Hey everyone. I wanted to check in with a personal post and let you know about some changes going on with my writing, projects, and general life status.
As you may know, I spent the last two years living in Colorado. It was a great chance to experience a different lifestyle out West and explore the beautiful Rocky Mountains. My wife had an opportunity to go to grad school in Denver, which she successfully completed a few months ago. Since then, both she and I have had renewed opportunities on the East Coast (Pennsylvania to be specific). As a result we made the cross-country trek back to the land of trees and cheese steaks.
It was a multi-day move but we got through it relatively unscathed. This was my first extended experience with a moving truck and it had been years since I last drove a vehicle with a trailer. Despite these obvious potential problems we managed to avoid any extreme traffic complications and I only kissed a handful of curbs while making turns and leaving gas stations.
Now that I’m back, I have fresh focus and will be looking to finish a few serious undertakings. Let me share some of those thoughts and updates.
Reflections on the CSV’s and Castle Rock Karate Kobudo
While in Colorado I took on a number of challenges in order to improve my overall martial arts maturity. One was to join the Community Safety Patrol operated by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The program is essentially a posse building unit that allows qualified citizens to undertake the county police academy, puts the graduates in uniforms and marked cars, and has them assist full deputies in crime prevention and crowd control situations. I learned a lot about self defense, human tendencies, and matters of the law. It gave me a peek into the world of law enforcement and after two years of training and patrolling I can definitely say I have a new appreciation for how martial arts fit into the modern world. I intend to create a more complete blog post recounting my experience, so keep an eye out for that.
Two of the saddest things about leaving Colorado for me was leaving the mountains and the Castle Rock Karate Kobudo program. The CRKK was my first independent school despite having taught for over 15 years before that. The students I acquired there were great and I’ll be doing my best to make sure their martial arts journey does not end with my leaving.
Establishing an Eastern Dojo
Now that I am back East one of my primary focuses will be to establish my own dojo facility. I will be working in close collaboration with my instructor, C. Bruce Heilman, to ensure that the school carries on the traditions and methods of Okinawa Kenpo. When I secure a location and begin operation of the program I will be sure to inform all the readers here. Perhaps you can even help me develop my initial group of students!
Finishing My Latest Book Project
There has been some murmurings around IkigaiWay regarding my latest book project. It is still under the radar but I have been working hard on it for over a year. It is coming together and I am approaching the phase where I will begin revealing it to the public. This is my most ambitious undertaking ever and I hope everyone will be as excited to read it as I have been to write it.
Thanks for your time and stay tuned for more updates and articles!
Whenever people ask me for martial art book recommendations I put “My Journey with the Grandmaster” in my top three. If they are a karate person specifically I yell at them for not owning it already, then order them to acquire it. Sometimes, sadly, the book is out of print and the only way to acquire a copy is through grossly overpriced used versions on Amazon. I know for a fact that Bill Hayes Sensei hates to see that happen, so he has decided to run a new printing of the book. This is a key opportunity for anyone who has been meaning to pick the book up but couldn’t get a copy thus far.
I’d like to tell you a little about what the book is and how to reserve a copy for yourself.
What is “My Journey with the Grandmaster”?
During the Vietnam Era Bill Hayes Sensei had the opportunity to spend multiple tours on Okinawa. While there he studied under one of the true great luminaries of karate, Shimabukuro Eizo Sensei. Shimabukuro Sensei was/is a Shorin Ryu practitioner of unique skill, carrying on the traditions of not only Kyan Chotoku but also Miyagi Chojun, Motobu Choki, Itosu Anko, and more. Through dedication and talent Bill Hayes Sensei was able to become one of Shimabukuro Sensei’s most senior students.
To capture some of his experiences for the benefit of his own students, Hayes Sensei decided to chronicle his thoughts and philosophies in “My Journey with the Grandmaster”. For a little more detail I’ll let Hayes Sensei explain it himself!
Limited Run – Reserve a Copy!
Hayes Sensei only produces a printing of the book every couple of years, so if you miss a chance to secure a copy you might be left waiting for awhile.
At this time Hayes Sensei isn’t accepting live payments as the book has not been printed yet. However, he is accepting reservations so as to get a better idea of how many to print. To make your reservation, print out the pdf featured in the link below and send it to Hayes Sensei’s physical address (included in the pdf). Conversely, use the online order form I have attached to this blog post. Your reservation information will go directly to Hayes Sensei.
Fill out the form below:
I don’t always create posts about training events I attend, but sometimes I feel they are big enough in scope that other martial artists would enjoy hearing about them. This year’s event held by the International Karate Kobudo Federation definitely qualifies. Senior instructors from multiple styles got together and shared with students in a spirit of open learning.
2014 marked the 30th Anniversary of the IKKF Annual Training. Since its inception, the gathering has operated in the spirit of Old Okinawa. Many folks believe that the modern mindset of karate mirrors that of generations past, but that is not the case. Going back just 2-3 generations Okinawa was home to much sharing and mutual testing of karate technique. The development of “ryu” is a fairly modern invention, and the idea that one ryu should never mingle with another is an even more recent phenomenon.
Observe the pictures below:
|1964 Gathering on Okinawa||2014 IKKF Gathering in Pennsylvania|
|Featured in this photo:||Featured in this photo:|
Ann Marie Heilman
If you compare the old photo with the new you will notice a lot of direct Teacher->Student connections. Individuals like Nick Adler, Bill Hayes, Jody Paul, Larry Isaac, etc. are carrying on the traditions handed down to them. There used to be an Okinawa mindset of preserving the core fundamentals of a style while enhancing aspects of the art through exposure to teachers of particularly high skill in one area or another. It was a mindset built on developing effective life protection and is as important a tradition to preserve as any technique or kata.
The weekend’s event was broken up into a series of training time slots with multiple sessions going on during each time slot. Sometimes the sessions were formally established in terms of content while at other times small groups broke in and out of each other, generating a sort of training soup. In the end students were exposed to ideas they didn’t know they needed as well as content they specifically came to find.
The following are some moments caught in action:
A number of other topics were covered throughout the three day event, including Brazilian Jujitsu, weapon disarms, empty hand kata, and more.
On Friday evening I had the opportunity to demonstrate some weapons and empty hand kata and concepts for the group. The following video is a small collection of moments from that demonstration, including Bo kata, Eiku Kata, Kama Kata, and Kama Bunkai.
Despite the carpets that were a little past their design prime, the Inn at Reading proved to be an ample host for the weekend’s event. The floor space allowed for any and all weapons while the banquet setup (also on-site) provided an elegant atmosphere. All-in-all it was a memorable event and I hope we can build on it next year. Perhaps some of you reading can join us in the festivities!
To see more pictures visit the IKKF Facebook Page.