From: paul giella
Date: 30 Aug 1998
In a recent discussion with a senior dan-ranked teacher who has come to work out at Sensei Mattson's Saturday class I referred to the "magic" of our dojo. I would like to make a public statement about this now. Our group has truly evolved over the past five or six years to become a kind of "Uechi-ryu laboratory of teaching", if I may coin a phrase. Sensei Mattson is always present, always participating as the senior teacher and the final word on the direction we go in.
But we have developed a system of teaching rotations in which a relatively senior
and experienced teacher (third, fourth and fifth dans) have headed the class for a
period of several weeks or months with the goal os sharing personal insights and
training exercises with the rest of the group. Besides getting a good workout, we
are constantly exposed to new ideas. I have found this quite invigorating and stimulating. It has proven itself to be a true antidote to stagnation. The "magic", if
you will, of our program is that it not only allows but encourages innovation by the
seniors... several people have said to me that it is the first time they have felt free
to publically report ideas or training drills that they may have been doing or thinking for a long time but never felt the encouragement or acceptance to say out loud.The loosening up of attitudes as a consequence of this has been quite palpable. Lest one worry about these innovative ideas being carried too far,
Sensei Mattson is always ready and willing to rein in anything that threatens the basic percepts or seems too "fringy". I would heartily encourage any student or teacher (of at least shodan rank)who has been feeling stuck in a rut to come down to our classes... see if the magic works for you!