Saturday, June 28, 2008

They changed my name

I was interviewed for local TV on two stations yesterday about an aircraft mishap off our coast. One of them renamed me as Steve Wedlake. So much for accuracy in reporting.

I've linked below to the local station that has a report and video.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A good weekend

Thursday I went down to the shooting range with two Special Forces friends to see if I could still hit anything. Nice to see I haven't lost too much. Friday I was able to spend several hours with one of my Chicago black belts, Ed Bilski, who was in Ft. Myers to spend some time with in-laws. It's always good to sit and talk with Ed. He's been around the Kenpo scene since the early 80's and is one of the guys who knew Ed Parker. Ed's learning to fly, too, so it's good to hear his experiences.
When I was up in Orlando teaching a seminar, Chicago's Jon Landin dropped in. He was in town for a work-related school and took the afternoon to come by the Celebration Hotel where I was teaching. We also had a chance to sit for a few hours and catch up. Jon was the first Kenpo stylist I'd ever met back in 1973.
Shaquille O'Neill was having lunch across the hall from the room we were working in at the hotel, so that was a bit of a buzz for the class. We worked on Form Four. I had attendees from New York, North Carolina, and across Florida there. They asked for Form Five next month. Who wants to come? E-mail me at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Aussie deserving congratulations

Mr. Jack Nilon was promoted to third degree black this week. Jack has been here in the US studying with me for the past six months. Along with many private sessions, he has had the help of the black belts at K. Zwarg's Karate in Ft. Myers, Gulf Coast Kenpo in Cape Coral, and Tim Walker's American Kenpo Karate University in Branford. The end result is that he worked hard and earned his next degree.
Jack did some traveling while he was here and attended some seminars in other parts of the state and country. I had him teach with me at the New England camp in April and he did a fine job with a large group. He's been teaching at the two schools here in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, as well, sharpening his instructional skills.
He plans to return for further training, but until then, we'll sure miss him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Video of J K Rowling's Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association on June 5th 2008. In this powerful, moving, yet also funny speech Jo talks about her time working for Amnesty International, her personal experiences with failure and the power of the imagination to allow us to empathize with others.


Australia's Tony Perez was presented with a special award recently. Like they say, karate isn't good for kids, people who teach karate are good for kids. This is what he sent.

Hi Lee,

just wanted to let you know that yesterday I won the Mission Australia 2008 Child Friendly Excellence Award. This award acknowledges and celebrates those people and organisations that have provided outstanding service to families in local communities. The award recognises the positive influence our Kenpo 4 Kids program has had on children and their families. Bernie Ripoll MP presented this state government sponsored award at a function in Brisbane yesterday. This is just further proof of the quality and professionalism we offer on our programs. I feel so humble that so many people took the time to write a few words and submit their nominations.
Take care,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reason and Force

I was forwarded this by a friend who is a retired police officer. I present this to you to consider the argument, not as being pro or con concealed weapons but in the context of use of martial arts. Are not our arts a form of concealed weapon? Read on.
Interesting perspective
As the Supreme Court hears arguments for and against the Washington DC Gun Ban, I offer you another stellar example of a letter that places the proper perspective on what a gun means to a civilized society. Read this eloquent and profound letter and pay close attention to the last paragraph of the letter... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it. In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some. When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.
Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender , not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable. When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation...and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)
So the greatest civilization is one where all citizens are equally armed and can only be persuaded, never forced.

Mt. Vernon seminars

I was invited to teach at Steve Hatfield's Panther Kenpo Karate in Mount Vernon, Ohio last weekend. As always, the trip was enjoyable and too short. Two nice size groups were there for the Saturday seminars, both for children and adults. The day was coincident with Flag Day, the 233rd birthday of the American flag. I thought it would be a nice way to start off the kids class with telling them we had a birthday to pique their interest. I then had them face the small flag on the wall and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I was quite impressed to see that everyone in the room, parents and guests, put their hands over their hearts and said the Pledge along with us. Too many times I've been at a sporting event and seen that when the national anthem is played, many don't bother to show this respect. My hat is off to the people there in that Ohio town.
I did the seminars and everyone seemed to enjoy them, with positive feedback and follow-up questions coming my way. If you get to the Columbus area, try to drop in a meet Mr. Hatfield and his group. for an article and video on the seminars.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New stuff coming!

Kenpo Karate 601 is at the printer and should be out by mid-to-late July. Watch my website for pre-order info.
Also, see below for the scoop on The Kenpo Continuum.

