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Wado in the USA

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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby Gusei21 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:26 pm

blackcat wrote:It's good to read Chris's perspective from the (Toshio?) Osaka side. I gather he was from Nihon University as was Kurobane.

Bob - regarding the 'dysfunction', it's difficult to get a perspective on this from here - its seems to be something between you and Ajari and if some of it is private is probably best left that way. I think we've got the gist that you're not exchanging Christmas and Birthday cards anymore! If you don't mind me asking though, when did you split from him and join Takagi sensei? Ajari must have have done those video's with Tsunami back in the early 90's so presumably it was around then?

I'd be very interested to hear more from Floyd Smith or Lenny Bennet if they are ameniable to joining this forum.
Perhaps people haven't heard much of Floyd Smith,until you mentioned him there. I thought he was stationed there in the 50's but if it was the late 40's then, if he ever saw Otsuka sensei in that period, he must have seen him at his peak. Suzuki Tatsuo mentioned that some foreign servicemen made it to the Tokyo dojo's but that most of them didn't stay around very long.

Ben


Hi Ben,

Exchanging Christmas cards. That is a good one. I will send him one this year. Most everyone in Japan thinks Ajari is a lunatic.
I am not the only one. He sends out nonsense letters to the everyone in Wado.
In the most recent letter he formally lodged with the Wadokai, he blasted Shimura for incorrectly teaching the 43rd movment of Kushanku at a seminar that Ajari did not even attend! Poor Shimura. He had to defend himself from the rantings of a lunatic and President Kondo told Shimura to write a rebuttal. Shimura refused. He was not going to dignify the accusations with a response. The 43rd movement of kushanku? Ajari is busting his balls for that? I don't even know what the 43rd move is quite honestly. How does Ajari know when he wasn't even there?
In the same letter he blasted Arakawa Sensei for misteaching kihon kumite number 6 at the Technical seminar in Nagoya. Minor problem. Well, two actually. One, Ajari was not at the seminar. Two, Toru Arakawa NEVER taught kihon kumite 6. Hilarious. But he sent the letter to the President of the Wadokai, the Chairman of the Wadokai. the board, the management...you can't make this stuff up. Unlike Shimura, Arakawa Sensei just shakes his head. Perhaps it has something to do with wisdom and old age? Ajari is 80 some years old, walks around with a pony tail and thinks he is the reincarnation of a samurai. He is the great karate master supreme.
Even Suzuki Sensei slammed Ajari in his autobiography. Ajari is mental. But here is the thing. Ajari may be delusional but he does not steal or cheat. Doesn't everyone have a crazy Uncle? David Chambers won't have anything to do with Ajari after their short lived business venture. David's wife who is a delightful Japanese lady, asked me if Ajari was insane and I roared with laugher. And you would let this man take over Wado in your country?

Ajari retired from karate in 1990. He quit. I had found the Otsuka/Ajari tapes in the dojo one day while I was cleaning (I took over Ajari's dojo) and I decided to hand them over to David Chambers. I found it but it obviously did not belong to me. It was Ajari's. He had just tossed them into a corner and forgot about them. I'm the first to admit I did not have the cleanest dojo storage area so odd things would pop up every now and then. David was delighted but there wasn't enough footage to make a full blown video with just Otsuka Sensei. We needed filler. So I decided that we might leverage the tape by using Ajari as part of my Ajari makeover plan. He was a 7th dan and we figured it would look better if he were 8th so he phoned up Japan and asked them to grant him an 8th dan. So they did and we were able to put 8th on the video cover. Looking back I can't believe what I did....
I was never Ajari's student. I trained in his dojo. Back in the day some of his seniors were pretty good and there was nothing else happening in the San Francisco area in terms of Wado. Back then the only thing I cared about was competition and making the US Team. I had done Wado when I was much younger in Japan. While I was in California I also trained with Hidetaka Abe who was from Meiji University and brought to the US by Ajari before Abe ran away and established his own club because he decided he had enough of Ajari's abuse. But the bottom line is that the technical level of Wado that I had seen in the US was different from what I was used to in Japan. Ajari and Abe were tough collegiate fighters in their day. That was about the extent of their knowledge. The old guys tell me that back in the 50's everyone in Tokyo feared Ajari and these are guys from other styles like Kiyoshi Yamazaki. Apparently Ajari was the best fighter in Tokyo. One day I met Osaka Sensei. I saw him do a demo and I could tell he knew something about Wado. But again coming from Nihon University all he did was kumite. But compared to the others in the US Osaka Sensei's movements were smooth and quick.
I knew Takagi Sensei before I knew Ajari. I didn't meet Ajari until I dropped in his dojo around 1982 after I graduated from the local university. I knew there was something wrong with him the minute I saw him but I needed a place to train and I needed training partners.
The old Wado dojo in Tokyo was in Shibuya. It was called the Tokyo Physical Center. Arakawa Sensei, Takagi Sensei, Maeda Sensei all taught under the same roof. TPC was evicted because of excessive noise. That was in the early 80's. So then they went their separate ways. Prior to that everyone trained together. Takagi Sensei then established his Guseikai per Eriguchi Sensei's orders and I was one of the original people members. I think my membership card has number 38 on it?

