Monday, July 30, 2007

This past weekend I was up to teach at Mike Friedman's mini-camp in Lake Mary, FL.
They had a good turn-out. The instructors were myself, Sean Kelley, Rainer Schulte, Tom Sommerville, and Raffy Pambuan (picture on my home page at
Saturday evening there was a dinner at a local restaurant with a presentation by the mayor of Lake Mary. He read a proclamation that Saturday, July 27,was Guardian Angels day in Lake Mary. That's something you don't see often at a dinner.
I have to give the camp attendees a pat on the back because the last part of the day was done in the heat and dark due to a lightning strike that knocked out the power at the studio.
Congratulations to Mike Friedman on a successful event.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Even the dog knows, part 2

I wrote about how a dog knows to change targets in an attack sequence if an avenue is blocked. Yet human beings seem to get caught in what is called a decision loop under stress, where they keep doing the same thing over, with the same results.
This morning I was walking the dog and when he was dawdling for what I thought was a little too long, I started to pull him away.
He didn't want to go.
What he did was drop his center of gravity and spread his legs. He did what we teach on the first lesson when we show the horse stance to a new student. It is the principle of widening and lowering our base, the phrase for which Ed Parker used was "Establish your base".
I've often joked that I would like a tape recorded loop playing in the studio that repeats "bend your knees" every thirty seconds. What is it that makes us think we don't have to use such principles? I came across a phrase recently that said if you don't use the principles, the principles are still working on you.
If the opponent knows you don't have a root, they'll take advantage of it. And they can do it unintentionally. Every system uses the rooting or setting a base idea to some degree. Kenpo is nice because the main stances are not too high and not too low.
If the dog knows he can't be easily moved by lowering his base, you should too.
After all, you're smarter than he is, right?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Don't take your eyes off your opponent

Years ago I went to a community college in the Chicago suburbs called Moraine Valley (Moron Alley). I met a guy named "Buzz" Swanson in the judo club there and we became good buddies. Buzz managed to get himself stabbed one night and here's the story.
When I saw him he was looking OK but his one eyelid was droopy and his voice was shot due to some nerve damage sustained but it healed OK later and he was back to normal. Naturally, I got the story from him on what happened.
He was out late one night and stopped at a Dunkin Donuts in Blue Island for some coffee. There was only the girl working and one guy at the counter. Remember this was about 1972, when it was common for one person to work a night shift alone. He remembered the girl kind of looked at him funny when he gave his order. It turned out she did that because just before he walked in the guy at the counter said to her, "I'm gonna kill the next person to walk in here."
Buzz got his coffee and walked out to his car and the man followed him. The girl called the police as this happened. The man approached him and started a verbal altercation. Now Buzz is a peaceful guy and did what anyone trained would do - try to talk his way out of it because the guy wasn't letting him walk away.
The man wasn't having any of it, and Buzz recalled the man was shorter and smaller than he and didn't seem to be much of a threat. Mistake #1. As Buzz was talking the guy slapped his face, which caused Buzz to turn away to put his coffee on the roof of the car, planning to go to hands-on. Mistake #2.
When he turned back, he had a knife stuck into his neck. The guy took off. Luckily, Buzz was at a donut shop that was only a few blocks from St. Francis hospital, and the counter girl had taken the man's comment and action seriously enough to call the police. Those two factors saved his life.
The cops caught the guy later that morning in the party district of Mt. Greenwood, not far away. When questioned, he said he was "looking for a girl". Chilling.
Buzz survived OK, with a great war story. But he lamented to me, "I broke the first rule. I took my eyes off my opponent". You can analyze it and say he should have thrown the coffee in his face, or whatever. Remember, we weren't there and Buzz was trying to solve it peacefully. He knew he made a mistake and we can use his lesson to learn from. He was lucky to be able to tell the story.
The moral of the story is in the title of this article. The second lesson is that you always approach the situation with an attitude that the opponent knows more and is better than you.
Keep training.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

More on Josh

A few days ago I wrote about Josh Waitzkin, "The Art of Learning". Below is the interview from USA Today.

