Since our return from Master Mattson’s summer camp, we have had an exciting time for Uechi Ryu here in Nova Scotia. Dave Hunt’s Karate Academy put on a very successful Uechi Ryu Tournament on the 30th of September which was also attended by Master Mattson.
There was a superb turn out from all the Dojos here in the Maritimes. The tournament was well organized and ran very smoothly from beginning to end. All the referees looked great in their new “Official” shirts which were bought with the remaining money left over from the last year’s fund for the Association. I viewed a tape of the the events and you could clearly pick out the Referees from the crowd of people that were present. Our congratulations go to Dave and Joanne Hunt for all the hard work that went into preparing this tournament. We would also like to express our thanks to Master Mattson for his presence and participation in this tournament.
On October 1, Master Mattson held 3 seminars, one for Juniors, one for Adult white & green belts, and one for advance students. Master Mattson broke down an extensive array of material for each of the seminars. The knowledge gained by attending his seminars is priceless and helps you grow as a Uechi martial artist. I arrived early and watched the remainder of the Juniors seminar. Master Mattson had the parents participating with the children in some of the excercises. Teamwork was emphasized as one of the prime goals in the work out. The importance of quiet time was also demonstrated. It was good to see the children’s enjoyment of what they were learning.
I, as an advance student, appreciated tremendously the time he spent on each kata up to Seisan. The remainder of the advanced class focused on Dan Kumite. Each segment of 10 point was broken down and explained in detail. When greater understanding of the movements is known, it makes the attacks and defenses much more powerful and without thought. Master Mattson emphasized how you must be relaxed and flowing. Wait for the attack and then explode.
Watching Master Mattson demonstrate how each movement should be, gives one a goal to strive for. His movements are so relaxed and fluid, yet they are very fast and powerful. Thank you, Master Mattson and we look forward to your next seminar here.
Then, a remarkable and exciting event occurred. Master James Maloney, (the founder of Uechi Ryu in Canada), came to Halifax, Nova Scotia to teach 2 seminars. These were the first Uechi Ryu seminars that Master Maloney has given in Nova Scotia since the late 1989′s. These seminars took place at the Okinawan Uechi Ryu Academy in Halifax on October 20 and 21. Master Maloney concentrated his seminars mainly on Uechi Ryu with a little on knife defense on the Saturday.
Beginning with Sanchin and right through all the katas, he emphasized how one should remain relaxed, moving slightly to and fro to find your inner balance, concentrate on just tucking up of the hips and pulling down of the latt muscles and that when you thrust or do the full (or half) blocks that you must have fluid motion and a spring action on the recoil.
As I scanned the class while filming the 2 seminars, the love and respect for their teacher shone on the faces of the senior students. Even the junior students who have never seen Master Maloney before watched him in awe nd reverance. Master Maloney demonstrated various movements from several katas over the 2 days. We all practised to try to do those movements with the fluidity and whipping action – expecially in the blocks- that Master Maloney was teaching us. (It was unbelievable!) Over the 2 days, there were 98 participants from all the Maritime dojos. It was an impressive sight to look over the gymnasium and watch everyone working out together on the movements being demonstrated by Master Maloney.
At the closing ceremony on Saturday, October 21, emotions were running high in the dojo. Master Maloney’s words, “It was good day for Uechi, a good day for Sensei Kanei Uechi, a good day for Sensei Mattson and a good day for me”, was filled with such strong emotion that it swept over the entire class. Thank you Master Maloney, we look forward to your coming home again for a visit and for your guidance on our path to better our understanding of Uechi.
Jacqueline S. Blackburn Okinawan Uechi Ryu Academy Halifax, NS Canada firstname.lastname@example.org