Good News! The book is AT the printers and is being processed as we speak. I was told it would be on my doorstep by the middle of July and I'll have it promptly out into the mail to all of you.
I have updated the site as well. If you would like to order additional copies of the book, there is a paypal link and/or snail mail address you can send payment to for it.
The price is $15 with no shipping added only until I get the book in my hot little hands. That price is for pre-order only. After that, the price goes up (except for those interested in re-selling at their school) and shipping will be added. So order now for the best deal. Also, the pre-orders will be the first ones in the mail. The book is over 300 pages and is going to look amazing. I have quotes on the back from Dennis Conatser, Bob White, Lee Wedlake and Steve LaBounty.
Sorry the whole thing has taken so long, but like kenpo itself, to get quality, you have to put in a lot of time. I'm just glad it's finally done. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and been so patient.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm kinda proud of this

Lee WEDLAKE, Master CFI (Renew: 3Jun08 ) Fort Myers

Lee A Wedlake recently renewed his Master CFI accreditation. Lee is an independent flight and ground instructor working primarily at Punta Gorda's Charlotte County Airport (PGD). He is also serves as a check pilot with the Civil Air Patrol's Florida Wing and is a FAASTeam representative for the FAA's Orlando FSDO.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) takes pride in announcing a significant aviation accomplishment on the part of Lee A Wedlake, an independent Punta Gorda-area flight instructor and a resident of Fort Myers, Florida. Recently, Lee's designation as a Master CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) was renewed by NAFI, his professional aviation education association. He has held this professional accreditation continuously since 2006. To help put this achievement in its proper perspective, there are approximately 91,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 600 of them have achieved that distinction thus far. The last 13 national Flight Instructors of the Year were Master CFIs while Lee is one of only 59 Florida aviation educators to earn this prestigious "Master" title. In the words of former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, "The Master Instructor accreditation singles out the best that the right seat has to offer."
The Master Instructor designation is the only industry professional accreditation recognized by the FAA. It is earned by candidates through a rigorous process of continuing professional activity and peer review. Much like a flight instructor's certificate, it must be renewed biennially. This process parallels the continuing education regimen used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge base while increasing their professionalism. Simply put, the Master Instructor designation is a means by which to identify those outstanding aviation educators, those "Teachers of Flight," who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community. Earning this designation is tantamount to having the words summa cum laude emblazoned on an instructor's certificate. These Masters truly represent the crème de la crème of our industry! To publicly recognize these individuals and their noteworthy accomplishments, NAFI will be hosting its "Meet the Masters" breakfasts, to which Lee will be invited, during EAA's AirVenture in Oshkosh and Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland. Any support that can be provided will be appreciated. NAFI is dedicated to providing support and recognition for America's aviation educators while helping them raise and maintain their level of professionalism. It is also committed to providing a safe and effective learning environment for student pilots. The Association was founded in 1967 and affiliated with EAA in 1995.Please feel free to disseminate this information.
Questions regarding the Master Instructor program may be directed to 303-485-8136 or Additional information is available at and
G Alexander "Sandy" Hill, MCFIPhone: 303-485-8136Vice President, Dir of EducationNat'l Association of Flight

Monday, June 9, 2008

Multiple attackers

This article was forwarded by Tim Walker. The author's thinking is aligned with what Ed Parker thought about tying up his hands by grabbing one guy.

I've hammered home the importance of the cold hard fact: "you do what you train". Anything you do in a training environment is exactly how you are conditioning yourself to respond in a life-or-death situation. Most of my clients understand this principle in applying trauma to the body. They are careful to insure that they strike with a tight fist or make sure that they complete the rotation of their body to deploy maximum force upon the given target area of the other guy.So where do problems occur? Most people train for a one-on-one confrontation.They are excellent at handling the one guy but add in another guy... and watch the meltdown occur.I was training a well-known counter-terror unit a few years back and let them see first-hand the danger in this oversight.They had been training heavily in a well-known ju-jitsu system prior to my course. This was a combat sport-based system that is very effective in the ring.But it does no good to tell people that what they trained may have problems associated with it because often they have a strong emotional attachment to the training. Better to let them see a gap and then offer a solution.So I asked for the best grappler of the group to don his field gear and go to the end of the training hall. I then grabbed 3 other members of the unit and had them do a simple "sacrificial lamb" attack. This is where one guy engages the prey and locks him up, then the other 2 swoop in for the kill.Well, sure enough, the first guy engages and is quickly taken to the ground by the fighter and put in a very painful arm-bar. This guy was amazingly good at ju-jitsu and would be a terror in the ring -- except this wasn't a ring, and there was no ref. In fact, no sooner had the arm-bar been applied than the other 2 were upon him, had his weapons and could have "killed" him at any time.This simple gangbanger attack easily defeated a highly trained operator because he had handled a multifight like a sport competition. In fact, the unit later confessed that they had never trained with their weapons on the whole time they trained "hand-to-hand". The focus had been more to see who could make the other "tap out" first. This is a dangerous way to train for a lethal criminal confrontation.You must always treat every confrontation as having multiple guys. You need to be instructed how to be a "360-degree" fighter and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. In TFT, all fighting is against multiple guys even in a one-on-one training session. This means as I take out my current victim I'm aware of my surroundings and SEARCHING for my next victim.The training methods we use are beyond the scope of this newsletter. But if you've never really trained for multiple guys then you've never trained for life-or-death confrontations. Don't make that mistake.
Until next time,Tim Larkin Creator of Target-Focus(TM) Training

