I have been receiving many congratulatory messages and well wishes from friends and associates worldwide, and I am thankful and humbled by their comments and acceptance. I realized long ago, you are only who others believe you to be. As we all know, there are always people who will preach their messages of discontent and hate for whatever reason. I am so happy that the hundreds heavily outweigh the few.
There are many Uechi-Ryu organizations I could have turned to for advancement. I am so proud to have been honored by the IUKF, being acknowledged and promoted by Sensei George Mattson, the pioneer of Uechi-Ryu in the Americas, north and south. I am not implying that Sensei Mattson is the only person in this country to have studied and trained in Okinawa, but Sensei Mattson was the very first to bring Uechi-Ryu to light, starting in the northeastern region of the United States of America. Evident in the congregation of Uechi-Ryu dojos in the New England States and Canada.
As I realize this promotion demonstrates the pinnacle of our ranking system, this does not mean there is nothing else to learn. Martial arts are so vast, and Uechi-Ryu is so complicated and diverse that there is enough room for advancement and improvements for two lifetimes. I promise I will continue to train, study and learn from all sources until I am unable.
Martial Arts have been my passion since I was 7 years old. Throughout these many years, I have accumulated much knowledge. Some useful and some not so much.
However, as the president of the IUKF, I have committed to sharing all the information I have gathered. As senseis, we must realize that should be our desire. To be more direct, that should be our objective.
I do not use the word “teach,” as this might indicate that my path is imminent. I will always say that I am “sharing,” which gives everyone the option to receive or politely pass.
This promotion does not place me above anyone. Anyone who feels their rank means superiority in any shape or form has been walking the wrong path. We are all brothers and sisters heading in the same direction. Due to the extra time I’ve started my journey puts me a few steps ahead. Nothing more and nothing less.
I look forward to the day when those whom I walk in front will be leading me with strength, honor, and respect.