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Dec 27 2015

Another Dear Friend Passes. . .

David Finkelstein Passes

David FinkelsteinA great intellectual, martial artist, writer, and friend passed away peacefully yesterday, on Christmas Eve. David Finkelstein did so shortly after the passing of his longtime companion Evelyn. If you believe in heaven, they’re now together forever.

My first Uechi Ryu instructor was the late Rad Smith – a man who came down from New England to get his PhD in English while his wife worked on her MBA. Rad spent a year and a half at UVa, and went back up to Harvard to get his MBA. I worked my way up the ladder through Rad’s instructors, which included David Finkelstein and eventually George Mattson. I met Dave on a motorcycle road trip up I-95 as I was scouting for a new Uechi instructor in Rad’s absence. Dave and I hit it off early. A half year later I tested for shodan just before Christmas, and the rest was history.

Dave was one of many reasons why I have a unique view of Uechi Kanbun’s art. For one… he was a Harvard law graduate who hated anything that seemed like real work. So he made a living in whatever way made sense to him. This included being sent around the world so he could write unique articles for the NYT or maybe even Field and Stream. Dave lived wisely in many ways, which allowed him to exist as many of us only dream we could.

Through Dave I not only developed my connection with George Mattson, but I also got a second hand look at the way Shinjo Seiyu and Tomoyose Ryuko taught. Dave opened doors, and then passed on what he saw beyond those doors. Part of whom I am and the legacy I hope to leave in this world comes from Dave.

I will miss my friend.

Bill Glasheen

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3 comments

  1. neidej

    January 1, 2016

    Dear Dave:
    Forty-six years ago, this week, I began my training with you. My first impression of you was that you were a cross between Woody Allen and Henry Kissinger, but what stood out the most were your intellect and your in-depth understanding of the martial arts. I knew at that moment that you would be my mentor for a lifetime. Because of you I began a slow, but methodical understanding of Uechi-Ryu as an art form. Repetition of movements became the norm. Application of a form was a basic skill to be learned. Timing, speed, and strength were physical skills to be perfected. But, you asked me to pursue something else and you sent me on a journey.

    You told me once that when you see a mountain for the first time it is only a mountain, but if you look a little harder it becomes so much more. The mountain can symbolize challenges, failures, beauty, aspirations, to name just a few. You then concluded, that at the end, it is only just a mountain, nothing more. This was the journey that I needed to take. To find out that the mountain was just a mountain.

    I have not yet completed my journey, but I wanted to thank you for giving me a path to follow. You always will be the voice in my head that reminds me to be a better person, to pursue my dreams with vigor, and to find goodness in every person that I meet. You truly are a great man.

    Happy New Year and please give my love to Evelyn.

    Joan Neide

  2. Henry

    I remember Dave as one of the kindest and nicest person when we were studying in the Columbus Ave dojo. Rest in peace, Dave.

  3. George Mattson

    David was a wonderful person who will be greatly missed by the Uechi-ryu community. Susan and I loved him and considered him family. RIP friend. . ..

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