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The doctor is in

The Lotus and the Synapse
Sharon Begley
My favorite story about the Dalai Lama doesn't concern his activities on behalf of Tibet, which is one unrelieved tragedy, but is about his interest in neuroscience. A few years ago the Dalai Lama was visiting an American medical school and watched a brain operation. Afterwards, he chatted with the surgeon, telling him how his scientist friends had patiently explained to him that all of our thoughts, feelings, memories, dreams and other mental activities are the products of electrical and chemical activity in the brain. But he had always wondered something, the Dalai Lama told the surgeon. If electricity and chemistry can produce thoughts and all the rest, can thoughts act back on the physical stuff of the brain to change its chemical, electrical and other physical properties?The surgeon dismissed the question with a polite but indulgent no. (The Dalai Lama's English translator, Thupten Jinpa, told me this story in 2005.) The brain produces and shapes mental activity, the brain surgeon said; mental activity does not alter the brain.That wasn't a stupid answer 10 years ago, before scientists had fully grasped the potential of the adult brain to change in structure and function-an ability called neuroplasticity. But now researchers have documented a long list of examples of how the brain, once thought to be basically unchangeable after the ripe old age of 3, can indeed change.The first things that were found to change the brain were sensory inputs. If you spend a lot of years playing violin, say, then the regions of the motor and somatosensory cortexes that correspond to the fingering digits (the fingers on the left hand, if you're right-handed) expand.But now neuroscientists have documented how "mere" thoughts can also sculpt the brain. Just thinking about playing a piano piece, over and over, can expand the region of motor cortex that controls those fingers; just thinking about depressive thoughts in new ways can dial down activity in one part of the brain that underlies depression and increase it in another, leading to clinical improvement.The scientist who has worked most closely with the Dalai Lama is Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Davidson first met the Dalai Lama in 1992, and since about 2000 has been investigating a question dear to the heart of the leader of Tibetan Buddhism: can mental training such as meditations change the brain in an enduring way? That "enduring" is key: of course the brain "changes"-in the sense that some areas become more active-when you meditate, just as it changes when you think of pink elephants, watch Obama or try to remember your first kiss. Everything we think has a corresponding brain activity. But once the thought stops, so does the activity. Usually. What Davidson wanted to know was whether meditation left a long-lasting imprint on the brain, some change of function or structure.Since 2004, Davidson and his colleagues have reported that meditation can alter the brain's attention capabilities and that it can increase production of brainwaves called gamma, which are associated with consciousness. Now they have found another long-lasting brain change produced by Buddhist meditation: practicing compassion meditation (more on this below) alters regions of the brain that make us empathetic, Davidson and his colleagues are reporting this evening in PLoS ONE.In compassion meditation, as the French-born Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard explained it to me when we were both visiting the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala for a meeting of neuroscientists and Buddhist scholars, you focus on the wish that all sentient beings be free of suffering. You generate an intense feeling of love for all beings, not fixating on individuals but encompassing all of humanity. It takes practice, since the natural tendency is to focus on one or a few specific suffering people.Davidson conducted his new study as he has his others on meditation, enlisting expert meditators (the Dalai Lama has asked Buddhist scholars to volunteer their brains to Davidson's research). Antoine Lutz has the meditators (monks who have 10,000 hours or more of meditation under their belts-er, saffron robes) lie in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tube. The fMRI detects which regions of the brain are active during meditation and which are quiet. It also detects which are active during periods between meditations. The scientists compare these readings to those on non-meditators, who undergo a quickie course in compassion meditation. In this case, Davidson and Lutz enlisted 16 monks plus 16 age-matched controls, members of the UW-Madison community.Each of the 32 subjects lay in the fMRI and turned compassion meditation on and off, on Lutz's command. Throughout, Lutz piped in happy sounds (a baby laughing and cooing), distressed ones (a woman who sounded as if she were in pain) and neutral ones (restaurant noise). Two regions lit up with activity:*When the monks engaged in compassion meditation and heard the happy or distressed sounds, the insula became noticeably active. This structure, near the front of the brain, detects emotions, translates them into bodily responses such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and sends information about those bodily changes to other areas of the brain, as if to say, "yo, your pulse just shot up; maybe you better pay attention to whatever caused that." Insula activity was greatest when the meditating monks heard the distressed sounds, and greater in the monks than the novices. Interesting, but not really surprising.*Also active was an area called the temporal parietal juncture, particularly the right hemisphere. Other studies have shown this region to perceive the mental and emotional state of others. Significantly, this activity was greater in the monks than the novices during periods when they were not meditating. This is the signature Davidson and Lutz had been looking for: an enduring change in the brain which persist even when the brain is not meditating: it looks as if thousands of hours of meditation ramps up activity in the brain's empathy region, and keeps it ramped up even when you are not engaged in meditation.The Dalai Lama has long tried, through his teachings, to increase the world's supply of compassion and empathy. This study suggests that compassion meditation might do that, Davidson said in a statement: "People are not just stuck at their respective set points" for compassion. "We can take advantage of our brain's plasticity and train it to enhance these qualities."Caveat: monks are not Wisconsinites. The nine Asian and seven European monks were different from the novices for the obvious reason that anyone who spends 10,000 to 50,000 hours meditating is not your average Joe. You can't rule out the possibility that the monks' brains are inherently different from the get-go, not because of the meditation. That is, maybe an unusual brain leads them to meditate for tens of thousands of hours, rather than lots of meditation producing an unusual brain. Davidson says he still needs to conduct longitudinal studies to see if the brain differences between monks and novices are indeed due to meditation.But there is one clue that he's right: he's been finding that the more hours of meditation a monk has had, the greater the brain changes. Call it a dose-response effect, with meditation being the dose and brain changes the response. That's a strong hint that the dose causes the response, and is not just a coincidence. And a hint, too, that the Dalai Lama was right and the brain surgeon wrong.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cage Fighter!

