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Sep 14 2006

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You are going to like the changes to our Forums!

Sep 12, 2006 Lets look at our Discussion Forums… Where we started, what we’ve accomplished and where we are headed.
The Future of our Forums.
Certainly a lot has happened in the martial art world since I created one of the first martial art websites on the internet and invited Bill Glasheen to host the first on-line martial art discussion forum.

We enjoyed a simpler time prior to the new millennium and 9/11. Who could predict the proliferation of mixed martial art fights and “fight club” type back yard battles that find their way onto the web and into the computers of wanna-be warriors. A merging of real fight club matches and the violent reality games found in these same computers create a world that future psychologists will find fodder, for a whole slew of books, theories and disorders; all related to the violent times we live in, recorded and exaggerated by the advance in technology that blend imagination with reality.

I shudder to envision our lives five years from now!

Visitors to my website are a mix of old world martial artist, modern “if it works – use it” practitioners and of course, wide eyed newbies of all ages, who are enrolled in a dojo, trying to make sense over what is one confusing, contradicting, frightening and at times amusing mountain of advice, suggestions, admonitions and at times intimidating posts, fascinating articles, links, video clips, jokes and a few great food recipes.

All the volunteers involved with the website work very hard in what everyone understands is a thankless and weary job. Someone asked me last week “why do you keep spending so much time on something that is so time consuming and often troublesome “?

Wow, that was a tough one to answer. In the beginning, I wanted to be able to communicate with the Uechi community and share training methods, discuss martial art history, explore new and exciting self defense techniques and to provide an on-line (as Bill Glasheen described it) “Roundtable” social club where interesting and timely topics of all persuasions could be discussed among new and old friends.

I’m not going to speculate why the website or forums should continue. Certainly none of the moderators, volunteers or I need the site because we lack other interests, work or hobbies. We all spend quality time in our dojo, working out, teaching and helping with our various martial art organizations. I would guess that each of us continue because we are still trying to communicate with like-minded people, validating our personal and professional goals relating to the martial arts and where possible, trying to influence others to share our beliefs.

Hence, the purpose of this article, “The future”! Looking ahead to where we are headed based on where we began and where we have been.

I’ve pretty much covered “where we began“. I didn’t have grandiose plans or any preconceived ideas about where the website was headed. I simply wanted a place where like-minded people could discuss the martial arts and Uechi-ryu in a friendly and helpful manner.

Where we have been” is a bit more difficult to explain. Certainly we have covered much ground in dissecting our traditional martial arts and rightfully exposed unexplained rituals, outdated myths and harmful and potentially dangerous mindsets. This useful and interesting goal is a double edged sword and has resulted in deep cuts to the art while excising harmful practices.

Where we are headed“: I’ve tried in many ways to accommodate the traditional with the modern warrior mindset. There certainly isn’t any reason why the person who practices his traditional Uechi-ryu shouldn’t also be able to defend himself when necessary. Ironically, most traditional Uechi practitioners completely agree, but during the past five years there has been a steady and ever increasing trend away from traditional training, into the mindset of “eliminate anything we don’t understand and focus on only what we believe works” mentality.

I would like to see more discussion pertaining to the benefits of the traditional and an attempt to understand (rather than dismiss) anything we don’t like to do or don’t understand.

For the traditional forums group, I would like to see less “mindless” posting and more thought going into concise and thoughtful threads. I have always believed that it is the quality of the discussions that matters, not the quantity. I would like to see this group of forums become a place where people interested in reading interesting discussions on traditional subject can do so without having to plough through dozens of off topic posts.

I look at the management of the forums in a similar way to the way I try to schedule activities at SummerFest. There is a time and place for serious traditional martial art training. This includes a focus on the core system as well as the many applications, interpretations and modern “add ons” to what we practice.

There are times and places for the respectful treatment of our seniors. A time and place where we honor the history, tradition and the art of our Uechi- ryu.

Finally, there is a time and place for relaxing, enjoying the comradery and friendship of our community – celebrating and perpetuating those unexplainable traditions that like glue, hold us together and provide an unspoken bond that lasts a lifetime. And, without question – there are times when I enjoy the banter of good natured humor and tasteful cartoons.

The Eastern Arts forums of tomorrow will take on the philosophy and focus of my SummerFest. This means less emphasis on the number of posts, but on the quality of posts. I envision a place where Uechi-ryu as an art will be balanced with Uechi-ryu as a fighting system and where Uechi-ryu will be explored as a healthy lifestyle as well.

Within the archives of Eastern Arts lie thousands of interesting and “readworthy” posts.
In order to place the best posts related to karate training will be stored (as in a library) in a category called:

Uechi-Ryu Online Kyohon
“An inter-active reference site for principles, drills, concepts, and traditions related to training Uechi- Ryu Karate. Post (or repost form another forum) what you’d like to remember and be able to reference. A great way to learn new and old ideas from the variety of traditions in our family of Uechi- ryu.”