By Tracey Wong Briggs, USA TODAY
Josh Waitzkin became a celebrity at 16 when the 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer told the chess champ's story, from learning the game at 6 by playing street hustlers in New York City's Washington Square Park to his first national title at 9.
Thrust into the spotlight, Waitzkin tried to play up to others' expectations, had trouble adjusting to a new coach and ultimately quit competitive chess in his early 20s. He explored Eastern philosophy as a religion major at Columbia, took up Tai Chi at 21 and won two world championships six years later. Now 30, he studied Brazilian jiu jitsu.

His new book, The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence (Free Press, $25), describes his journey through chess to tai chi and his approach to peak performance. USA TODAY?s Tracey Wong Briggs reaches him in the Bahamas.

Q: Why did you take up tai chi?

A: Initially I was very drawn to the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist philosophy. It was helping me deal with the balance of these external and internal issues with my chess life. Tai chi is the martial embodiment of Taoist philosophy. Initially, I had no intention of competing in the martial arts; it was just the meditation.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Art | Learning | Bobby Fischer | Tracey Wong Briggs
Q: You were national champion two years after taking up tai chi and world champion four years after that. What did you bring from chess that allowed you to become that good that quickly?

A: One way of looking at that is through the idea of "numbers to leave numbers, form to leave form" (learning fundamentals, such as the numbers of chess positions, so well that they leave your conscious mind and become instinctive). It started to feel as though I was just taking the essence of my chess understanding and making it manifest in the martial arts.

Q: How are your techniques applicable outside direct competition — say, writing a poem or playing the violin?

A: I think my connecting those two arts is just an example that all arts can be connected. Principles of learning from anything can be applied to anything else. My relationship to these things isn't about the arts; it's not about chess or tai chi. It's really about learning.

Q: You had a lot of aptitude for chess, but you also credit your success to how you were raised. What did your parents and teachers do right?

A: Compared with many of the rivals I was competing against, I had the feeling they were much more naturally gifted than me. The thing that really separated me was having a great foundation and an environment around me that allowed me to pursue it in a beautiful way.

So many people are paralyzed by this (perfectionist) vision. Very gifted people, they win and they win, and they are told that they win because they are a winner. That seems like a positive thing to tell children, but ultimately, what that means is when they lose, it must make them a loser. I think that kind of fixed view of intelligence makes you brittle. It makes you unable to deal with inevitable setbacks.

For me, I think the best thing that ever happened was losing that first national championship game. It put me in a mini-crisis as a young boy — actually, for me, it didn't feel "mini" — but ultimately, when I won the nationals that followed, my relationship to success became about that process, the idea of having setbacks, overcoming them and ultimately succeeding.

My coach and my parents both had this relationship to what I was doing, which was allowing me to express myself with chess. And so I could love it. I had a passion for it. I was expressing myself through chess, and I was learning about myself through chess.

Q: A lot of your book is informed by Eastern thought. Why is this hard for Westerners? Or is it hard for everyone?

A: I don't think it's a Western-Eastern thing. When I've competed in Taiwan, I've been stunned by how many people are stuck; they're proclaiming themselves to be grand masters, but they haven't learned in 30 years. It's easy to get stuck. Once we start to have success, it becomes easier to become kind of cemented in this perspective of who we are.

In America, people focus on the end result; they focus on the star. Michael Jordan: They don't focus so much on his journey as his knocking in that last-second shot to win the game in the playoffs, as opposed to all the hundreds of shots he missed in the last second to lose the game for his team that ultimately made him the competitor he was.

Q: The highlight reel and not the whole game?

A. Exactly. Or even more than the whole game, how about all the missed shots in the lowlight reel? The lowlight reel is what makes the champion. That's part of the reason that in the writing of the book, I was very true to the most painful moments of my life, because I think the long period of crisis I described toward the end of my chess life was defining to me.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cingular sucks

I made a bad decision. I thought I could get away with having one phone number, so I ported my landline to a Cingular (AT&T, or whatever they are this week) cell phone. I'm on the go a lot and I thought that since they even work in Europe, this would be a good thing. Nahh.
Needless to say, they blew it. They turned off my temporary number as soon as I got to the airport to go to Europe. My ported number didn't come active for 10 days and when it did, well, the "fewest (or is it least) dropped calls" slogan didn't apply to me. Not even close. I don't need suspense or want to have to talk like a Texas auctioneer every time I make a call.
Three phones later, and even a dropped call in their parking lot right after they gave me a new phone, I canceled. So far, they've been nice about it. And they've even been good enough to send me e-mails welcoming me to the wonders of their service, a week after I canceled. Can't wait to see how much they want to charge me.
Looks like back to the soup cans and string for me but the sound quality from across the ocean sucks. Wait a minute, maybe not...