I recently saw Frank Johnson's book and he had photos of the place. Murase, Nishimura all trained there.
Nishimura was Goju. The only reason he went to TPC was because Murase was number one and Nishimura knew that the road to number one was thru number one....The first time he showed up at the dojo he promptly challenged Murase and received a serious beating. I guess that was the point. He wanted to confirm he came to the right place. Eventually he was able to turn the tables on Murase not that he ever gave Murase a beating but he eventually was able to hold his own. I wasn't there when that happened. Nishimura told me about it. But I remember being in class and no one wanting to partner with Nishimura because he only had one intensity level....high. He kicked for real. In my opinion it was a waste of time to practice with him because you were too worried about getting injured, but hey. that's just me. Nishimura was a great fighter.

I will ask Leonard to join. I doubt if Mr Smith will. Ben, you know history better than I do. Perhaps Mr Smith trained in the 50's.
I just know about the personal relationships. I saw a photo in Frank Johnson's book and I had to laugh because there were several people in the shot who seriously dislike each other and you would never know it by looking at the photo. More recently I saw a photo of your seminar in Manchester where Shimura and Sakagami were on the same floor at the same time. Brought a tear to my eye. Tears of laughter.
Bob Nash
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby blackcat » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:59 pm

Gusei21 wrote:Even Suzuki Sensei slammed Ajari in his autobiography. Ajari is mental. But here is the thing. Ajari may be delusional but he does not steal or cheat. Doesn't everyone have a crazy Uncle? David Chambers won't have anything to do with Ajari after their short lived business venture. David's wife who is a delightful Japanese lady, asked me if Ajari was insane and I roared with laugher. And you would let this man take over Wado in your country?


Blimey, don't hold anything back! I hope some other American wado people join in to add some more perspectives, I don't know enough about anyone over there to make meaningful comment.

The only qualification I would have to make to avoid confusion is the last line of the above paragraph I've quoted from your post - I don't think you meant to say it quite like that, but there's a long line of people ahead of Ajari on my seminar invite list. Fair play to the guy for having the foresight to film Otsuka and for you getting it published. Everyone must have appreciated that. Well almost..

Ben
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby Gusei21 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:15 pm

blackcat wrote:
Gusei21 wrote:Even Suzuki Sensei slammed Ajari in his autobiography. Ajari is mental. But here is the thing. Ajari may be delusional but he does not steal or cheat. Doesn't everyone have a crazy Uncle? David Chambers won't have anything to do with Ajari after their short lived business venture. David's wife who is a delightful Japanese lady, asked me if Ajari was insane and I roared with laugher. And you would let this man take over Wado in your country?


Blimey, don't hold anything back! I hope some other American wado people join in to add some more perspectives, I don't know enough about anyone over there to make meaningful comment.

The only qualification I would have to make to avoid confusion is the last line of the above paragraph I've quoted from your post - I don't think you meant to say it quite like that, but there's a long line of people ahead of Ajari on my seminar invite list. Fair play to the guy for having the foresight to film Otsuka and for you getting it published. Everyone must have appreciated that. Well almost..

Ben


I see what you mean.
Ok. Take two.
Suzuki Sensei said that Ajari's skills had gone down the tubes.
He did not say Ajari was a mental patient. He just said Ajari was technically lousy.
I (and others) are questioning Ajari's sanity.
Bob Nash
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby zim » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:11 pm

wadoka wrote:Thanks for that Chris.

My first trip ever to America was on business, to Des Moines, Iowa. After the initial shock at the humidity, I can't do heat and humidity, I checked into the hotel and it was straight off to the Iowa State Fair. Now that was a shock.


Des Moines is a fairly miserable place. I am sorry that your first foray into the mysteries of America was through Iowa but at least you had the experience of the State Fair. Not many foreigners can say they have braved that experience and lived to tell the story. I will put it down to your Wado training.

Ben, glad you enjoyed it as well. I hoped that it provided for a bit of morning entertainment.

