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Postby Van Canna » Tue May 11, 1999 10:26 pm

Just back from Florida where I attended the Rengokai seminar for the purpose of paying my respects to Master Tomoyose sensei 10th Dan__ a true Uechi-Ryu icon ! As I have said before in these pages , Tommy-san And I go back 30 years and I had come to respect him not only for his great karate prowess but because of his warm and friendly personality and great wisdom !

I was not disappointed ! Upon entering the facility I came face to face with him as he sat among the masters facing the main entrance ! He got up in astonishment to come and hug me as a long lost friend __ very emotional indeed ! We spent the day almost glued together during his teachings and his breaks where he invited me to join him in the masters' private quarters for refreshments and heart to heart talks !

While waiting for his turn to teach , master Tomoyose and I sat for two hours on a bench in the main gym talking and dissecting Uechi katas, techniques and concepts ; soon a small group of students , including the formidable Bob Otto , gathered around to listen to great words of wisdom and were well received by this great man ! I told him I was a guest of Basset Sensei's dojo and some of his students were present for his seminar ! He wanted to meet each one of them , including Tony and Lori and he went out of his way in giving them much personalized attention with their katas and questions !

I was by his side all day long and what a privilege ! He told me that he has promised Mattson sensei to visit Boston soon and give seminars ; what a dream it would be to have him back in Boston ! He said that Mattson sensei was the first American who worked hard enough and was ready enough to receive all Three main forms in his initial Eighteen months of everyday training in Okinawa as his private student ! A first by Okinawan standards !

He is very proud of Mattson sensei and his senior students ! He was also proud to introduce me to the other masters at the Rengokai event as the most senior student of Mattson sensei , his first American student ! He invited me to visit Okinawa as his guest and reaffirmed the fact that anyone regardless of affiliation is welcome to train with any teacher !

He told me in private and then to the general body of students some wonderful stories of old never heard before ! A true Uechi-Ryu Patriarch , a gentleman and a very wise elder ! He said to me to always remember that in our karate practice there are two lives to look up to ; the life of our physical actions and the life of our minds and hearts and that we will be remembered in thoughts and deeds !

He touched Lori by the shoulders and told me she was very strong ; he took a liking to her determined performance and gave her his personal attention ! We all came away enriched by the experience !

The only disgrace for Americans is that out of a total of 200 students , only a handful [ nine] Uechi/ \shohei students showed up , all Basset sensei students ! The rest of the Florida Uechi/shohei were very conspicuous by their absence and Tomoyose -sensei was very sad ! What a bunch of idiots to miss out such an opportunity to drop in and pay their respects to a great man ! They might have learned something in the process !

In contrast , the other systems were well supported by a great group of students !

The parting was very sad ; I sincerely hope to see him again soon !

Wherever this may find you Tommy-san , thank you for the friendship , continued inspiration and gallantry , your smiles , gentility and nobility , humility and artistry , fine ideals , consideration , memories and dreams , grace and power , good breeding and manners ! You have the art of showing all Uechi brothers , by your external signs , the internal regard you have for them , much like our beloved /master Kanei Uechi did during his last visit to the US before he moved on !

Thank you for contributing much to the ease and happiness of those with whom you touched with your words !

Van Canna
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Postby Allen M. » Wed May 12, 1999 10:21 am

These posts about the Rengokai Seminar are learning experiences for us all. Thank you Van for sharing with us.

Allen - [email]"></A> - <A HREF="[/email]

[This message has been edited by Allen M. (edited 05-12-99).]
Allen M.


Postby Van Canna » Sat May 15, 1999 11:30 pm

< The rest of the Florida Uechi/shohei
were very conspicuous by their absence and Tomoyose -sensei was
very sad ! What a bunch of idiots to miss out such an opportunity
to drop in and pay their respects to a great man !>

In reading this over I realize I let my emotions carry me over into a tastless and out of line remark ! My apologies to the Florida Uechi / shohei practitioners !

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Postby paul giella » Sun May 16, 1999 1:01 pm

A reminiscence of my own would not be out of place here. As a seventeen year old brown belt just starting to get ready for my shodan test some time the next year, I had the good fortune to be invited into the back dojo with a number of other brown belts for a small group discussion with Master Tomoyose during his trip to Boston in 1969 or '70. After sharing some of the old karate legends he got up, pointed to Buzz Durkin (who was an ikkyu at the time and would be the next one to make shodan) and said "this is your next kata. Watch carefully!" He then proceeded to do a sanseiryu with such blazing speed that I could not pick out one single movement, if I had to tell what exactly it was, and I did not even recognize that there was a kick in the kata until I learned it a year later. He must have seen the astonishment in our young faces... he laughed his characteristic, delightful laugh and sat back down. Such is the stuff legends are made of!
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Postby Moe Mensale » Sun May 16, 1999 6:27 pm


I know I missed out on a truly remarkable event, one that may not be repeated for some time, if ever. Personally, I took no affront from your remark. I am sure that every Florida uechi/shohei/etc-ka had a reasonable excuse for not attending (prior commitments, didn't know, to far to drive, etc, etc).

