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Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 162

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2022 9:10 am    Post subject: Meeting and Making New Friends Reply with quote

Towards the end of last year, I had the opportunity to "meet" (in the online sense) Sensei LM Vellucci. I had run across him and his Kobukan organization due to my interest in Hakutsuru-ken (白鶴拳) or White Crane Fist. As an Okinawan based martial artist with a couple of decades of Goju-ryu under my belt, this is something that I have been looking into and researching for a while. He has a video product available that I picked up and we then chatted back and forth via email and a few phone conversations. He ended up inviting me to a small gathering or "camp" that he was doing this past weekend. I ended up going and thought I would post about it here.

I have been around the martial arts long enough to recognize if someone has any skills or not when I see them move. Certainly Sensei Vellucci did when I saw him on video. But, I have also been around long enough to know that martial artists (especially those of higher ranks) can be self-absorbed jerks. So, to be honest with you, I was sure what to expect when I got there and figured I would just go with the flow so to speak.

Immediately after walking into the training room at the hotel, Sensei Vellucci knew it was me. This wasn't a gasshuku (合宿) or training camp like many of you might have been to. It was really more of a get together of students for a little martial fellowship as well as testing/grading within their own organization. It was a much smaller and intimate setting (like 15 to 20 people) and I was actually the only person there that didn't really know the other folks. Immediately, I knew things were going to be alright...Sensei Vellucci greeted me warmly with a smile and a big bear huge.

We had a good time and I had alot of fun. On the first day, as some folks were going over their testing materials, I got to go over Naihanchi (ナイハンチ) Shodan with Sensei Vellucci and some really good and practical bunkai. I had the opportunity to add a little to the conversation with regards to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and vital point usage. My contributions were welcome and well received and (for those that don't know), this is not always the case when training with other different (and higher ranked) folks.

Due to some scheduling changes, there was some additional time that popped up during the training day on Saturday, so I was very fortunate to be able to give a little instruction myself. Based on some conversations we had the prior day (Friday), I did a very brief introduction to the preliminary qigong exercises of Omoi Te (重い手) or heavy hand (think along the lines of iron palm or tie zhang - 鐵掌)...but, it does have other uses. Unfortunately, due to the number of health issues I am currently facing and going through, I don't believe I presented very well. But, it was warmly received nonetheless.

Just by way of an FYI, Sensei Vellucci is an Okinawan stylist with a background in Shorin-ryu through (I believe) Nakazato Shuguro Sensei and Oshiro Nobeyuki Sensei on Okinawa (Sensei Vellucci is a former Marine and lived on Okinawa) and has a background in Hakutsuru through Sensei Chuck Chandler and Yabiku Takaya. He holds an 8th dan and a hanshi teaching license.

We also went over the kata Ryushokan pretty heavily and got into just a bit of the bunkai for some of the moves. This kata was new to me and I very much enjoyed it. I just wish that my health issues had allowed me to be able to perform the movements better. Most of the folks there were ex-military and current law enforcement, so all of the bunkai was specifically what I was looking for...that being reality based.

Another of the great folks that I got the chance to meet and form a good bond with was Sensei Greg Poitras. He holds, I believe, a 7th dan and kyoshi teaching license in Matsumura Seito Shorin-ryu as well as high yudansha rankings and teaching licenses in Hakutsuru-ken, Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu and Yamanni-ryu Kobudo. He is ex-Navy and a LEO who also lived and trained in Japan and Okinawa. Sensei Poitras gave a very good demonstration on the tonfa from the Yamanni-ryu tradition and assisted with a good deal of the teaching.

In addition to the above, Sensei TJ Gentry gave a training session on koryu jujutsu and Sensei Vellucci also did a short training on the self-defense use of the knife (and everyone received a free folder training knife).

All in all, I had an absolutely great time. My first day there (even after a 7.5 hour drive) was good for me (health-wise). But, after that, it sort of went downhill quickly. But, everyone there was very kind and understanding of my limitations. And, after another ride back home on Sunday, I am really hurting today. However, it was certainly worth it.

Should you ever find yourself in a position to be able to train with these folks, I would very much recommend that you do so.

Thanks for having a look!
For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16247
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2022 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful experience with us. Sounds like you had a great time on the floor, even though it was cut short due to your physical limitations.

I understand those physical limitations just way too much myself nowadays. The mark of great MAists is when other MAists understand one's physical limitations, and they don't support one's knowledge and experience all because of true physical limitations.

**Proof is on the floor!!!
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2711
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2022 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a fun time! I haven't been to a martial arts event like that since the "Before-Times," but I would love to get back to them. I struggle with a lot of health issues, myself, so I know how that can be--glad you still enjoyed the event, though!
Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu | 2010-Present: Nidan | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
Shuri-Ryu | 2006-2010: Sankyu | Sensei: Joey Johnston, Joe Walker (RIP)
Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker (RIP), Ramon Rivera (RIP), Adrian Rivera
Arizona Practical Karate
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30001
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2022 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an awesome experience! Thanks for sharing it with us. Training opportunities like this are so awesome!
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