Bob, are the Scottsdale group run by Ray Hughes part of Wado Kai? I know Mr. Hughes and his sensei Marlon Moore were active on the US wado circuit for many years.

Chris
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby wadoka » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:21 pm

zim wrote:Des Moines is a fairly miserable place. I am sorry that your first foray into the mysteries of America was through Iowa but at least you had the experience of the State Fair. Not many foreigners can say they have braved that experience and lived to tell the story. I will put it down to your Wado training.

Chris


I did 'nagasu' the pretzel tent, where they are the size of steering wheels, and the Bud tent where I feared I would get dragged off on some pickup truck.

In the UK where the clubs are tucked away in church halls, dance studios and sports gyms, it seems that in the US there are dedicated martial arts studios quite widely available, or at least that is my perception. How are they viewed? A bit of an oddity by most or a common and accepted part of the local services?
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby Gusei21 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:35 pm

zim wrote:
wadoka wrote:Thanks for that Chris.

Bob, are the Scottsdale group run by Ray Hughes part of Wado Kai? I know Mr. Hughes and his sensei Marlon Moore were active on the US wado circuit for many years.

Chris


Marlon Moore is a long time student of Toshio Osaka. Marlon is in Arizona.
Ray Hughes is a long time student of Marlon Moore.
We all used to be with Wadokai.
The split happened.
Osaka Sensei went with Wadoryu because of Nichidai and his relationship with Tanabe, the longtime coach of Nichidai who sided with Wadoryu.
So Marlon and Ray were with Wadoryu.

Around 1995? Marlon and Ray approached me about jumping back to the Wadokai. We filled out the paperwork and they are now official Wadokai branches and they sent a letter resigning from Wadoryu.

Today they are very good friends with people from all Wado groups.

Ray has a beautiful million dollar dojo he built in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Some people carry membership in all 3 organizations. Doug Jepperson is a member of Wadoryu, Wadokai and the WIKF.
I don't think most Americans care so much about the Japanese organizations. They just follow what their instructor does.
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby wadoka » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:41 pm

Now this is what I am talking about...

http://smacus.com/our-facility.html
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby Chiefobrien » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:19 am

Gusei21 wrote:Some people carry membership in all 3 organizations. Doug Jepperson is a member of Wadoryu, Wadokai and the WIKF.

So this is not "illegal"?
I read from the JKF Wado Kai website from the Overseas Regulations "7.1.3 No concurrent membership in any other style association or involvement with other styles of karate is allowed."
Does this mean that in Wado Kai they do not consider Wado Ryu or WIKF as another style or association?

I can't find any Wado Ryu or WIKF rules & regulations from the web to see their approach to this matter.
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby karateman7 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:17 pm

I'll try to keep my comments to observations rather than ridicule out of respect...

From what I've noticed in Tennessee (USEWF), these are the most obvious I' saw from many of the higher ranking wadoka:

1)Stripes to signify dan level
2) holding breath throughout entire kata (red faces, pulsating veins, obvious tension in muscles throughout kata to show power)
3) the use of "osu"
4)the use of "osu" to represent a kiai in the middle of kata
5) many thunderous kias in the middle of kata
6) no "cool" gi rubbing sound
7)flailing elbows

If you want more, I'd be happy to give ;)
Sergio Phillipe
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Re: Wado in the USA

Postby Gusei21 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:43 pm

Chiefobrien wrote:
Gusei21 wrote:Some people carry membership in all 3 organizations. Doug Jepperson is a member of Wadoryu, Wadokai and the WIKF.

So this is not "illegal"?
I read from the JKF Wado Kai website from the Overseas Regulations "7.1.3 No concurrent membership in any other style association or involvement with other styles of karate is allowed."
Does this mean that in Wado Kai they do not consider Wado Ryu or WIKF as another style or association?

I can't find any Wado Ryu or WIKF rules & regulations from the web to see their approach to this matter.


Chief O'Brien,

I assume you are referring to the Starship Enterprise?
If so then I hope you read the whole manual...otherwise you will crash the spaceship...lol
You are taking 7.1.3 out of context.
Go back to the heading of Article 7.

Standards for establishing branches
Article 7
If a member wishes to establish a branch, the following procedure must be followed:


So this 7.1.3 ONLY applies to people who want to be branch heads. It does not apply to the general membership.
Doug Jepperson does not have a branch. He is just a general member.
I cannot join the WIKF or Wadoryu because I am a branch head.
But my students are free to join and some in my organization will to compete in the WIKF World Championhips in Dallas Texas later this year just so they can compete.

I hope this clears this up. :)
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