Masters Thoughts - An interview with WBDS
Which instructor/instructors have inspired you the most and why?
It’s not easy to define who has influenced and inspired your philosophy and your training the most but I will narrow it down to 3 individuals.
#1: Joe Ward; Goshin Do Karate. Joe was a Senpai at Kearny Karate where I began my 50 year (so far) journey in martial arts. He has influenced me heavily in several ways. Joe was the most passionate martial artist that I had met and motivated me in that way. He also taught me to pay attention to detail and that every move and nuance was important. Joe also loved kata and helped me gain an appreciation of the developmental aspects of Kata. We have remained friends for 50 years now.
#2: Fusei Kise, Meiyo Kaicho (Okinawa Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito Karate & Kobudo)
Supreme Grand Master Kise taught me so many things including humility in the martial arts. He has always conducted himself as a gentleman and a supreme technician. He also taught me to never stop learning.
I remember going with him to meet with Seiyu Akamine on Tsuken Island. Kise Sensei had been a Judan for many years but would travel by boat weekly to learn the long weapons of the Tsuken system from Grand Master Akamine. The joy of learning has always been something that I have appreciated and Kise Sensei showed his passion even as a Judan.
Another thing that I learned is effort and fighting spirit. He showed me that fighting spirit, effort and perseverance could mitigate a lack of talent (which I have in great abundance) through supreme effort, spirit and consistency.
I also learned from him the inside stories of some of the historical events that took place in the Okinawan martial arts world over the years. These little tidbits have inspired me to always strive for incremental improvement in all areas of the arts.
#3: Isao Kise, Kaicho (Okinawa Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito Karate & Kobudo)
From Isao Kaicho I have learned to seek quality without compromise and without lowering standards. Kaicho also teaches and demonstrates precision in technique and a profound knowledge of Bunkai. So, from Kaicho I’ve learned to not only to strive to understand applications of technique in kata but also to love the journey of understanding bunkai in Kata. He has helped my kata knowledge and depth of knowledge to expand significantly.
I think his motto might be: "never compromise quality or standards”.