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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 1290
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your attorney is getting paid to think of all the potential pitfalls. He is an expert in this. Do as he says, just as you'd expect him to do if he paid for your expertise (karate).

As far as the naming/branding, if you guys have a right to it, as you stated the whys, why can't you copyright/trademark it? That would keep the others from being able to use it. If Shinshii still has the rights I think he has (and you imply), can't he simply apply for these things? It seems to me that that would basically make the former organization yours/his again, and the burden of starting from scratch would be on them.

I have zero legal training, so I'm obviously making that so much simpler than it truly is. But maybe ask your attorney?

But if Shinshii and you guys want a new identity, then let them have it. I wouldn't want to give them anything at all, especially a legacy they can try to sell to new students. Shinshii established it, your generation refined it in some ways and carried it on; they shouldn't get a turn-key system with any history at all.

Just my opinions.
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LLLEARNER
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Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 255
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii wrote:
Update:

We have also altered our patch (we only wear one patch on the left chest) so as to stand apart from the old association. We do wear one other patch on our left arm after achieving Shodan or higher in Kobudo but that will not change as it would be difficult for them to come after us as this is not proprietary to their branding.


We only wear our school patch on the left breast. It is small and subtle. I am just curious why you add a shoulder patch and what it is. I grew up in the Boy Scouts so patches intrigue me. We collected and traded them.

I hope you have success with your new organization and are able avoid legal pitfalls. I know you are not in it for the money, but for the art, so I wish you enough financial success to keep the art alive. Sorry, I am an Accounting and Finance student. It just comes naturally.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12126
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, and wow again!! As I've stated more than once, you and I have so much in common, that it's quite scary!! Reading your post, I had more than my share of unnerving memories that resurfaced.

As you, and most here at KF know, my experience in this and these type of things are well known, as well as accepted; I've been there...way there!! Our own SKKA has had quite a tumultuous history with our San Dai-Soke's closing of the SKKA/Hombu, and with us reestablishing ourselves away from his influences.

Your Legal Team is your key to surviving this ordeal unscathed!! Listen to their advice, vote upon that advice, and proceed from there.

I believe that I can help you see through this, and it might behoove me if you'd ask me specific and direct questions, and therefore, I can address them from what I've experienced, and believe you me, I've experienced quite a lot in this situation.

Anything and everything that I provide you, can be brought to your Legal Team to see if they're a possibility within your current situation. Remember this, Laws will differ from state to state in all areas of city and state, however, federal is nationwide, and federal trumps everything. I might be able to present to you and/or your Legal Team with ideas that they've/you've thought about. Fresh eyes, so to say!!

Starting your organization/governing body is far much easier than one might expect and/or guess, even with established proprietary. Many governing bodies don't safeguard themselves from quite a lot of threats because they've assumed that by whom they are, is all that they need to defend themselves from outside sources.



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MatsuShinshii
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 272

Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LLLEARNER wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
Update:

We have also altered our patch (we only wear one patch on the left chest) so as to stand apart from the old association. We do wear one other patch on our left arm after achieving Shodan or higher in Kobudo but that will not change as it would be difficult for them to come after us as this is not proprietary to their branding.


We only wear our school patch on the left breast. It is small and subtle. I am just curious why you add a shoulder patch and what it is. I grew up in the Boy Scouts so patches intrigue me. We collected and traded them.

I hope you have success with your new organization and are able avoid legal pitfalls. I know you are not in it for the money, but for the art, so I wish you enough financial success to keep the art alive. Sorry, I am an Accounting and Finance student. It just comes naturally.


The patch on the arm/shoulder is a Mitsu Tomoe. Don't ask me why they chose this to represent Kobudo, they just did. Beside 2 Rokushaku kata all other curriculum comes from Matayoshi Kobudo. I personally would think we would use that patch but maybe there are legal, trade mark, proprietary issues with it. I don't profess to know, I just know the Mitsu Tomoe has always been the only other patch allowed on our Gi's.

We only allow this patch if someone has graded to Shodan or above in Kobudo. Sort of a identifier/ award for getting to that level.
To be honest most including myself do not even wear it on our training Gi's. I usually only wear it for ceremonial purposes for which I have one Gi that I wear with it and the Matsumura patch. All of my other gi's are for training and none have anything on them except the Matsumura patch.
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MatsuShinshii
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 272

Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Wow, and wow again!! As I've stated more than once, you and I have so much in common, that it's quite scary!! Reading your post, I had more than my share of unnerving memories that resurfaced.

