8/24/2008:Someone just emailed me – The Uechi-ryu.com site made it to the 2nd page of the “karate” category on Google!
Thu, Feb 26 – “Warrior Golf Tournament” (sponsored by the Warrior Golf Company)
George E. Mattson
I’ve been working on the SummerFest schedule – Remember, many of the guest instructors will not be shown on the schedule. There will be a bulletin board on site with their photograph and day/time of their seminars. The 1st draft of the schedule can be downloaded HERE I am hoping that this year’s SummerFest will …View full post
SummerFest Presenter Personal defense is a prime reason that people study the martial arts. Preparing to defend yourself requires more than the study of techniques and the physical training of one’s body. It requires studying and understanding the principles of combat and preparing mentally to implement them. Among these principles are decisive action, aggressive …View full post
This is the first opportunity I’ve had to discuss my trip to Great Britain and to formally tell all my old and new friends there what a wonderful time I had. Two all day seminars wore me out, but the Guinness after-workout-therapy sessions revitalized me completely! The trip was made even more special because …View full post
Juniorfest is a special program held at the Summerfest weekend by Darin Yee An announcement to all Jr. Campers for this year’s George Mattson’s summer fest event. Students of all ranks are welcome. The date is Saturday August 8. The day starts at 10am with warm up exercises and our workout continues to 11:30 when …View full post
Building the 2015 list of Awardees for Master Ranks and Titles: 10 dan: Arthur Rabesa 9th dan: Henry Thom, 8th dan: Gary W. Geddes, Enrico Paone, Sheldon Dunn 7th dan: Harry Skeffington, , Justin Testa, Victor Swinimer 6th dan: Andrew Summerley, Honors: Hanshi-sei: Arthur Rabesa Kyoshi: Harry Skeffington, Victor Swinimer Renshi: Andrew Summerley 2015 Achievement Award: Buzz Durkin Please …View full post
Aug 18 2008
8/24/2008:Someone just emailed me – The Uechi-ryu.com site made it to the 2nd page of the “karate” category on Google!
George E. Mattson
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/sanchin-on-the-beach/
Aug 14 2008
The POV of a young Uechi-Ryu Practitioner
The weather couldn’t get much better. In the morning, fog drifted in from Buzzard Bay and swirled around the massive TS Enterprise. Through the cafeteria windows we watched the sun slowly breaking through the mist. From then on it was all glorious, a light breeze rippling the canvas of the gigantic tent, the grass deep green in the shadows.
We arrived at the Mass Maritime Academy for Sensei George Mattson’s 25th Summerfest camp late Friday afternoon, just in time to watch the last black belt being tested. Afterwards, Sensei Mattson took time off to give Max and I a lesson out on the grass. We have been his virtual students for a few months now, and it felt like a historic moment to be critiqued by him in person, during his famous Summerfest! However, my nerves got the best of me, and I forgot to correct my kanchu opening as he had explained in detail during the last online lesson… He then showed us the importance of keeping the wrists straight and strong for ‘closed gate’ at the end of Sanchin.
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/report-from-max-and-mia/
Aug 12 2008
The teacher is more important than the dojo!
[From G.E.Mattson’s new book, “The Way of Uechi-ryu Karate”]
When looking for a school, try to find one that teaches a style that is suited to your natural abilities. Make sure that you meet the person who will be teaching you. Watch him teach at least two classes. If possible, watch a new student class. Imagine you being in that class. Will you feel comfortable and confident with your teacher’s knowledge, ability and personality?
Although the style is important, the teacher is the key to your success. A good teacher will be able to adapt a marginal system to your individual needs and goals. A poor teacher, one who is egotistical or one dimensional, will take a great system and transmit it badly. Do not blindly accept rank or trophies as a judge of teaching ability. Often those who can do, cannot teach! Many teachers own schools for all the wrong reasons! Try to stay clear of these schools and teachers.
When searching for a teacher, find one who follows the philosophy of “not injuring a student while trying to help him”.
Often, people will ask me how to select a school, style or teacher. If you are contemplating studying karate, and have not yet selected a school, my discussion on this subject might help you understand a little more about the art and the people who teach it. You might also be a little better prepared to select your school.
There are quite a few teachers who consider themselves “tougher” and better fighters than the “professional” instructors who are so successful today. For obvious reasons, their schools seldom have very many students. The teacher might be an excellent athlete and a wonderful person, but his training methods may be better suited for Navy Seals than what you are capable of achieving.
Even though you might like to study at this dojo, your odds of staying with the pro gram won’t be any better than the school’s hundreds of other drop-outs. Regardless of how much you want to take the “hard” road, spend the first year in a traditional school that has a proven track record for holding their students. There are no bragging rights for having dropped out of the toughest martial art school in America.
Young teachers often will run schools where the training is geared to the very young and strong. People not able to keep up with the younger program quickly drop out, or do not join in the first place. Conversely, older teachers often gear their classes for a more mature audience and might turn off younger students and potential students.
Teachers do not consciously specialize in the caliber of instruction offered at their dojo. Often, the program is subtly focused on a specific category and without the instructor realizing it, his school takes on a one dimensional characteristic.