But maybe it also pointed out how difficult it is to truly bury the hatchet and get on with life. The political **** in uechiworld seems to have a life of its own that continues to be handed down from (some) teachers to student, just like our beloved kata.

Can we small fry settle this? I truly doubt it unless all the senior-senior-seniors are dead and buried and we get truly fed up with all the bull****. No, all you SSS's (Okinawan, American, whatever) need to get together and iron out whatever perceived differences there are, eliminate the egos (a difficult task at best) and JUST SHUT UP AND TRAIN!

No disrespect intended to you.

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Postby gmattson » Wed May 19, 1999 2:01 pm

David Berndt asked me to post the following: GEM

Dear George,

I've been to several seminars the last few weekends, including the rengokai, and am now getting caught up on mail and email. I noticed Mr Cannas comments about a poor turn out for Master Tomoyose. Having been in almost daily contact with Adrian Ellis, AAU host in Orlando, regarding the Rengokai, I'd
like to point out that very few Uechi dojos even knew about seminar. He tried to get in touch with several on the west coast of Florida (a large contingent), but do to last minute planning, it was too late for dojos to
come. This coupled with a Sunday Mothers day, made things even more difficult.

Everything else regarding the seminar was as reported by the others who were there. Master Tomoyose was a great inspiration to spend the day with. I tried to reply to the page Mr. Canna hosts,(Forum) but did not have a password or whatnot to reply to him. I hope you could convey this to him. As you recall
from our earlier discussions, we wern't even sure if anyone was going to represent Uechi at this Rengokai.
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Postby Michael » Sun May 23, 1999 1:54 am

I have been an avid visitor to for nearly 4 years now and have
enjoyed the many things that have been offered to us in those years, they have been informative and sometimes thought provoking.
Van Canna Sensei, I have not had the privilage to train with you but your reputation precedes you, I give much respect.
I have had the privilage to train with Master
Shinyu Gushi, Master Nakahodo, Master Frank Gorman, Master Shinjo, and many others. I am a Nidan with the Brandon Shubukan here in Florida. I would have given a great deal to have been able to meet Tomoyose Sensei and to have studied with him for a short time had I been aware. Politics, lack of communication, or differences of any kind should never stop truly dedicated and hungry people access to these great Masters. Had I known that he was visiting Florida I would have been first in line. I truly love my Karate, it has changed my life and made me a better person. The "Old Ones" are getting on in their years and who knows how long they will still be with us. Visits like this should be widely disseminated so as many as possible can participate and reap the benefits. As my Sensei has said many times "without the new student the art will die"....things like this tend to generate enthusiasm and help perpetuate the style. Sorry for being long winded, but I had to have my say.
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Postby Van Canna » Sun May 23, 1999 4:14 am

Dear Michael ,

Welcome to my forum and thank you for your heartfelt post ! As I have said before , it is such fine , respectful students like you that makes it worthwhile donning a gi in the dojo these days !

"without the new student the art will die"

You are so right , and new students don't care about the politics of the "Old guard" about to disappear with their pathetic baggage of both Okinawan and American persuasion ! They only want a chance to meet , work out and revere the seniors of lore and lock individual treasures in their hearts for their own passing of the torch !

Unfortunately there is monumental , misplaced greed , egomania and agenda ad nauseam both On the Island and in the States which results in closed sessions ; by invitation only seminars, triggering the proverbial " shooting themselves in the foot " disease !

Take the American "Elitists" for example , they abhor having their students exposed to another teacher's views and seek to control and curtail their activities with a vengeance ! Also some of "them turkeys" will not allow students of other organizations to even workout as guests passing through in their dojos and will prohibit attendance at summer camps asking the question " How will such attendance benefit my students" instead of leaving the choice up to the individual !

It is my understanding that some have gone so far as to even prohibit their students from perusing these web pages ! Fat chance !! What a pathetic bunch !

I wish more fine students like you would speak up , it would surely make a difference in the long run !

Thank you ,

Van Canna
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