News and views from the sidelines:
Master Yamashita Seminar
Postscript: Another great seminar with Sensei, all Suikendo and Kobudo this time. Always love it when you're done with his seminar and both gi's are soaking wet.
Kobudo Seminar hosted at Sensei Hayes'. Click here for directions.
Postscript: Wow that _rocked_! We had people in from all over the place and had a ball. There's just too much to write down so perhaps the best thing I can say was, at the end of the day everyone was saying "we definately have to do this again!"
I've added a link to the Conneticut Dojo's History of Okinawan Shorinryu, which is nicely done and covers the legacy of masters that leads directly to us. To complete the line, Sensei Yamashita studied directly with Chibana Chosin and Shuguro Nakazato.
This year we had our lowest turn out for the Milwaukee trip that I am aware of, due to a unfortuante confluence of obnoxious personal events including the ever popular being-hit-by-an-SUV. ;-(
Naturally, then, Murphy's law applied and in some respects this was the best trip ever. One big plus was the weather. It was downright nippy, and so for once the gym wasn't baking hot and the workout didn't involve personal meltdowns. It was a day where we could work hard all day and still be ready for more.
Then, Saturday evening after the workout we got more. Master Yamashita was in the common room with about 6 of us and was in a mood to talk. And demonstrate. In all, the few of us spent an hour/hour and a half with him at point-blank range learning the essential ideas and flow of Suikendo. It was phenomenal!
Sensei Hayes still had his gi on and thus become the Designated Uke for all of the above private demonstrations, so give him a couple weeks to heal. Actually one other gentleman was uke for a minute, but that proved unwise.
Dave's longtime friend Frederic who joined us at the seminar is a professional photographer and was one of the people taking portrait pics at the seminar and graciously sent a couple our way. Surprisingly, even his shots came out somewhat rough, though they were somewhat repairable. Digital cameras just seem to plain not like low-light conditions.
Last night was a precious moment in Real Life, The Comedy. Some kids, seeing Sensei Stewart, Dave and I leaving after class, saw our gear and one asked about karate. So Dave kindly started telling him about the class, etc. Unfortunately, the young gentleman clearly didn't realize who he was talking to. None of us laughed when he asked Dave, "Are you a blackbelt?" but it went downhill from there. Perhaps the defining moment of the conversation was when he asked Dave to "show him some stuff. 'Cause he didn't want to waste his time coming to class if it wasn't, y'know, worth it."
Special, special, special! Dave's comment afterward was, "I don't do pet tricks." And for what it's worth, the gentleman in question was from Eaton Rapids. We grow them big here, just not smart!
Ok, we have a formal date for Master Yamashita coming in to town. April 14th. Mark your calendars and get excited to get worn out. Master Yamashita's seminars are guaranteed to be as enlightening as they are exhausting!
On the left index you'll find both a filmography and list of book featuring/by Master Yamashita. Well, I have a couple of the books, and I bought one of the movies. Sensei Salisbury has some interesting karate books, and I think Jeff does too.
So I've added a new feature, The Library. Anything I have, you're free to borrow, so I've listed what I have. If anyone else has materials they'd like to make available, I'll list those too. Note that not everything will be appropriate for all students, as the books in particular require training in Kobudo to appreciate.
Master Yamashita is expected sometime in March. When I have exact dates, a location, or any hint of a plan, I'll probably post it. ;-) With a little luck, I'd guess that we'll once again try and ask for the kindness of the Walter French Academy of Lansing to borrow their gym, as they have so generously helped us out with in the past.
Conklin Systems hosts a discussion forum for all Michigan Suibukan students. It's been running for weeks now with only a couple minor issues, typically involving hotmail accounts. (insert derisive comment here.) I've tried to get everyone on the list, so if you've missed out, send your email address to email@example.com The forum is for informal discussion, but it's also the best (only) way to learn about Sensei Salisbury's open weekend workouts, which are a lot of fun, if you didn't get enough abuse on Thursday.
The site currently has a couple items of interest, accessible from the left sidebar. The top is a collection of questionable quality photos from the Okinawan Masters Seminar of 2000. Truth is, it's a pain to take pictures at the seminar, because I'm in it! Most of the shots are of the black belt testing after the seminar itself, but there are pics to give one an idea of what it's like.
Some years ago, Sensei Amy asked me to scan some pics of a public demonstration the Eaton Rapids branch did. And as I scanning the pictures, well, I got an idea, which ultimately became the now-famous Eaton Rapids Suibukan spoof advertisement. At least one person actually signed up for karate because of this spoof ad; whether that's good or bad is hard to say!
With a little luck, I hope to have some other photos up. Sensei Salisbury has some (mildly incriminating) photos going back nearly 20 years. We'll try and put a few of these up, just because it's shocking how long they've been studying karate.
Special thanks to Harry Johnson for hooking me up with a workable master for the Michigan Suibukan logo. Harry was also the mastermind behind arguably our best karate T-shirts ever, using said logo. Now the real logo also has SUIKENDO across the bottom, but somehow the master he had had that missing. Oh well close enough for now.
Well, the new site is online, obviously. And while it's not exactly a masterpiece, it should provide basic information and other resources that have been needed for sometime.
As the saying goes, nothing's really free. Since Conklin Systems donated and hosts the site, that means you've got to put up with my writing!
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