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In My Own Backyard

posted Sep 3, 2011, 4:48 PM by Eric Banks

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can - there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”

-Sarah Caldwell



Robert Fusaro, Mahmoud Tabassi, Albert Cheah, Alex Tong, Toru Shimoji, Brad Webb, Richard Kageyama; this past weekend, these guys, these high-level karate instructors, were in my backyard.  Okay, okay, so Chesterfield is like 3.5 hours away, not literally my backyard, but it’s so close that there was no way I was gonna pass up a two-day seminar with some of the top karate masters in our art.  And, not only was this an unheard of opportunity to meet with and learn from some of the best, but, given the low cost compared to the high quality of instruction, it was practically FREE!  Now, who doesn’t like stuff that’s all but free? 


Four adult students and I made the early morning journey across state to attend this event, and we were immediately exposed to different views of the core fundamentals of our training.  Hopefully, much of what they saw and heard looked and sounded familiar, and hopefully, they picked up on the cornucopia of information that remains to be assimilated.  From talking with them since the seminar, I think the mission was accomplished and they all learned a thing or two or three. We all enjoyed interacting with the instructors and our fellow karate-ka, both during training, and outside of class; it’s always intriguing to me how an interest such as karate can bring together people from various backgrounds, and when we meet, sometimes for the very first time, it’s like we were friends from way back in the day. 


Personally, I learned a lot too, about the art and about myself, more than I can put into words, and I was alternately humbled and challenged and inspired throughout the weekend.  I was reminded that I have much to work on, but I was also reminded that I am on the right path and I was encouraged to “keep on truckin’”. 


The next such AAKF seminar is not until the Spring of 2011, but there’s no word yet as to which city it will be in.  Then in June of next year, the AAKF will celebrate its 50th National Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.  The tournament will be preceded by a two-day seminar and let me tell you, my students are already buzzin’ about that.