYONE into a circle of friendship, no matter which master they hail to?<font color=red>

Allen - uechi@ici.net - http://www.uechi-ryu.org<font color=gray>

[This message has been edited by Allen M. (edited 03-13-99).]


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 1999 1:02 am 
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Location: Long Island
My advanced apologied if I ramble.

Well, after writing an entire diatribe about my anger over the whole "politcal" mess and erasing it, considering my status as "plankton" in the scheme of things, I will only say "Publicaly" that this web site is a testament unto itself about the Man who owns and operates it. (I've already said privately how I feel about it)

I've been coming to this website for I think about 4 years now. I have NEVER ever seen an article, email, post, topic, etc., written by sensei Mattson that spoke derogotory about any organization or person here or on Okinawa. I don't know what they call it on Okinawa or the rest of the country, or in other organizations, but on Long Island it's called CLASS. Some others of you have it, most of us do not. I come to this site Every Single Day. When the link module is fixed I will have it kicking ass again only better. I will read what the seniors have to say pertaining to "Martial Arts" and learn from it. When I can I will purchase tapes and books to learn even more. That is my support. I have been searching the web for quality martial arts sites for a long time now and nothing ever has come close to this site no matter what the style. Someone must love Uechi Ryu an awful lot to put so much time, money, and effort in it.

I do see a lot of (paraphrasing of course) "We don't care your organizaion or style, come on down and train"

So, until I see an article posted "Other so-called Uechi organizations and why I hate them and the people in them" I will continue coming here. This place has an amazing pool of talent from all over the place from not only different Uechi organizations, but different styles/systems as well.

I guess when I had my first knee jerk reaction to the What's New, I imagined the kind of hurt and disappoiment that must have been associated with it.

I want to go on and say what is really on my mind but why? Add more logs to the fire? From plankton no less? I'll just Shut Up And Train.

Scott


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 1999 2:30 am 
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Location: Boston, MA
I think if folks continue to train at the hut, attend camp, join in regional workouts and seminars, and continue to post their thoughts and questions on training here, these will say much about how we feel about our training and association with GEM.

david


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 Post subject: Rengokai fiasco
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 1999 8:52 am 
I have already posted my feelings on Bill's forum under the thread "Karate DO", so I do not intend to bore you with them here. I just want to add my support for the concerns expressed by Van Sensei on this thread.

Rick


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