Within the Kyohon will reside the best information pertaining to: Kihon (basic training drills), Kata (All about Uechi Kata), Kumite (Pre-arranged to Full Contact), Body Conditioning (Cardio & Stretching to Iron Shirt), Grappling, The Dojo - (we will be combining The Physical Dojo and Building a Successful Dojo)

Following the new online Kyohon will be our popular community discussions and a new forum where we can all get to know each other a little better.

Member Introductions
New members and old members are invited to introduce (or re-introduce) themselves to the community.

Community Discussions
Van Canna’s Self Defense Realities, Bill Glasheen’s Dojo Roundtable, Women and the Martial Arts, Tough Issues, Dave Young’s “Reality” – Your World or Mine!, Laugh a little..Live longer!, Chow for Now, Martial Arts and the Law

(Other forums have a “Lounge” for off-topics that aren’t martial arts related) I’m considering asking Panther if he’d like to expand his “tough issues” forum in to the “forum lounge.”

Specialty Forums
Kombat Kids, Mind-Body-Spirit Forum, WMAC, , Women’s Locker Room, Western Martial Arts & History, World Modern Arnis Coalition, Creative Heart & Soul Forum, Special Needs, Verbal Self Defense

Marketplace & Events

Events, Products & Services, Locate a Teacher or Dojo, SummerFest News, IUKF Tournament News,

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New England Black Belt Test

Date: Sunday, October 15th, 2006
Time: 10AM – Noon
Where: Khoury’s Karate Academy
Tewksbury, MA
This test is a very important one for IUKF. It is the first test being administered by Gary Khoury.
There has been quite a bit of confusion and frustration regarding testing in New England. This was mostly because the seniors in New England wanted to make their testing tougher than in the rest of the Uechi world. They felt their students should train longer than students elsewhere in the world and they believed that the administrative process involving the New England test should be more business-like and requirements strictly adhered to.
Actually, I like most of what was decided, but where the process failed, was the individual dojo and teachers who were not part of the decision making, for whatever reason, didn’t understand the nature of the changes and in some cases didn’t like the changes. Instead of creating a more unified New England group, the changes resulted in dissension and chaos. The seniors involved with the testing process finally decided to allow any dojo or group of dojo that wanted to do things themselves, to run their own tests in an action that held the organization together, but what generally was considered a temporary measure.
When I asked Gary to take on the job of test administrator, he understood I wasn’t giving him a posh job with a title. He knows that the job comes with a “damage control” rebuilding job description along with the regular administrative tasks that goes along with the title.
People have been contacting me, asking about the Fall dantest. They have candidates that under the “International” rules, qualify for testing, but under the New England rules that few want to follow, some fall short of time or time in grade. Because I’m asking all dojo to be part of this October 15th test, I’ve asked Gary to use “International” uechi-ryu test rules as described in the Black Belt Test Guide. (All members of IUKF receives an on-line 2nd edition of this book or you can purchase a printed version in the Uechi store.)
The IUKF Board of Directors has formed a test standard/requirements committee and is nearly ready to issue the official International Testing guide, that will clarify and expand on the testing rules found in the Black Belt Test Guide. These rules, with minor administrative modifications, have been working very well throughout the Uechi world, since 1958, when I was the first person tested using a formal testing process. (All the test forms and explanations for the test then and now are described in the Test Guide.
I would ask everyone interested in the physical testing standards and requirements to read the book. Its all there and has been there since the book was written in 1988. The test, as explained, has been very successfully given to black belt candidates in this manner, since 1958. Teachers understand this method. Students understand this method and test board members understand this method.
“If it isn’t broke – don’t fix it! “
In the coming months I’ll be discussing the physical test in great detail. But October 15th I am asking all NE, IUKF Uechi dojo to support Gary and IUKF by bringing your candidates to Tewksbury and become part of a most important day in your student’s martial art life. We owe it to our students to provide them with a day when their skills can be fairly tested by a dedicated and objective test board. A test board that is “pulling” together, directed by a highly qualified and respected test administrator.
Please call Gary or John Page (Helping Gary with this job) at 978-858-0123 and let them know you are supporting their efforts to conduct the best dan test ever held in New England! Please call today.

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IUKF members
Did you know members have their own private forum? This is where the Board of Directors communicate with the membership and update them on committee work.
Darin Yee is all excited about the IUKF group tour he is leading to China next month. Although it is too late to join the tour, you might be interested in all the activities they have planned. Bob Campbell is going to be meeting them in Hong Kong for a full day of site seeing and entertainment.
If you are a registered member of the forums and a paid up IUKF member, send me an email and I’ll add your name to the membership forum list.
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IUKF Seniors (Godan and above)
Board director Henry Thom is in charge of the new IUKF senior’s Gallery, which has just been set up. The gallery will contain pictures and biography of all IUKF godans and above ranked individuals. To learn more, e-mail Henry at:
henrythom@juno.com
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Eastern Arts

George Mattson
phone: 321-273-0409

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