Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]
|Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:39 pm Post subject:
|I remember what I'm about to share as though it just happened, and the circa was August 17, 1974. Location: Anaheim, CA, Orange County. Venue: 3rd Annual Tri-County Karate Tournament. Division: Youth Black Belt Ages 15-17 in Kumite, Kata, and Kobudo.
Dai-Soke made a rare appearance for the sole purpose of supporting our self-made team, and yes, we stole the name for ourselves, The Weekend Warriors. His attendance was rare because he had no liking of "Sport" Karate; a waste of time, as far as her was concerned, at all. Albeit, he tolerated the comings and goings of the day's events; no outward expressions if he was enjoying it and/or hating it, which is no surprise, if you knew him on the floor.
Our team consisted of the 7 of us, and we fared quite well having placed two 1st places, two 2nd places, two 3rd places, and one 5th place overall, thus far in Kata and Kobudo. Kumite was to be the next and final event.
Still, Dai-Soke didn't seem impressed, yet, from time to time, we could see that he was quite engaged in the entire spectacle with a few smatterings of thumbs-up, as well as knowing head-nods.
Kumite seemed to be, for the most part, our forte where Greg took both the first place, as well as the Grand Championship, as he bested, of all people, me 5-4. The others were summarily dispatched by both Greg and I, as we all climbed slowly up the brackets.
What caught all of our attention was that Dai-Soke was not to be seen where he had been saddled on the front row of the bleachers. For 15 minutes, he was nowhere to be found, by anyone of us; where could he have gotten to?! Did he finally have his fill and leaved without a word?
We were agape!!
Then, we spotted him. Not in the stands where we last saw him...NO!! He was ON THE TOURNAMENT FLOOR approaching us steadfastly, and with a seemed purpose in his walk. Back then, it wasn't unusual of tournaments to allow Sensei's and the like to be on the floor just as long as they served in a capacity of "Coach". However, this particular tournament had set a precedence of forbidding ANYONE on the floor of any capacity except those of the competitors, and them alone. But I suppose what caused us off guard the most was that Dai-Soke wasn't alone. Not by any means. He was accompanied by that tournament Arbitrator.
We were frozen!
They both stopped, not five feet from our designated ring. Just standing there...just talking...just the two of them. Dai-Soke saw us just standing there and just staring at them. Finally, Dai-Soke motioned toward us in a shewing away with his left hand, as though he was telling us all to pay attention to what was happening in the ring, and not them.
Then I was up for my second fight. I knew my opponent quite well because for a few years, we've bested each other in kind of a back and forth rival; he being Shotokan and me being Shindokan.
Our fight was, as usual, intense, and oftentimes, quite purposeful! Back and forth we went...first him getting one point, then me, then him, then me, then clash after clash...then when all of the dust finally settled...I bested him, once again, in a 5-4 duel.
While that was good for me, for the moment, my smile turned to a frown as I saw Dai-Soke right at the ring, and he didn't look happy at all. As I swallowed, I felt like I was trying to swallow a whole watermelon with one gulp. At first he said nothing...then he only said "What...", and that's it.
He walked away to over where the Arbitrator and him were standing earlier. They'd talk! They'd watch the other matches, and specifically they, or at least Dai-Soke was, paying a lot of close attention to my matches.
What did I do wrong? Why was he upset?
Then the Grand Championship match between Greg and I commenced. While we were very close friends, both on and off the floor, we were both quite competitive in everything, and whenever we were pitted against each other in Kumite, we'd literally try to kill each other because that's how spent we were towards one another. At that very moment, we were enemies!! We both were like this our entire lifes, but we loved each other. Our Kumite sessions at the Hombu are legends because of that intensity...of that purposed resolve.
Greg won 5-4, and he deserved it. During our match, both of us were given two warnings for excessive contact.
Again, Dai-Soke was at the ring, with that same furrowed brow of disdain, and it felt like he was boring a hole right through my head. What seemed like an eternity, Dai-Soke placed his right hand on my left shoulder and escorted me a few feet away from the others, even though they all could hear every single word he spoke to me.
"What...what was that?" he asked.
"What?" I confusingly replied.
"You...you Shindokan. You not others" he began...
"What was other style...it not Shindokan...you Shindokan...you only Shindokan!!" he demanded.
"I use Shindokan more, it's my core, as you've taught me...us..." I tried to explain, but to no avail.
"Stop...I teach Shindokan...only Shindokan...we not kick up...we not kick high...we Shindokan...only low kicks...only!!" he retorted.
"I used Shindokan AND I used Tae Kwon Do" I offered.
"If I've..." as a started...
"Stop!! Now!! Listen!!..." as he paused for about 5 long seconds...holding his right hand out towards me in an international sign of "Stop"...and hold his left index finger at his own lips, as if to signal me to be quiet...
"That...you...that...other...it was...it was...it was...very...very...good...good...very good...I like it...it was effective...it was not me see it before...and me not expect...Shindokan...Tae Kwon Do...together...good...very good...I proud of you...proud of you all...you show...no...you teach me new thing...new thing that two styles can together be good...very good!!" he exclaims to me...us!!
"Thank you, sir...thank you very much!!" is my reply...kind of sad while kind of proud at the same time.
He bows, then turns, and slowly walks away.
I've shared this, and forgive the length of this post, because this is where it was solidified in, not with just within myself, but with all of us. That is...
Cross-training is not only fun, but it's imperative in one's MA training, and in one's MA journey. That TWO, or more styles of the MA CAN survive as they intermingle with one another, and, as well as them standing side-by-side to reach ones goal of being that effectiveness. In short, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and/or, sometimes both sides of the fence are green, not just the one side.
I successfully used both Shindokan and Tae Kwon Do. Sometimes Shindokan! Sometimes Tae Kwon Do! Sometimes both, and sometimes, at the same time! Shindokan is my core, and at that time, TKD was vital in my growth as a MAist. While Shindokan comes to the fight first, TKD, back then, came to the aide of Shindokan; Shindokan will start and end the fight, but somewhere and someway and somehow TKD will be there when the time is right...kind of like how Robin comes to the aide of Batman when the time is right.
Train hard...train well...cross train...discard the rest while absorbing that which is effective!!
**Proof is on the floor!!!