for December, 2001!
- Our year ended with a number of memorable occurrences that affected me and
my students in very special ways. One of these was the addition of my
daughter Julia to the teaching staff. Julia earned her first degree
black belt ranking in October of last year, and was asked by my principal
teacher, Sensei Jim Silvan, to test again in November of 2001 for her Nidan
(2nd degree). While not an uncommon occasion in some commercial studios that
rely on frequent advancement fees to maintain profitability, this request
was rare in the more traditional practices we follow. Typically there
is at least a two-year wait to assess the student's commitment to be more
than just a "Black Belt". Jim and his senior students saw
fit to prepare Julia for this test, made all the more gratifying by having
friends and respected instructors serve as her judges. Julia continues to be
a invaluable asset to me and our students, and I hope for a long term
interest and benefit as she continues her training and teaching.
- Another outstanding memory was our trip to Okinawa and the chance to
witness many martial artists of all ages and disciplines demonstrate during
the Uchinanchu ("People of Okinawa) Festival. Julia and I had the
tremendous honor of training with Shinzato Katsuhiko Sensei, a living
treasure of Okinawan martial arts despite his relative youth (mid 60's), and
a teacher who values quality and integrity above any desire for fame or
financial reward. Due to family commitments and an unanticipated
injury to my ankle (while climbing a city bus!) we were unable visit with
Shinzato Sensei for more than one session. Still it continues to be of
great benefit in my training, and Julia and I look forward to visiting
his dojo and students again in
- As we close this year we begin rebuilding our dojo to add more training
area and an even more pleasant atmosphere for our students. When we
re-open in January it will be to the sight and smell of fresh paint.
To each of my students and their families, Thank You all for your continued
support of what we have together. I look with great anticipation to a
new year of teaching and learning together.