This is our second Hall of Fame in 2010. I was originally inducted in the WHFSC International Martial Arts Hall of Fame back in 1998 as “Master Instructor of the Year”. The World Head of Family Sokeship Council is the premiere Grandmasters council and therefore the most respected Martial Arts Hall of Fame. A simple glance at its’ membership tells why it is the most prestigious and largest martial arts Grandmasters council in the world. Maestro Peter Urban, Ron Van Clief, Remy Presas, Wally Jay, Gary Alexander, Masaaki Hatsumi, Stephen K. Hayes, Adriano Emperado, Ji Han Jae, and the list goes on.
Naturally, when I recieved the nomination for the “Founder’s Award” I knew this would be a historic night for our organization. The nomination came from WHSFC Grandmasters Council member, GCM Mark Shuey.
GCM Shuey and I spent considerable time throughout the weekend discussing the future of the cane martial arts. Later this year we will have cane martial arts competition in the categories of kata and self defense. Cane martial artists and enthusiasts will want to make plans for October to attend the Disney World event in Orlando which is where our Cane event will take place. Details forthcoming.
Shuey and I met Friday afternoon for the seminar presentations. I greeted GM Frank Sanchez whom I hadn’t seen in years since my last visit of this annual event. I was an annual supporter of this Hall of Fame from the time I was inducted until it was moved to Texas after hurricane Katrina.
Other notables who I hadn’t seen in years included Grandmasters Gary Dill of Jeet Kune Do, Bram Frank of CSSD, and John Casarez of Manabi-Masho Jujitsu. Friday’s presentations which I particulalry enjoyed included Grandmaster Phil Little’s Isshin-Ryu demonstration. Many may not be aware that I hold a black belt in Isshin-Ryu Karate. I can tell you GM Little is among the top representatives of this art anywhere. You can tell from watching his students perform kata his program is of the highest quality.
GM John Casarez of Manabi-Masho Jujutsu is an example for us all as to what it means to have an indomitable spirit. Despite being plagued with diabetes which has led to the amputation of his fingers, GM Casarez has trained and taught daily for years without interruption. Nothing but respect for GM Casarez. I also enjoyed GM Glen Wilson’s presentation of Pai Lum Tao Kung Fu. GM Wilson is a direct student of the Great GM Daniel Kane Pai and the art’s chief representative. The authenticity of what he teaches shines through. GM Wilson offered an articulate presentation combined with crisp application making him a favorite among spectators. I spent some time talking to GM Wilson whose stories of trainnig in the old days are priceless. GM Wilson is down to earth, friendly and enjoyable to be around.
GM Bobby Taboada of Balintawak has been one of my favorite martial arts personalities for years. When he and his students took the room and he began speaking, everyone just stopped whatever they were doing to listen to this legendary Filipino Grandmaster. Bobby is always a treat to watch. Great sense of humor and skilled to the gills with the escrima stick. Boy would I love to do a “Double Impact” Stick/Cane seminar with the great Bobby Taboada! Also a treat to watch is the ageless wonder… GM Neal Hummerstone. Neal used to MC the seminar presentations of the event and I remember his wife always making sure everyone (including Neal) started and finnished on time. We rehashed stories and I mentioned how I enjoyed watching her keep Neal in-line. GM Hummerstone demonstrated applications while sitting at a table. At the age of 80, he still makes it look easy. The last presentation on Friday night was an old friend I hadn’t seen in years, Master Frank Ehnle of the American Hapkido Federation. Master Ehnle and I were once seminar and video presenters for the same organization. Always presents quality material in an articulate fashion. Happy to see him and his wife who were always gracious hosts when I visited thier dojang. Will certainly follow up with Mr. Ehnle in the near future.
Saturday morning we had the annual Grandmaster Council meeting. GCM Shuey has nominated and is personally sponsoring me into the WHFSC GM’s Council. This would certainly be a highlight of my martial arts career, given the membership of this prestigious council. Following the meeting an exciting day of seminar presentations began. Among those presenting this day were GM Gary Dill, GM Bram Frank, GCM Mark Shuey, and yes, yours truly. I was the 4th presenter of the day which was great because we had the largest crowd at that point. This was my first ever presentation for the WHFSC event as the Grandmaster/Founder of CDK USA. Since most attendees were unfamiliar with the components of CDK USA, I gave a verbal introduction and history of the art. The practical portion of the demo saw some of the best crowd participation. Participants did a walk through of Power Shot Kata before practicing defences against grabs and punches. I also gave a practical demo on the advantage a cane practitioner could have versus a knife fighter. Assisting me in the demo was Sempai Bryan Suarez. Bryan had already assisted other GMs whose students were unavailable. Luckily, Bryan was unscathed by the time we were up. He did an EXCELLENT job! Bryan’s demo of Power Shot Kata had everyone’s attention. When propelry performed, martial skill has a way of engulfing the viewer. Our presentation was well recieved and other GMs including Glen Wilson and Hanshi James Price of Goju USA commended me on our demo. Those are two whose opinions I value. Incidentally, Hanshi James Price is the only webmaster “untouchable” of the late Goju USA Patriarch, GM Peter Urban. Hanshi Price was quite gracious with me in sharing stories of his teacher which I truly appreciated. What a gentleman and a treat to be around. Thank you Hanshi Price. Bryan and I also assisted GCM Shuey during his presentation as I have done many times in the past. GCM Shuey’s demo was brutal on Bryan who as we later joked, was lucky to keep his manhood intact. Ouch!
The event culminated with Saturday night’s award banquet. Our table which included GCM Shuey and CM Merle McAlpin consisted mostly of CDK students and family members. GCM Shuey spoke about his cane work to help seniors and veterans and performed a Cane Kata for the audience which included a splits manuever… in his tux. Moments earlier I had ensured GM Sanchez, GCM Shuey would perform the kata despite the limited space. GCM Shuey was concerned the audience would not get a good view and had second thoughts about doing the demo. I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for our art to be on display at such an event. I convinced the ol’ Grandmaster to do it, and it turned out great! I was awarded the “Founder’s Award” for the creation of the Cane-Do Kai U.S.A. martial arts system. I value it tremedously because it comes from the WHFSC and GCM Mark Shuey. This is a brotherhood of Grandmasters I feel proud to be a part of. I look forward to making the WHSFC Hall of Fame an annual event for CDK USA as an organization. An annual forum for CDK USA rank promotions, seminars, and organization awards. Start making plans to attend in 2011!
I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. Starting with my immediate CDK USA family, especially Sempai Bryan, Jose Hernandez, Reni Rock, Ily Nachon, Vanessa Lopez and Rita Duenas, Tula (mom), John, Rudy, Nuri, and Raiza Garcia who was there in spirit. All my headquarter students, and moreover, my extended international CDK USA family that is just as strong and supportive.
A special thanks to GCM Mark Shuey for providing a forum for me to share the art of the cane and the empty hand with the world. I look forward to an even bigger and better WHFSC Hall of Fame in 2011! In the meantime, Keep Canin’!