The article below was sent by a former student of mine I taught when he was a child in the 80's. I started him off in the arts, he grew up and became an attorney, and trains with Cung Le in San Francisco. Great to see how some of "my" kids turned out.

The Recorder March 5, 2007
It's a shame attorneys aren't allowed to kick people in the face and wrestle them to the ground when merger discussions aren't going so well. If they could, Khoa Do would be making million-dollar deals every day. The 35-year-old corporate partner at Greenberg Traurig's Silicon Valley office practices what's known in extreme sports as ultimate fighting, although the preferred term, he says, is "mixed martial arts." And he finds working on deals can be a lot like facing down an opponent in the ring. "It's about strategy; thinking big picture," he said. "When you're going into a negotiation, before you step in you've got to know who you're negotiating with and what their strengths and weaknesses are. And we're taught to do just that in mixed martial arts." To the unschooled, mixed martial arts looks pretty much like two people beating the daylights out of each other with punches, kicks and just about everything but eye gouges. But as Do explains, the sport requires a great deal more discipline than it appears, physically and mentally. "A lot of people, they watch mixed martial arts and they think it's a 'thug sport,'" he said. "I think it's very intellectual. ... It goes beyond the physical. It really does." Do, who as a child fled Vietnam for the United States in 1975, grew up in Chicago and has been studying martial arts since he was in third grade. When he came to California in 1998 to work at the height of the Internet boom — for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati — he somehow found the time to get into the "ultimate" world, "to keep healthy and keep in shape." He joined Greenberg Traurig in 2004, becoming a partner and one of the founders of the firm's East Palo Alto office. When he's not pulling all-nighters putting together mergers, he practices three hours a day at a special gym in Milpitas, under the tutelage of Cung Le, a celebrity in the mixed martial arts world. But it's been tough for Do to train as much as he would like, with all the M&A activity lately. "I haven't worked this hard since I was a first-year at Wilson Sonsini," Do said.
— Jessie Seyfer

Khoa says, "I watched several of your technique demonstrations on YouTube. My favorite will always be Leaping Crane. To this day, I still remember every detail of this orange belt technique (including the extensions). Also, I think it is awesome that you incorporate the philosophy and history of each technique into your instruction. Nowadays, the younger kids just want to learn how to fight without understanding the deeper substance of martial arts. You are doing a great service to us all by keeping the intellectual spirit alive."

