SummerFest 2012 Newsletter Issue 22| June 25,2012

SummerFest History

Update from G.E.Mattson

The Summer Camp Tradition, 
by Geoffrey Edwards [submitted 1996]

I was first attracted to Sensei George Mattson's dojo over twenty years ago when it was located in downtown Boston. After earning my Brown belt, my job took me to Ohio. Since 1983, I have made the pilgrimage to Boston every August for Mr. Mattson's annual Summer Camp. Even though I may never advance beyond the Brown Belt level, the camp has become an important part of my life.

During the 80's and early 90's, Mattson concentrated on bringing many Okinawan, Japanese and Chinese masters to his camp, who would concentrate on teaching traditional exercises, drills and forms. In the last five years, he has promoted the talents of local martial arts masters, many who specialize in unique and highly popular ancient and modern disciplines. Some of these arts are of the "highbred" variety, combining the best of a number of Oriental arts to provide solutions to modern world needs. Pressure point study combined with weapon disarming and submission hold techniques is one of many such new age art forms being developed by students of Mattson and followers of other martial arts systems. When I asked him about this change of attitude, his reply shed some light on the man and his goals:

"... Back in the 80's, when Grandmaster Kanei Uechi was still alive and healthy, the spirit of the camp thrived on his presence. After he died, many North Americans found themselves taking a second look at why they were studying Uechi-ryu and what their expectations were. The Okinawan, Chinese and Japanese masters remained an important part of their practice, but the students and teachers were looking to explore their system. . . check out what others were doing and how this new information related to the art of Uechi-ryu. We were looking to discover new concepts, ideas and understanding for the old and trusted moves we are practicing and teaching."

"This new emphasis", continued Mattson, "opened the door for local talent to be highlighted at the annual camp. Ground work, grappling, pressure points, jujitsu, Okinawan traditional weapons, chigung, meditation practices, acupuncture, Tai massage, in addition to the formal karate practices, now formed a kind of new-age schedule. Instead of three or four Okinawan /Japanese /Chinese teachers drilling students for four hours, we now offer a choice of 20-35 hour long seminars every day. And the students love it!"

" Instead of doing three days of conventional karate classes," Mattson continued, "the camp now offers students and teachers an opportunity to check out other styles and disciplines, in a relaxed and friendly setting".

Sensei Uechi enjoys these events, especially when he works with the children. Although he speaks very little English, he is able to communicate very well through the language of movement. The kids love his classes and keep him busy for hours signing autographs on their hats, T shirts and gis."

I remember the first camp on Thompson Island in Boston Harbor. It was five days and nights of non stop activity. Hard work during the day and partying every night. I had to take a vacation at the end of the week to recuperate. The long weekend is much easier to fit into my schedule and by Sunday evening, most people are still eager for more. Many families are coming now. Spouses who don't practice the martial arts are able to spend time touring Cape Cod during the day and party with everyone else at night. Many get involved with seminars requiring no prior experience or with sessions dealing with the healing arts. Dr. Ann Doggett and Dr. Richard Brown, Chiropractors from Quincy, were busy for the entire camp talking about reflexology, diet and Chiropractic. This year, there will be more seminars dealing with acupuncture, tea ceremony and Chinese medicine.

There really is something for everyone. The teachers have an opportunity to sit in on children's classes, taught by experts who manage hundreds of children in their dojo. Emphasis is on how to motivate the children while maintaining discipline and teaching them self confidence and control. Teachers are able to return to their own schools, eager to try out new teaching skills acquired at the camp. Needless to say, children really enjoy the special attention received during the camp. 

Because children make up 60-70% of an average dojo, these classes are also very popular to monitor by the camp instructors and dojo owners. In order not to tire the children, the classes alternate between outdoor class work for one hour, indoor for the next hour. Rose Dyer, a very popular teacher who operates a number of highly successful youth programs throughout New England , works the indoor classes, teaching a popular "Virtues over Violence" program to her enthralled audience.

One of the camp's traditions is Sensei George Mattson's 6:30am class by the ocean. As many as a hundred students show up every morning for his class. Mattson Sensei works on breathing, balance and strength developing potential of the "active meditation" form called Sanchin. Often, when the tides permit, the students will march right into the ocean performing their kata.