The Art of Learning

Dr. Rowe struck again when he gave me a book to read by the title above, written by Josh Waitzkin. I'd heard of him previously, through tai chi circles. I loved the book and I see how thins can change a life if the lessons within are integrated. I wish I'd have written it myself. I think he did a great job. Josh was a world champion chess player and later a world champion at tai chi push hands. If someone is a world champion in two disciplines, I'd say he has something worth reading. Below is an excerpt from an interview I was sent by e-mail.

After he took up tai chi as an adult, Waitzkin said he "came to this beautiful sense of internal peace" apart from competition. He also won eight national chess titles and two world tai chi titles.


In The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin combines memoir, performance psychology, Eastern thought and parenting. The book is in the self-help section of many bookstores, which makes him wary because instead of offering answers, he probes questions and ideas.

"I think a lot of self-help books are attempting to give easy answers to complex problems," he says. "One thing I definitely struggled to do is to convey the complexity of these ideas."

They include:

•Entity/incremental learning. Rather than treating intelligence or talent as a fixed "entity" that you have or you don't, he stresses "incremental" progress through hard work.

•"Numbers to leave numbers." By internalizing technical skills, such as the "numbers" of chess positions, you "leave" them to your subconscious mind so you can do them by feel without thinking about them.

•The soft zone. Recalling intense periods of creative flow in which his performance was inspired and effortless, Waitzkin explores methods of creating inspiring conditions. Those include practicing stress and recovery to manage tension, figuring out what inspires serene focus and creating a routine to trigger that state.

•Investing in loss. Learning from your mistakes means accepting your imperfections and figuring out how to make them strengths.

•Making smaller circles. Rather than trying to master the big picture, concentrate on understanding the smallest fundamentals with such depth that they become part of your mental framework.

•Slowing down time. By training yourself to integrate information into your subconscious mind, you free your conscious mind to focus on smaller amounts of information in greater detail, making it feel as if time is slowing down.

•Making sandals. Rather than "paving the road," or trying to control external conditions, you "make sandals," or change the way you deal with those conditions. Instead of trying to block out distractions or emotions, for example, figure out how to channel them in positive ways.

I have a book review on my site in the Recommended Reading page, with a link to
I hope you enjoy the book.

PDS goes on the road

Some of you are familiar with my Professional Development Seminars (PDS). I've been doing them here in Florida since January and they've been well-received. Well, they're going on the road.
In August, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take over the Celebration hotel where I usually do my seminars, so the August PDS will be in Canton, GA, not far from Atlanta. Keith Mathews will be our host, providing the location for the seminar.
In September, we're looking at Chicago and Fresno, CA and I have a tentative date set for November in the Greenville-Spartanburg, SC area. Those are just my PDS dates and all the registration will be done through me on my site or by mail.
I'll be doing other seminars, of course. Next week I'll be at Lake Mary, FL for Mike Friedman's event at his Champion Karate. I'll be in Manchester, NH at Steve White's in August, Frank Shekosky's Cromwell Martial Arts near Hartford, CT in September, and Joe Palanzo's WKKA camp in Baltimore and the Disney Martial Arts Festival in October.
Watch the website for other dates, and please contact me if you want to have a seminar at your studio.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