As you, and most here at KF know, my experience in this and these type of things are well known, as well as accepted; I've been there...way there!! Our own SKKA has had quite a tumultuous history with our San Dai-Soke's closing of the SKKA/Hombu, and with us reestablishing ourselves away from his influences.

Your Legal Team is your key to surviving this ordeal unscathed!! Listen to their advice, vote upon that advice, and proceed from there.

I believe that I can help you see through this, and it might behoove me if you'd ask me specific and direct questions, and therefore, I can address them from what I've experienced, and believe you me, I've experienced quite a lot in this situation.

Anything and everything that I provide you, can be brought to your Legal Team to see if they're a possibility within your current situation. Remember this, Laws will differ from state to state in all areas of city and state, however, federal is nationwide, and federal trumps everything. I might be able to present to you and/or your Legal Team with ideas that they've/you've thought about. Fresh eyes, so to say!!

Starting your organization/governing body is far much easier than one might expect and/or guess, even with established proprietary. Many governing bodies don't safeguard themselves from quite a lot of threats because they've assumed that by whom they are, is all that they need to defend themselves from outside sources.


I would very much appreciate any and all help from you Sensei8.

As issues come up I will post them to get your feed back.

The only issue we have right now is the name and branding. If Shinshii names a successor this issue is a mute point. However neither myself or Kosei want to step into this role at this point in our journey. I have turned it down once before and truthfully my mindset has not changed on the matter. Having said this I personally think that by changing the name we avoid any confusion with our old association and any legal recourse they would levy against us even if they have nothing to stand on.

To me the change is minor and in keeping with the intent of our lineage. It certainly drives the point of old school home. The original name was Matsumura Shorin Ryu. Pretty common except some utilize the Seito or Kempo with in the name. It was changed to Matsumura Suide (Shuri-Te).
We are tossing around Matsumura Suide To-Di Jutsu and Matsumura Shuri-Te Karate Jutsu. I personally have always preferred the Uchina Guchi (Hogan) pronunciation rather than the Japanese pronunciation.

As far as the branding I will leave that up to our lawyer and whether Shinshii feels like getting involved from a legal perspective since the design is his and unique to his schools.

I will ask if there is a way to make sure that a board of equally powered individuals can be made permanent in Bylaws so that no one person can call the shots. We thought our previous bylaws covered these issues sufficiently but as I found out they did not. I guess I'm asking how you build in a prevention so that, say a Soke, can not be elected by the board.

Myself, Kosei and the 4 other instructors I mentioned all have agreed that there was one Shinshii (in this context I am using the term Shinshii as an honorary role denoting founder/leader/ family head. All teachers are refered to as Shinshii just like Sensei. Shinshii just never liked other titles or accolades so we all used this term to mean more than just teacher when refering to him) and none of us want to be in that role. For one thing none of us feel worthy of that role not to mention that none of us have the grade or teaching license consistent with this position. We all understand that once awarded/granted this position an automatic grade of Kudan and license of Hanshi would follow but to be honest we all feel this would be little more than a paper tiger (meaningless if not earned).

The only really good thing that has come out of this is Shinshii agreed to grade us to Hachidan when he feels we are ready and we feel ready. He is also going to award Kosei with the Hanshi teaching license which gives him the ability to grade higher than two grades below his.

From a training and grading stand point I feel we have all that we need to succeed. From a protective/political/operations stand point we are lacking as neither of us have done anything except follow the bylaws and rules set in place by Shinshii. We know there are loop holes but just don't know how to fix them. I am sure that our legal council will cover most but as you said if you have not ran across something before you may not know what to look for.

One thing we have discussed and are going to administer is the appointing of our legal counsel to the board as an honorary member without voting rights. This way he gets all issues first hand and can advise us how to navigate the issues in keeping with the intent of our bylaws. The mistake we all made was there was a few with good intentions that voted against the intent of our bylaws thus inadvertently changing the bylaws by precedent.

I'm sure I sound like I know what I'm talking about but I assure you I am merely parroting what we have been told by legal counsel.

One more issue I fear is the fact that now more than half of the student body has told us that they will be leaving our old association and following/joining us. This in itself worries me as this will, if nothing else, anger our previous association and possibly bring us into a legal battle even if there is no way for them to win. My fear is all of the money going into this at this point is mine and Kosei's. We definitely do not have the money or the time to fight a legal battle even if we are right.