One of Mattson's students came up with the idea of the name "Summer of the Tiger" five years ago. Harvey Leibergott, a black belt author of the recently released book focusing on the Summer Camp history, thought it a good idea to have a camp theme stressing each of the Uechi-ryu's Chinese roots. Since Uechi-ryu originally came from China and was derived from the Tiger, the Crane and mythical Dragon, Harvey thought the name could change each year for three years. This highly popular "theme" camp was so successful that Mattson continued the name "Summer of the Tiger, Dragon & Crane" at the end of the third year.

Martial Art SummerFest
August 3,4 & 5t
Friday, Saturday & Sunday,

I've done all I can to make this year's Martial Art SummerFest a memorable event. Now all you have to do is CLICK HERE
and be part of this fantastic experience! Every hour of SummerFest there are seminars for beginners as well as experienced martial artists. Generally, people Come to learn about something they normally don't do. So for the most part, most of the participants are new students. . . New students with open-minds and a willingness to expand their martial art horizons. Our seminar presenters are selected because of their unique talents and each is charged with conducting their seminars in a manner that focuses on Uechi-ryu compatibility. I liken it to a wheel, with Uechi-ryu being the hub and each of our seminars acting as spokes, feeding information of value to our core Uechi-ryu.

I'm hoping that you will join us at the JunglePlex in Plymouth, MA the first weekend in August. Click on the SummerFest website and review the schedule, reviews and archives relating to this historical martial art event. I promise you won't be disappointed. . . Of course if this is your first visit, you will probably be quite disappointed that you missed so many!

  Questions??? Click here to ask. I'll get right back to you with answers.
Call to action Click here
 Please print out and post this year's SummerFest Poster. Help make this year's Martial Art SummerFest a success by encouraging your friends and associates to be part of our traditional annual reunion. Click on the mini poster (below) to view and print out an 8X10 size poster.

The "Event" at 2012 SummerFest: Thursday, August 2nd.
*****Registration for this event is independent of SummerFest!******

JuniorFest: Saturday, August 4th (10am-4pm -with lunch)

JunglePlex located in Plymouth, MA. (Directions)

2nd Year at the JunglePlex

The new facility in Plymouth is easy to reach from Boston and other locations. Local hotels are cooperating by offering discounts for early reservations and we are working at getting local restaurants to give our people discounts.

And with 60,000 square feet of workout area, plus many rooms for "breakout" sessions and a full service lounge and cafereria for snacks, our camp should run smoothly and stress free.

I've been working with a number of senior martial artist who are skilled in conducting major sporting and educational events in order to find out other areas of SummerFest that need updating, modification and improvement. Some of the areas we are working on include:

1. Identify and finalize the Presenter list for the three days of camp as soon as possible. 
2. Create a new and well organized website with easy to find links and topics. 
3. Publish an advanced schedule of seminars in order for participants to review and sort out their list of seminars to attend during the three days. 
4. Map out the facility with clearly defined seminar areas so presenters and participants will easily be able to find them. 
5. Publish a list of local hotels and restaurants with discounted rates for camp attendees. 
6. Because this will be a very important camp for many of us, it has been suggested that we adopt a dress code for working out. I would like to hear from you on how you feel about wearing a lightweight gi bottom, camp t-shirt and karate belt? I kind of like this idea.

I'll be continuing to work on this site and hope to have all the important information up by the end of May. Early registrations, hotel room reservations and airline tickets should be done as soon as possible. Airline fares continue to fluctuate and you should start checking them out now to get your best deal.

Looking forward to seeing you at camp this year,

 Important Notice to Dojo Owners:

To save on this year's costs, I'm asking all dojo to please print out the poster and encourage your students to download the forms needed to sign-up for SummerFest. Everything can be found on this site, including the application. If you have any problems downloading the application, please send me an email, with your name and address (or your fax number) and I'll mail or fax one to you. This year promises to be a fantastic SummerFest. Susan and I hope you will be able to join us and the Presenters' team at the Plymouth, MA JunglePlex the first weekend in August.  321-273-0409