They came, they saw, they conquered

I held one of my Professional Development Seminars at the Celebration Hotel, near Orlando, yesterday. The group was composed of people from both North and South Carolina and Florida.
The subject was Form Six. All but one had learned the form, and that one person hung in with the group enough to get the sequence and come away with something to work on. It took a solid 5 hours to get through the form. The group was small enough (which is the point of my small-group seminars) that everyone got their questions answered, and got attention. This enabled me to help fix mistakes, make suggestions, and personalize the instruction.
The response was very good and everyone said is was very helpful, even to the extent of using the word "enlightened". They worked, and we went home tired. I really enjoy teaching these seminars.
My next PDS will be in the Atlanta area on Saturday, August 25 at Keith Mathews Karate in Canton. Subjects have been tentatively set and will be posted on my website shortly.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Category completion

This is a handy term. It conveys an idea that is useful for us in the martial arts and it is what I call a Universal Principle. Unfortunately it has become a "catch-all" term.
Torque, as a term, is a catch-all. Too often we quiz a student on a power principle and when they don't know they respond with "Torque!". If they truly understand body momentum they know there is torque in everything, so they're not really wrong when they just throw out the term. I see "category completion" being used in the same manner. There are arguments for it, and, like torque, a student may be just familiar enough to build a case to support it. But they usually miss the point.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with the term. I have a problem with what is becoming its general use.
I recently did a seminar they titled Category Completion at which they expected me, I think, to show them all the categories and how the right side matched the left in this technique and that technique. Or this was the reverse of that. (Loud buzzer goes off.)
Ed Parker sometimes had two terms of the same thing and usually more than one approach to help you "get it". I relate this term to "associated moves" and "family groupings". "Related techniques" comes to mind as well.
I'm working on a paper addressing the subject and it will be in my Members section on my site, or
There is a lot of other material in there I'm told is useful and insightful, so get yourself a membership and check it out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Three scars

Ed Parker and I were getting into our gis somewhere for a seminar when he pointed out that he had three small scars on his knee. The scars were small and each one separate. They were slightly curved in their arrangement, and were actually slightly above his kneecap if I remember correctly.
The reason they were small and curved is that they were from teeth. He told me that he had hit some guy in the face with a knee and the teeth had broken off and stayed in his leg. He was quite amused by that.
I'm guessing Mr. Parker was lucky to not get an infection from that, and I didn't have the presence of mind to ask if he'd had any ill effects. I seem to remember that he said he just pulled the teeth out and patched himself up. I wonder what the other guy did. Probably lived on soup for a while.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A wedding story

Years ago I was at one of the Florida Kenpo Camps held in the West Palm Beach area. We stayed at a Holiday Inn there which had a sports bar attached to it and Steve White, Len Brassard and I were in the bar having a beer after the day's classes. There was a wedding reception going on across the hall in the banquet rooms.
After a while I heard a commotion in the hallway, and I could see just a snapshot of what was going on through the doorway of the bar. In that small hallway were many people, all holding each other back, and obviously not getting along, judging from the tone of voice I could hear. Steve, Len, and I were at a table near the doorway with a front-row seat.
They were surging back and forth a bit from the efforts of some to get at the others when I saw an arm cross over someones shoulder and deliver a punch that hit one of the women in the group. That caused the pressure cooker to explode with little other place to go than through the door into the bar.
"Here they come!" I exclaimed as I grabbed my beer, stood up, and stepped back from the table. Steve and Len being quick on the uptake, did the same just as they came through and bowled the table over. It looked like an Old West barroom brawl.
I suggested we depart.
Once outside Steve and I looked at each other and I said "Where's Len?" I told Steve we had to go back in and get him to which he replied that he didn't think that was such a good idea. As it turned out, the owner got cut in the brawl and Steve was right but we had to go get out friend. So we did.
Now, we didn't just tear in there and make a path through the crowd. We looked in the door and saw a clear area and went in.
When things had gotten hairy Len had jumped over the bar and when we came in he was behind it, hand on his chin, just checking it out. We waved him over and left.
The next day there was a buzz around the camp about the fight and how we had seen it all. One of our guest instructors was an internationally known martial artist and he came over to me and started to ask what happened and who I had hit and all that. When I said I hadn't hit anyone he was disappointed and told me how he would have taken the opportunity to work his stuff. I answered that it was the sort of situation that 1) I wouldn't know who to hit, 2) I didn't have a reason to hit them, 3) I didn't know who was on what side and 4) if I had hit someone I'm pretty sure both sides would have turned on me. It's how cops get killed and injured in domestic disputes and that's a primary cause of injury in their jobs.
And, as I mentioned earlier, the bar owner, who had way more invested in breaking it up than I, was cut in the altercation.
While it may have been an "opportunity" to try out my stuff, I feel discretion is the better part of valor, and let it pass. What do you think?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A little family pride

