My name is Eddy. I am a Martial Artist. I haven't studied for 30 years – yet (but it’s now getting close). I've never won a "national" title nor have I any ambition to do so. I'm not a survivor of numerous street fights or life and death battles, nor do I hope to have to face such challenges just to prove that I am skilled as a martial artist. I am neither a grandmaster nor a movie star (though I have been in several movies, and do combine the arts I’ve learned and teach them in my own way). Challenges of "who's the best", "who can beat up whom", and "which system or style is the best" are of no use. They only clutter the mind, as well as the pages of too many books and magazines as it is. The only useful challenge to me is the me of today vs. the me of each new day. I am a Martial Artist.
I do not fear death, nor do I seek it. I hope to live a long and productive life. Striving and contentions shorten life and rob it of its quality, so I'll take no part in them. If success comes then it is a mere by-product of my labor of love, the Martial Arts.
Should danger or disaster come my way, then I shall face them and deal with them as best I can with humility, patience, integrity, tenacity, vigor, enthusiasm, or whatever quality may best and most peaceably resolve the situation, provided I've managed to develop that necessary quality. If any person(s) have feelings against me, I am sorry. We shall try to resolve those feelings as brothers, not as foes, for I am a Martial Artist.
It is in my daily life of facing bills, relationships, career, and society that I prove the effectiveness of my style or art. Fighting proves only who is a fighter; trophies indicate an athlete; certificates indicate a politician or a businessman and most of these are very short-lived careers. Only a long and productive life proves a Martial Artist's worth. I hope to become a Martial Artist of worth.
My martial journey began at age 14 with my Scoutmaster, Bob Eazell (sp?) teaching me some fundamental nunchaku, shuriken-jitsu, and jiu-jitsu for the few years that he was with our scouting program. That was the extent of my formal instruction until age 21 when I began Tai Chi with my ‘movement for acting’ instructor at Brigham Young University. (He professed to be unskilled but could do things that seemed magical to me, such as sensing unseen moves, mirroring or countering attacks and movements while blindfolded.)
At 23 I enrolled in Fred Villari's Studios of Self Defense. His principal instructor had been Professor Nick Cerio, a direct student of Wm. K.S. Chow. After several years, Master Villari's businesses split up. The studios (over 200 nationwide) were divided. Charles Mattera, a seventh degree black belt and company V.P. at the time, bought some 30 or so schools on the west coast and formed United Studios of Self Defense (the actual name of Villari's schools originally).
Master Mattera re-established the link with Professor Cerio that had been broken by Master Villari. Master Cerio was a direct student of Wm. Chow and a close associate of the late Ed Parker. It is through United Studios under Professor Cerio’s supervision, that I earned my Yondan (fourth degree black belt).
During this same period of about 10 years I returned to Kentucky for a brief time and while there received my nidan in Tae Kwon Do under Young Su Kang, in which I later re-certified through the World Tae Kwon Do Union in Las Vegas. Over the 10 years with Shaolin Chuan-Fa/Kempo/Kenpo of Villari, Mattera and Cerio, plus the Tae Kwon Do, I became disappointed as I saw the watering down of the arts from what they were when I began only 15 years earlier. There was pressure, as I ran several dojo as a District Manager, to make money for one organization by de-emphasizing physical conditioning, emphasizing sales tactics, and quick promotion of belt ranks at the expense of what I deemed to be quality in their techniques. This disillusionment was the beginning of my personal search.
Since the Kempo I had learned was a blend of Chinese and Japanese arts, if I wanted purity and roots I would have to choose one side or the other. I chose to search the Okinawan/Japanese arts because, as it seemed to me, the emphasis on self defense was stronger. (The Chinese arts were still very shrouded, or often watered down for the Gwai-Loh or foreigner, and the ones that were publicly available seemed geared mostly toward exercise as opposed to self defense.) One of my long time students stayed with me in my exploration of the Okinawan side, while another, the host of this web site, took the other fork in the road, delving deeply into Shaolin. He has managed to break through the Gwai Loh barrier to the real fighting arts of Shaolin which I never anticipated being able to do with what was available to me.
First I went to Shotokan since more than half of the kata are of Shuri-te (Shorin/Shaolin) origin, and Shotokan possesses a majority of the kata to emerge from the China-Okinawa link. The emphasis on kata is Shotokan's strength, and I had the advantage of studying at Ozawa Shihan's dojo. Ozawa Osamu was a direct student of Funakoshi Gichin at Tokyo University.
After earning my shodan in Shotokan, I found a more direct link to the Okinawan arts, which I pursued through an organization called Juko Kai, where I eventually earned my Godan ranking.
Due to various problems, I left Juko Kai after only 3 years, but through them was able to find and connect directly with Master Toma, founder of Seidokan Karate. Interestingly, my student that followed me on the Okinawan path had been stationed in Okinawa at Kadena Air Base, where he, too, joined Seidokan, earning his black belt directly from Master Toma. After nearly three years of adjusting kata and learning techniques, reviewing with my student on his visits from Okinawa, and with the guidance of Kyoshi Jody Paul, (who also issued me license), on June 1st, 1998, I received my Shihan Menkyo (Master's License) from Okinawa in Seidokan Karate and Kobudo from Master Toma, the founder of the system. And that is only the beginning."
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