You are responsible for your own progress and destiny. Your teacher is a guide. He should be responsible and sensitive to your short and long term goals. If he is not, then you should check out another teacher.
There are many reputable organizations, schools and teachers. Many have direct ties with their teacher and respected organizations. These associations tend to be more “traditional”, in that the members value the link with the styles’ heritage and attempt, through the group’s standards, to maintain the system’s key/core elements. Member schools agree on standards for rank, which relates to the trademark forms, sets and drills that make up the heart of the system.
Students joining schools belonging to a reputable association, have the best chance of receiving excellent instruction while having confidence that the diploma received for rank has some value.
First check to see if a school and teacher has a direct tie to a national organization that in turn has a link with a well known International organization. If a tie exists, then you at least know the school you are interested in, is being supervised in some capacity by individuals who are knowledgeable about the art. Even with this basic assurance, you should still talk with new students in the school and watch a few classes, taught by the person who will be teaching you during your first course.
If the school does not have ties with a national or international organization, deter mine if the school specializes in a single system or style. Even if the dojo does not have ties with a well recognized group, it may have strong positive leadership, thoroughly versed in a traditional style of karate. In this situation, be especially careful in checking out the school’s credentials and those of the parent organization, if applicable.
Find out who will be teaching your classes. What are their credentials? How long have they been teaching and/or in business? Finally, watch a few classes and talk with people who have been attending classes.
Since you will, by extension, be part of the association, learn as much as you can about any parent organization. Be skeptical of those groups whose sole function is issuing rank certificates. Find out as much as possible about the people who are in charge of the organization. . . Their background and years in the art. Find out if the par ent group offer seminars and other methods for keeping member schools up to standards.
Even though an individual might be an excellent teacher and technician, he should have some way to keep up his own training and teaching methods. Good teachers learn from one another and need others to make sure subtle day by day changes don’t vary too much from the standards of the system or organization.
I often talk about a dojo having a life of its own, made up of students and teachers. By watching a few classes and talking to members, you should get a sense of whether you will fit in with the dojo and its members. The more schools you check out, the better sense of value and compatibility you will have.
Be aware and make sure you feel comfortable with the dojo you select. Few people would buy the first car they look at. Most of us will do research prior to ever visiting a showroom. Not surprisingly, karate schools have far more options/variables to offer than cars and interestingly enough, today the financial commitment involved, equal or surpass that of an automobile purchase!
Finally, there are hybrid groups, dedicated to specialized areas, such as Mixed Martial Arts, Point Tournament or Kick Boxing training. These organizations recognize the limitations of their sports and address issues that relate specifically to their interests. Schools that train students to participate in these activities should be up-front about what they offer.
Your comments and suggestions should be of value to your instructor during the course of your training. You are the best person to know your limits and capacity for learning. If you need more help, or if you need to progress more slowly, do not be afraid to discuss your concerns with your teacher. He may have his own reasons for pushing you beyond what you consider correct. But he may not be familiar with your concerns that are valid. If there are 250 students in your school, it is difficult for the teacher to know everything about you that relates to how you can best learn safely and effectively
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/finding-a-good-dojo-teacher/
Aug 12 2008
This vacuum they left does not dignify all the months of training they went through, nor does it revere the sacred virtues for which Okinawan martial arts stood. I never understood why anyone, especially a black belt, would work so hard to get something and then simply give it up and quit. If a fight is worth fighting, then it should be worth winning. If training hard for months to attain something is worth achieving, then it should be worth actively maintaining to dignify what it stands for.
It is an honor and a pleasure to know and work with a fellow Okinawan black belt, like yourself, who understands and exercises those training virtues and teaching disciplines which dignify that of a true Grandmaster.
From one Champion to another,
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/summerfest-2008/
Aug 12 2008
Quite a few “presenters” will be helping make this year’s event a most interesting and valuable supplement to your ongoing training. Please contact me if you would like to be a “presenter” and be sure to include a summary of the seminar you would like to teach.
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/welcome-to-joomla/
Aug 11 2008
With the closing of 2008, I’m looking forward to the beginning of a new era in the development of the Uechi-ryu karate system practiced by IUKF members. I’m ‘kicking’ off the new year with a brand new website format that is easier for me to edit and possible for contributors to help build.
I’ll be looking for editors who will be contributing articles on subjects of interest to the martial art community. And of course there will be opportunities to discuss these subjects in greater depth on our very popular forums. Since the Uechi-ryu.com site gets thousands of visitors every day and most of these people don’t visit the forums, I’m hoping this feature will motivate people to drop in and contribute to the forum community.
My “virtual” dojo will be entering a new era come 2009. After nearly three years of experimenting with different programs and teaching methods, I’ve developed a “long distance” dojo that works. Now that the program is working smoothly, I’m in the process of adding new subjects to the curriculum. Dave Young has volunteered to be the first guest instructor and will be offering a fantastic on-line civilian course in “realistic” self defense. Included will be all the techniques, drills and training necessary to take your “traditional” martial arts to another “realist” level.