Can you tell me how this could effect us and what recourse, if any, our old association would have if almost 3/4 of their student body jumps ship and joins us? Actually this number may be a little light but I am being conservative thinking that not all will jump ship even though their instructors have already committed. As I said, I think it's more like a little more than half.

Even so this is a huge set back and will not make a very egocentric president, bent on increased numbers, a happy camper to say the least.

Any guidance is appreciated.
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MatsuShinshii
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 272

Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
Your attorney is getting paid to think of all the potential pitfalls. He is an expert in this. Do as he says, just as you'd expect him to do if he paid for your expertise (karate).

As far as the naming/branding, if you guys have a right to it, as you stated the whys, why can't you copyright/trademark it? That would keep the others from being able to use it. If Shinshii still has the rights I think he has (and you imply), can't he simply apply for these things? It seems to me that that would basically make the former organization yours/his again, and the burden of starting from scratch would be on them.

I have zero legal training, so I'm obviously making that so much simpler than it truly is. But maybe ask your attorney?

But if Shinshii and you guys want a new identity, then let them have it. I wouldn't want to give them anything at all, especially a legacy they can try to sell to new students. Shinshii established it, your generation refined it in some ways and carried it on; they shouldn't get a turn-key system with any history at all.

Just my opinions.


I guess it falls down too a simple, just because you can may not mean you should, theory.

Yes we can indeed retain everything if we/Shinshii forces the issue. The problem is we would be utilizing our own money to fight any legal court cases and neither of us was born with the proverbial silver spoon in our mouths so if we can avoid the possibility of a legal battle I think it prudent to do so.

Now Shinshii knowing what he now knows of the changes might take it upon himself to strip them of all branding. He has said as much when we spoke to him. He is none to pleased with the recent turn of events and does not want his branding to be associated with these changes.
However this is totally up to him. We do not have a stake in it other than carrying on his legacy. We did not have anything to do with the name or the branding (Patches and the like) so it would be totally in his court. Having said this we are hoping that he does pull his branding away from them. He does not have to pull the name as it was told to us by legal counsel as the board had changed the name and thus loosing all rights to the original name.

Neither myself or my cohort want to admit this to Shinshii but the original name is generic and is widely used throughout the lineage branches of our art thus posing a possible problem down the road. As our lawyer pointed out you can do a google search and a ton of lineage lines/organizations that share this name sake pop up. However what we are changing our name to does not. In fact we have already started the process of trade marking/registering it as this was our counsels advice as a form of protection from legal recourse.

This is primarily why the board changed the name after Shinshii retired. Since we had no appointed successor we had no legal claim to the name. Just like the old association has no legal claim to the branding if Shinshii wishes to remove their rights to it.

I hope I am saying all of this correctly as I again am not a lawyer nor do I have any expertise in this arena. I am sure some of what I am saying is not being passed on exactly as our legal counsel has outlined it but it is close and I ask you patience if you see something that does not ring true. As I said I am out of my element here.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 1290
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm out of my element with this stuff too. I'm pretty sure you understood me, and I understand you.

I respect what you've said. It makes sense to me, not that it really has to though. I agree, it's like playing blackjack; you have to look at the end result and not focus on if you won each and every hand. Even if you win all rights to everything, it'll potentially cost too much, so how's that really winning?

My main point was the name. Why give them that? But if the name's been changed and the original name wasn't original, then there's really no point. I figured they were keeping the name as a selling point, but that wasn't what is actually happening.
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MatsuShinshii
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Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 272

Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
I'm out of my element with this stuff too. I'm pretty sure you understood me, and I understand you.

I respect what you've said. It makes sense to me, not that it really has to though. I agree, it's like playing blackjack; you have to look at the end result and not focus on if you won each and every hand. Even if you win all rights to everything, it'll potentially cost too much, so how's that really winning?


Exactly what I was getting at.

JR 137 wrote:
My main point was the name. Why give them that? But if the name's been changed and the original name wasn't original, then there's really no point. I figured they were keeping the name as a selling point, but that wasn't what is actually happening.


Its not that it is not original, but more so that it is shared in some respects by other sister arts within our lineage line.

And no they are not keeping the name as a selling point so much as a way to have leverage against us. But as I said the branding and name belong to Shinshii as it was registered years/ decades ago. So to be honest if we really wanted to use the original name we could. However my point was that it becomes rather diluted amongst the other arts with similar names. That and it's not worth pushing our old association by using it. If Shinshii wants to prohibit it's use then he can.