I have a niece named Serena who is going off to Maryland today for two weeks. She's 16 and a member of the Civil Air Patrol, too. She's a member in the squadron where I started. This year she qualified for some special summer events, one of which is the Honor Guard Academy. She and the other cadets will be trained by members of the US Air Force honor guard. These are the people who spin the rifles, present the colors, and so on. Serena is the only member of Group Five here in Florida who is attending, and I'm happy for her.
She's a good kid, and like most teens at times, make adults understand why animals eat their young. Her mom is glad to see she has the interest and thinks this will be a great experience for her. I do, too. I'm looking forward to hearing about her experience.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A powerful story

I read this and just had to pass it on. I cannot add to it except to say it can be done with any art and it reminds me of kenpo.

As I grow older, I often find myself frustated with the inability to do what I used to do when I was younger. Although I can do it as well, I can't do it as fast and I tire more quickly. This often depresses me, but now I will always remember this lesson!!!

On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight.

He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play.

But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do. We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage - to either find another violin or else find another string for this one. But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again.

The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before.

Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.

You could see him modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before. When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.

He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said - not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone - "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.

So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.

Form Six

I'm working on Kenpo Karate 601, re-editing and adding material. Next weekend I'm teaching one of my Professional Development Seminars in Orlando on Form Six as well. 501 is just a short time away from going to print and I want 601 out the door by Christmas.
I normally give out a pretty comprehensive seminar outline for my PD seminars but these attendees won't get the 60+ pages on Six I've written.
The book will include the usual explanations, and I may change some of the notation material into sidebars since I think there is more commentary on the techniques and structure that are necessary but may detract from the explanatory sections.
There will be notes in the back, and I have one of my black belts, Frank Triolo, who is a lawyer and has agreed to write a short section on the legal aspects pertaining to the weapon techniques.
In addition, I will have a chapter on creating a thesis or personal form. There is not much out there on how to do that and I have been asked about it. In fact. I've done seminars on the subject.
So if you have some ideas, suggestions, comments or want to have a seminar in your area, please contact me through my website.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Passing down a belt

There is an old tradition in the arts of passing down a belt. It is reserved for someone special; a loyal and/or outstanding student, a family member, and so on. Whoever does the passing down has their reasons, suffice to say that is enough. The act of passing down the belt is recognized as being something special.
I've been passed belts by Frank Trejo, Huk Planas, and my judo teacher, Carole Wolken. All mean a lot to me. I was told that one of the belts Huk gave me was given him by Ed Parker, so in a roundabout way I was passed Ed Parker's belt, too.
Sometimes they're "passed up" but really they are being presented by students as a token to their teachers and it too means a lot. I have belts I was given by my students over the years that mean a great deal to me.
I've seen many a belt passed on in the countless promotion ceremonies I've attended or participated in. I've passed my share as well. I believe there is an energy that is passed with the belt and it is meant to be worn with that in mind. I like to think that's why the tradition started.
I have to add that there were two that I think I may have given mistakenly, many, many years apart. One I gave and when it was accepted, the recipient made an unexpected comment that distressed me. It was not directed to me or about me but it demonstrated an attitude that I'd never seen from someone being given a belt in this manner before. He later proved by his actions that he was not worthy of the acknowledgement. I'd seen this man grow and develop from a rather shy guy into someone with some confidence. I was proud of what he had become.
When he went off to open his own school he didn't so much as let me know he had opened it - not a call or e-mail, business card, nothing. He put the logo of another association in the window even though he told me he was staying in my lineage. His website shows no evidence he was taught by me and like many others in similar situation under other teachers, implies direct tutelage under another senior. That's a slap in the face because we spend so much time and emotion in getting someone through the ranks, answering their questions, watching them develop, helping them through struggle in more than just martial arts. I put the work in with him and he does not acknowledge it. I could go on but there is no point.
Following another tradition, I asked for the return of the belt. He has been "axed", as in the Kenpo crest. In some Japanese systems, the belt is taken back, the certificate burned, and the name will be unspoken by remaining practitioners. He earned his diploma, and he has his own belt. Those are manifestations of the knowledge and proficiency he has gained. But the trust that was shown in him was misplaced and that belt could not remain around his waist or in his possession.
It's a shame, but these things happen. He was gracious enough to return it and it has been destroyed. I told this story to a traditional Japanese stylist. He was horrified but he understood and said he knew what it all meant. I'm not sure my guy does.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Eddie is writing a book