Lots of training in “force continuum” will also be covered. . . understanding how the law, judges and juries look at “preemptive” strikes, fight communication and all those things many macho martial art teachers gloss over in class and on the internet.
Dave will be conducting a series of on-line seminars in 2009 as part of the “virtual dojo” program. I hope you will be joining us at Dave’s seminars, both on-line and the ones he is conducting at dojo around the country.
Many people have already signed up to purchase advanced copies of my new book, “The Way of Uechi-ryu Karate”, due out early in 2009. I had hoped to have it published for SummerFest in 2008, but with all the other projects demanding time and attention, our team has had to delay the date of release.
The new website is a work in progress. There are literally thousands of articles, features and photos that have to be edited and moved. I don’t know if I’ll be able to move all the registered members of the old site to the new one, but we are trying. If not, please re-register so you will be able to view all the restricted features open only to registered users.
Have a peaceful, happy and prosperous holiday season and new year.
George E. Mattson
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/whats-new-in-15/
Aug 11 2008
UECHI FORCE KARATE TOURNAMENTin honor of the great Master Uechi Kanei.
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/mannyneves-tournament-2008/
Aug 09 2008
[From G.E.Mattson's new book, "The Way of Uechi-ryu Karate" - to be published soon]
9/11 is one of the most powerful and emotional terms in the English language. The day was burned into the memory of every American. I can only recall one other day having such impact. The day President John Kennedy was shot – a day that will forever be a bookmark in my memory. The tragedy of 9/11 affected the martial arts and spawned a whole new breed of innovators in the self defense field. The term “realism” crept into the staid and musty dojo, providing a benchmark by which everyone began to measure the effectiveness of their training.
Traditional martial arts have always survived by emphasizing the spiritual and mental benefits. Early proponents bragged that what they taught was the “ultimate” in self defense, but few were tested and few were aware of either their strengths or weaknesses.
9/11 changed all that. For some reason or other, “reality” was very much evident in our daily lives. We didn’t just read about terrorism that happened to other nations, we were now in the middle of it. Where formally we trained in lofty ideals where actual fighting didn’t exist, we now questioned our methods, our instructors and our mindset. The dojo became a place where theoretical and reality crossed paths.
One of my greatest fears during this transition was that people would abandon the traditional martial arts in favor of programs based on pure self-defense skills (Jutsu), absent of any values inherent in the traditional martial arts (Do). I believed that the old ways contained all the elements of fighting that was needed to make a person combat ready, but was hidden in the rituals of kata (one person sets) and bunkai (multiple person drills). All I had to do to retain the traditional while introducing the realistic, was to redefine the methods of interpreting the old methods.
After all, boxing went through much of the same type of evolution. It began as rigidly defined sport with rules that perpetuated the rituals while discouraging any experimentation and modifications. People will argue about whether the old-time fighters are better than the modern ones, but aside from making interesting conversation, few will really believe a Jack Dempsey would last long against many modern professional fighters. Techniques, training methods, coaching and diet all give the modern fighter an edge that cannot be overcome with ritual and tradition.
Faced with these decisions, martial art schools had to decide on an action plan. A majority of dojo, when threatened by this transition, withdrew into redefining Karate from a self-defense based training program where physical and mental were equally emphasized, into a kind of babysitting service where children were taught good manners, respect and discipline, using traditional martial art basic training. Nothing really wrong with this, except they still call what they do “Karate”! In the early years of karate, people viewed what we did as the “ultimate in self defense”, today people are being brainwashed into believing that karate is a form of baby sitting, where their kids are given “good manner” instructions unavailable and unattainable from their conventional schools.
Other dojo buried their collective heads in the sand, pretending that what they do is still the “ultimate” in self defense and that the “old” ways remain not only the best, but vastly superior to what is being offered by the eclectic “flavor of the month” self defense programs being offered by everyone who has ever been in a street fight or bounced at a local nightclub.
The schools that I believe took the most reasonable approach, simply redefined the fifty percent physical training being offered and measured its effectiveness by today’s standards of fitness and practical/realistic fighting methods.
Where in the past we practiced defensive and counter moves against primitive weapons seldom if ever used on the streets, today we acknowledge the presence of guns, knives, baseball bats and tire chains as being weapons a person might potentially encounter on the street.
Within the fifty percent “mind” part of our program, we factor in “mindset” and verbal self-defense as part of what makes up our self defense arsenal. Knowing the law concerning weapons and self-defense is also a very important part of what a traditional dojo must offer its students.
In other words, today’s traditional dojo is no longer just about punching and kicking. In other sections of this book I will touch on these subjects. Here I will describe some of the training methods that can bridge the theoretical and traditional with the realism. . . In a relatively safe manner..
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/reality-vs-art/
Aug 09 2008
George E. Mattson Classes:
Mount Dora Community Center: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-7PM
Mattson Academy “Virtual” Dojo program.
Private Lessons: Call 321-273-0409
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/support-and-documentation/
Jul 30 2008
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/summerfest-grab-bag/