I hope that clears it up. I know this is confusing because, quite frankly it's confusing to me and I am probably not doing it justice in trying to explain it.

Anyway I get your point.
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MatsuShinshii
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Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 272

Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well we had our first official meeting on Monday to vote for our new board of instructors and to vote on the bylaws and the new amendments.

For what was supposed to be a two hour meeting, four and a half hours later, we finally had a consensus and our new bylaws were approved for our legal counsel to make official, minus a few new rules that I was not made privy too.

I spoke with Kosei this morning and asked if the final votes had been tallied for the new board. He said he had the results and that I was not given a seat on the board. He seemed very pleased with this but I was actually very happy with this as well and told him as much. He laughed at my comment and explained that the majority of our student body had voted me into a new position instead that was not on the ballot.

I asked him what this meant. He explained that he and others had spoken about how to maintain the integrity of Shinshii's teachings and make it unchangeable. He put forth the idea of me taking on this responsibility as no one was more stanch in his beliefs when it came to protecting Shinshii's teachings. He said that I would maintain the title of Soshi in our new organization and be in charge of our history, curriculum, traditions, oversee our instructors and oversee all promotions and teaching licensing to insure that our standards would not diminish.

I asked how this was possible as the bylaws clearly state that all titles other than Shinshii were to be removed in honor of our past teachers and to insure than no one person has power over the rest or is put into a position such as Soke unless a 100% vote was cast. He explained that they had all agreed to this prior to me joining the meeting. Apparently I was told the meeting was a different time than the rest. He said that our legal counsel had already made note of it before the voting started.

This position basically insures that Shinshii's legacy will remain in tact because I am the only one that can make changes to it. He explained that this basically means I will have nothing to do with the politics or finances or legal mumbo jumbo or any other day to day running of the organization. My sole responsibility will be to maintain the integrity of the art itself and of it's instructors. Essentially if the board wants to allow kids or wants to change the requirements or add a rainbow of belts or anything that effects the original teachings and structure of the art, I would have to agree to it and I would have to amend those bylaws. He said that to insure that the art stays the same I have the only position within our organization that is not voted on nor does it have term limits. If an issue was locked in a stale mate I would be the tie breaker but would not have a vote unless this happened. He joked that I was kind of like the new Soke but just without any power over the board and their responsibilities.

I asked him how he and the other senior instructors felt about this and he said it was unanimous among all of the senior instructors and a large majority of the rest were in favor of it. He went on to explain that he was voted in as the new president, and three of my senior students were voted onto the board and one of our youngest instructors (age wise/ he holds the grade of Yondan) was voted in as the new VP. All 8 positions were filled and all bylaws and amendments were passed. We now have an organization to call our own. Of course there is still a lot of issues to iron out and the structure of the board and their responsibilities are still at the center of discussion.

The best news is Shinshii agreed to promote our senior instructors when they are ready to test and will sit on the promotions board (separate from the instructors board) with me and Kosei. He agreed to visit once a year and all senior Dan promotions will fall on this time line.

The absolute best part of this position is I am out of the political gobly goop. I have no role within the board of instructors and do not have a say on the comings and goings of the day to day business side of things. I'm pretty much back to teaching and overseeing our other instructors. Pretty sweat gig if I do say so myself.

An interesting point was brought up during the end of the meeting that was not included within the bylaws. One of our senior instructors asked why we do not have a website and what was the position of our newly formed organization on having a website.

Most said that it was not needed but to be honest I feel with today's technologically driven world your really missing the boat without one. I do not have a say other than to cast my individual vote to my overseeing board member but I agree with this man and think we should entertain building a website. We have a few students that work in IT so I doubt it would take that much to do it.
What do you think? Is this essential to an organization?
We really are not interested in growing like our previous organization was but I think at the very least it would bring us into the public view and give us some cheap advertisement at the very least.

Oh and I forgot to mention that they also voted to change the name and actually unanimously voted for it in all of about 3 minutes. Four of us offered up suggestions. We are now officially under the Matsumura Suide Todi Jutsu name. Our lawyer is in the process of filing it and getting it registered.

One of our talented instructors actually came up with several examples of new patches. These will be sent out to all instructors to get the student bodies vote and will be announced next month after the board meeting.

Things are moving on their own and I don't have to worry about any of it. This could not have turned out better. Life is good.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26552
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you have hit some smooth sailing there. Congrats on the new position and being able to really do the job you want to do in your organization.
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