Homecoming Ceremony

mastersThe grandmaster’s memorial service was held this past weekend. There was no shadow of a doubt I attended to show my respects. Along my visit to the service, I got the chance to speak to some old faces and met some new faces as well. I must admit it is not a great moment to meet other martial artists based on certain circumstances. However, my main concern about the martial arts community was its current direction. I always asked myself when the elders are gone, who were going to become their successors? Once that torch is passed down, will we be able to evolve the art beyond what they have given to us. It was an interesting topic as I spoke with several other masters about the subject, which inspired me as I walk into my quest to evolve. Many people love to ride the coat-tail of another person’s success (or skill). The secret is you have to make your own.

One person who walked away and marked his own path was my instructor, Keith Price. Controversial sparked among his colleagues from his departure. On the other hand, it helped other martial artist such as myself. His unconventional methods are one of the reason how I determine expectations. Honestly, I had an underline disagreement with him within the past few years because of my relentless dedication to the art.  I always wanted to more from his teachings and felt it was unrecognized. The last thing we want to happen as artist is place our fate in someone’s hands. After the passing of my brother, it was best for me to search for it on my own. Living tomorrow is never promised. I had a success in discovering the art from another level. A discovery no one can take away from me.Tackling the nucleus of the art was my true key to evolve. Sadly, one can never grow without studying the roots.

Our society is so focus on dealing with being relevant at the current state of time. Never do we seek to polish our craft so it could resonate through out time. A skill which no one can not deny. The chains of justification can no longer cast a burden. This is what I see our direction in the community (as well as society).  However, my progression will unable to seek fruition if there is an ounce of resentment. Discussing those issues were the way to progress. In the result, I have made amends with him. As the casket was brought down by the steps of the church,  I have seen the faces of my fellow brother with such hurt. The hurt was not solely on the lost of our grandmaster, but the lost of the compass they relied on forever.

This is what worries me. We can not expect people to hold our hand in our journey for ever. The bird leaves its nest sooner or later. Out of all the living species, how many do see them taking of their offspring throughout time. The answer is none.. We have to push forward to grow. We have to want it for ourselves. I love the new faces of fellow martial artists who are on the same pursuit as mine. Our elders would appreciate their legacy continues to inspire others.

“Iron Will”

Back into tournament mode

Not too long ago, I attended a regional martial arts tournament in Louisville held by Master Fred Dillon and family. Considering the fact he’s a martial artist I truly respect, it was no reason to not attend. As expected, the tournament had a great turn out. People from different martial arts circuits came out to support The Dillon family a great event.

Going to a tournament is always like a kid at the candy store. Besides waiting for black belt men to start fighting, there is never a dull moment. Countless faces you have not seen in years; there are of course rivalries, but those are easily unacknowledged. The most amazing feeling was seeing majority of the people who inspired me all under one roof! These guys, Anthony, Juan, Goo, Romeo, Master Sumler from cincinnati, and several others made it worthwhile. The feeling was a incredibly unfathomable release of excitement. I rarely get the chance to fellowship with my martial arts brothers as often. It was like being an adolescent again. Besides my burning desire to become a great martial artist, these guys were my inspiration!

The only problem I have at karate tournaments is the inability to compete. It has been over 6 months since I have competed or sparred with someone else. Its like telling a basketball player he can’t play basketball or a dancer not dancing. Its not going to happen. Not training was not going to be my excuse to not fight (strongly don’t recommend it). I am a fighter at heart!

I fought in the 18-34 heavyweight division. I won my first fight (pictured above). Then I had to fight for 1st and 2nd place. whoever win the fight, they will fight for Overall grand champion. Fighting against one of my rivals for the heavyweight division was pressure. I had him by skill, but the lack of timing/endurance can turn the tables quick! A battle which got the crowd excited while shady judging. The score was a close match, 6 – 4. Honestly, I was not happy getting 2nd place, but there was something more valuable gain then the placing. For not having a trainer while putting on a great show was good enough. Regaining my competitive edge back has motivated me to train harder! Overall, Master Dillon’s tournament was a great event.

Sibling Rivalry

Took a trip down nostalgia lane as I reflect the moments in Magic Hands with my little brother, Julius. Julius was my younger brother who took up martial arts the same time as me. Sometimes his wisdom was entirely too ahead of his time, I would question whose actually the bigger brother lol. He had some of the best kicks I have ever seen in my life!

Like every sibling, there is always bickering and arguing. Julius was a great debater. At times, he loved to use his tactics he learned from the debate team against me. I was not fond out debates at all; two huge ego adding fuel to the fire on a potential fight. It was said, its best not to let your enemy see you sweat. The poker face remained on my face. I chose to take my anger elsewhere, the dojo.

Its sad my grudges were used for sparring practice as payback. I loved it once we were able to touch gloves as we bowed before we fought. I was already keep my defense because of his lighting kicks. My anger provoked power to subdue my little brother. Indeed, demonstrating powerful techniques against him worked after all; however, the heat intensified more every time he got back up. I always knew he was upset because he loved to throw late hits.

A so called friendly sparring match led to a sibling rivalry full contact fight. Whenever we have our gloves on, WE WERE NOT BROTHERS!! Simple Kicks and punches led to leg sweeps, stomps, and throws across the room! You would actually think it was a movie how we fought. Matter of fact, this Boondocks video with Huey and RIley fighting was the best description how we fought:

It was always war between the two of us fighting; 2 brothers who were expressing their differences in a unique way. Even though our fights were broken up, we hated each other till class was over with. Pride could not hold grudges forever when you love someone. We could help but to smile and hug it up afterwards. Just from reflecting back, its amazing how much we fought like other brothers, mentally and physically.

One thing I have learned about us fighting is we all have our unique ways of expressing it. We must be able to adapt in any kind of situation no matter what. I truly miss those days!