From: VAN CANNA
Date: 04 Sep 1998
This is a' motivator ' piece for those of you who would espouse the concept of maximum power training at your dojo !
The dojo I loved most in my life was Mattson
sensei 's at Cambridge Street , Boston ~~ It was the most of 'sacred space ' with rugged martial embrace and old world grace awaiting you over the doorstep ! Hundreds of students , warrior spirit in top notch senseis teaching with a passion forever gone ! A blend of raw power training and finesse
of technique as set forth by Mattson sensei ! An Arena for visiting gladiators and a haven of friendship , camaraderie ,with youth and laughter and blow out parties to the wee hours of the morning right in the heart of Boston [ Beacon Hill]
! Secret membership in the " alligators club"
granted to the ' men on a tightrope ' ! 'Star
Chamber ' proceedings to resolve vexing problems
Yes we fed on ambrosia and nectar in those days and 'The vanishing ' continues to bring me sadness over the years !
The closest in spirit today is the Brockton dojo where I teach , an old charming building with huge floor space , a balcony and stage that must have hosted countless life plays in the splendor of the turn of the century ! A boxing ring upstairs for kick boxers , traditional Okinawan weights , kobudo implements , memories from the corners of
our tournament years , a respectful altar set up on the stage below the pictures of Kanbun and Kanei suspended from wires above ! At the other end of the floor facing The Masters , pictures of Rabesa, Campbell, Maloney and myself staring each other down from our respective wall space !
But my favorite is 'our secret place' ~ about
20 feet by 12 feet , with weapons and pictures of tigers on the wall engaged in violent combat ~ makiwaras , a heavy water bag from the ceiling and a water cooler !! Off to one side a weight room , opposite it, a private dress room for seniors with access backstage ! This is the sacred space of the rokudans and up , in residence and in
visit to the dojo Who ~ populate it late at night after all the classes are over and the students are gone because of the nature of the gathering !
It is there that we assemble in intimacy of shared brotherhood and enter, what I coined as, the 'fifth dimension ' of training, lasting about one hour before we go home ! 1] Meditation , 2]conditioning , 3] heavy bag work , 4] individual rotational kata under the scrutiny of peers , and --5] power kata as a unit !
We cut down the lights to a moody penumbra !
Meditation in our solitude opens the mind gates to mindsetting ….our arms and legs conditioning is with shin shots at full power to the edge of sanity ; The bag work is in accordance with Rabesa sensei's torque action as outlined in his book 'Explosive Karate ' [Rabesa is like Rocky Marciano , 180 lb. of pure torque , you see him hit the bag your jaw will drop ] ! The rotational individual katas are at full power blast with the
peers looking on and stopping you in the midst for a repeat move to heighten power delivery ~~ and finally group katas done in 'osmosis ' gaining strength from each other in the confined space much like a rising tsunami wave crashing the floor , creating ripples in the water cooler and setting
the hanging pictures of Kanbun and Kanei Uechi in undulation ! And so it goes our power in mindset !!