OK , instructors, this is another example of why it's so important what we teach and how we do it when working with kids (and adults).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill

Sent to me by one of my riding buddies.

Do you Remember that #1 Gun Rule?
'Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.'
Well, here's the proof:

The 71-year-old retired Marine who opened fire on two robbers at a Plantation, FL , sub shop late Wednesday, killing one and critically wounding the other, is described as John Lovell, a former pilot for two presidents. He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke, he works out everyday. Lovell was a man of action Wednesday night. According to Plantation police, two masked gunmen came into the Subway at 1949 N. Pine Rd. Just after 11 p.m. There was a lone diner -- Lovell, who was finishing his meal. After robbing the cashier, the two men attempted to shove Lovell into a bathroom and rob him as well. They got his money. But then Lovell pulled his handgun, opened fire, shooting one of the thieves in the head and chest and the other in the head. When police arrived, they found one of the men in the shop. K-9 units found the other in the bushes of a nearby business.

They also found cash strewn around the front of the sandwich shop according to Detective Robert Rettig of the Plantation Police Department. Both men were taken to Broward General Medical Center, where one, Donicio Arrindell, 22, of North Lauderdale died. The other, 21-year-old Frederick Gadson of Fort Lauderdale is in critical but stable condition.

A longtime friend of Lovell, was not surprised to hear what happened. ''He'd give you the shirt off his back, and he'd be mad if someone tried to take the shirt off your back,'' he said. Lovell worked
as a pilot for the Marines, flying former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

He later worked as a pilot for Pan Am and Delta. Lovell is not married and does not have children.

He is not expected to be charged, authorities said ''He was in fear for his life,'' Rettig said. 'These criminals ought to realize that most men in their 70's have military backgrounds and aren't intimidated by idiots.

The only thing he could be charged with is participating in an unfair fight. One 71 -year young Marine against two punks.
Two head shots and one center-body-mass shot - good shooting! That'll teach them not to get between a Marine and his meal. Don't you just love a story with a happy ending?
(Florida law allows law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon.)
Semper Fi

Monday, June 2, 2008

Charleston, SC seminars

I was invited to teach at Nick Dreiling's Coastal Kenpo Karate in the North Charleston area. His school is in Goose Creek, and it's a nice facility. He has a great floor installed there, raised and matted.
I taught one of my Professional Development Seminars on the Parker weapons techniques on Saturday. Bruce Meyer, Nick's instructor and one of my fifth degrees, taught classes for kids on Friday evening. Bruce is so good with the kids and does such a great job he's a pleasure to teach. When it comes to the big boys' stuff, Mr. Meyer's kenpo is very "alive" and it shows with his students. And from what I saw, Mr. Dreiling looks to be doing a pretty good job with his students, both children and adults, too.
The PDS was a success, with everyone working through an intense day-long seminar, and the feedback has been great. We're talking about having seminars again in the fall, so watch for the announcements. I'm looking forward to going back.


I was in South Carolina over the weekend. My student and friend, Bruce Meyer, promoted two of his black belts to third degree black. Both Gary Bell and Nick Dreiling moved up to the new rank.
Gary Bell has been to every Professional Development Seminar I've held in Florida, and one or two elsewhere. Nick Dreiling has opened a school in the North Charleston area. It's a nice facility. They're both working hard on their kenpo. Congratulations to them both.

HS graduation

My girlfriend's daughter, Kelly, graduated from high school this weekend and I was able to attend the ceremony. I didn't attend my graduations from high school junior college, or the university, so this was a first for me.
The school principal made a few remarks to open it, some of which pertained to it being a dignified ceremony and that noise makers and air horns were not allowed and that "you may be asked to leave". Air horns?
Sure enough, as certain graduates crossed the stage, people blew air horns. They treat a graduation as if it were a hockey game. The people behind us would not stop talking, either, so much so that we couldn't hear the speakers. When they were shushed by those around them, they made comments such as "They don't know we live in the United States". I don't care what country you live in, rudeness is global, and they demonstrated discourtesy to those who came to enjoy, even savor, the event.
Isn't graduation a big deal? The closing of one chapter and the opening of a new? Some of these people won't go on to higher education and the ceremony is now marked in their memories by air horns and gang signs. Yes, gang signs. One kid took his diploma from the principal and posed for their photo while doing signs. I guess that's how he wants to remember this.
On the whole it was OK. Congrats to Kelly and her classmates at Cypress lake High.