I met Ed Cabrera years ago through Sean Kelley. Ed and I have become good friends over those years.
Mr. Cabrera is from the Tampa area now but originally from the Lancaster, PA area. He trained up there and earned a black belt in Moo Duk Kwan and later switched to kenpo. He's now a 4th black under me. He also fought his way up to win the Golden Gloves back in PA, and is a boxer to the core.
Ed has driven down to Ft. Myers from the Tampa area about once a month for many years, a trip of about 2.5 hours one way to take a private lesson and teach a boxing class. The boxing class has proven to be one of the most popular classes we hold and people are truly disappointed on the occasion when Ed has to cancel. Ed knows his stuff and communicates it well, and with a good sense of humor. He is a great instructor.
Ed told me he's writing a book on the integration of Kenpo and boxing, something Frank Trejo fans will love. The cover is about done, and the text largely written. I don't know when he will get it out but I'll keep you posted.
You'll see Ed's face in my next book - he's doing a sleeper hold on Danny Sullivan and Danny is shown choking him out, too. What a couple of hams. Two great guys. Watch this spot for more. And if you want to comment on what you think he should include, please do so - I'm sure he'd like your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


It's a national holiday today here in the United States. While on my way back from Europe this week I read a book my dad gave me to read entitled 1776 by David McCullough. It's a well-written book on that year of George Washington's experience and easy to read. Americans should read this book, especially now, with this quote by one of his top generals, Nathanael Greene;
" I hope we shall be taught to copy his example and to prefer the love of liberty in this time of public danger to all the soft pleasures of domestic life and support ourselves with manly fortitude amidst all the dangers and hardships that attend a state or war."
Have a happy 4th, and please give some thought to what it really means besides a day off and a barbeque.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I'm baaack

Got home last night from Germany. I'm up to my eyeballs in apfel schole, streudel, and weiner schnitzel. I really enjoyed my time with the groups in Esslingen and Dusseldorf.
Marc Sigle and I drove up to Dusseldorf on a Friday to meet Gary Ellis and Mark Richards from England. Marc did the driving - up the Autobahn in his Mercedes sports car - yahoo! We stopped at a museum on the way, at Sinsheim, which was a bit of a treat as it was loaded with cars, motorcycles, and airplanes.
There are a few kenpo groups in the Dusseldorf area and the one Gary Ellis and I work with is in the Buderich/Meerbusch area. Sascha Berning is their lead guy and he has some really good people supporting him and who helped make their first "Sommercamp" a success. Thanks to Dirk, Ingo, Udo, Peter and the others who made it happen. I was told that about seven or eight groups were represented at the camp, with kenpo people from Germany and Holland attending.
We worked on category completion, realistic responses, what-if scenarios, and Gary and I co-taught a multiple attacker seminar. The facilities were great, the people very receptive, and there was a nice atmosphere of friendship. Sascha lent the use of his large offices in Dusseldorf for a barbeque and the Sunday classes, which is where the bar is that you see in Mark Richard's class on environmental awareness. Some classes were outside on Sunday and the weather was nice.You can see my website from more pictures.

My thanks go out again to Sascha and Conny for having me in their home. They have two beautiful twin girls, two years old, and a dog so you can imagine the chaos when they get wound up. (Conny gets the big, gold star for handling that.)
I met a lot of people from differnt groups and ares and they all are interested in making their kenpo better. Despite the language and cultural differences I think we all made ourselves pretty clear that kenpo has and will improve lives.